Dave Chappelle's Block Party

From January 2003 to May 2005 actor and comedian Dave Chappelle
presented his highly successful “Chappelle’s Show” on US television’s Comedy Central channel. In Europe, this ratings topper – a mixture of stand-up, sketches and live performances – was broadcast on MTV. When Dave Chappelle’s contracts were extended in 2004, his salary swelled significantly. Reason enough, he thought, to throw a little ‘neighbourhood party’ in Brooklyn. Michael Gondry followed the preparations for the event and the party itself with his camera.
At the outset the only givens are: all the hot acts will appear, the party location will be kept a secret until the last moment, there will be no entrance tickets, no advertising, and everything will be communicated via the informal community network.
The first thing Chappelle does is take a trip to Cleveland, Ohio, where he grew up. He distributes invitations to his ex-neighbours and organises a brass band for the party. He even sits down at the piano himself, although he freely admits that he is a lousy musician.
On the day of the party, it looks as though bad weather is about to thwart Chappelle’s plans – but even the strongest wind is not enough to blow Chappelle’s free-wheeling humour off course. Kanye West, Mos Def, Erykah Badu… all put on a terrific show. And then the Fugees appear for a surprise gig – the crowning event of the evening. For the first time since 1997, Lauryn Hill, Pras and Wyclef Jean walk out on stage together. “This”, explains Dave Chappelle, “is the concert I always wanted to see.” And who wouldn’t?
by Michel Gondry USA 2005 106’

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