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Thursday, October 16, 2008

TV Review

Chocolate News
****
I really wasn't sure what to expect from this show, whether it was going to follow in the Colbert/Stewart faux news tradition, or if it was to be like the Chapelle's show taped sketch comedy. This is based soleley on the first episode, so, hopefully this doesn't let me down...

The show has a news magazine format, with David Alan Grier (playing himself much like Colbert plays Colbert) starting the show with a monologue based on current events, the first one fittingly on the death of rap. Chuck D once said that Rap was the urban CNN, but with rap's demise and the complete (and the absolute selling out of BET), late night satire is the new CNN for the youth, and Chocolate News extends that more specifically to African Americans in a way not seen since Chapelle's show or since Eddie Murphy was gold on SNL. It's inevitable that a comparison would be drawn between the two (Chapelle and DAG) shows, and while they both feature taped satrirical sketches, DAG's comedy sensibilities seem to be more along the lines of Aaron McGruder (who's hit and miss Boondocks cartoon never really worked out) than Dave Chapelle.

Either way, this is capital H hillarious and richly on the mark. Carlos Mencia fails (among other reasons) because his show's sketches are high concept and its hoped that the high concept will be funny enough for the audience to overcome the fact that the sketch itself is not fully hashed out or well written (and it rarely is). Chocolate News has high concept sketches, but its the specific details in the sketch that take it from amusing to laugh out loud, fall out of your seat funny.

With The Daily Show, Colbert, South Park, and now Chocolate News, Comedy Central may be the most relevant public affairs network on American TV.

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