#8. Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2006)
Unquestionably, the greatest comedic voice of the past decade was the voice of Dave Chappelle. No one comedian achieved anything as successful or as influential as Chappelle’s Show (2003-2006), which Dave created with writing partner Neal Brennan. No one – no one! – was better at merging genuinely transgressive and insightful social satire with actual laughs. If you make people laugh, you can get people to listen, and it’s a true shame that the Chappelle/Brennan partnership split up and Dave went AWOL. (Because let’s face it, no matter how you look at it – AWOL is exactly where he went. That, or Ohio. Same thing.) But before he left, Dave teamed up with the peerlessly playful director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) to bring the world a Block Party, and it was joyous.
A straightforward concert film, Block Party shows Dave getting together with a bunch of his favorite acts to put on an all-star hip-hop show in Brooklyn. There’s not much more to the movie than seeing one of America’s best comedians riffing backstage and on the streets with daily folks, intercut with performances from The Roots (one of the best bands in the world, without debate), Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Kanye West, Dead Prez, and The Fugees (reunited for the film) – but then again, to me that’s plenty. The above line-up constitutes a good amount of the music I listen to – this was my Woodstock.
That’s taking lightly what Woodstock means to people, maybe, but as in its entirety, few movies bring me more untempered joy than Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. And all that happens without any hippies, so all the better.
Best moment: Dead Prez doing their call to arms “Hip Hop” with The Roots backing. Dead Prez may not want to hear it, due to my pigment deficiency and all, but they soundtracked my whole year between 2005 and 2006.
“What it bigger than?”