Thursday, October 16, 2008

TBG TV: Comedy Central's Chocolate News

Earlier this week, as I settled in for another 10-hour adventure through the cubicles of the Unnamed Defense Contractor, I received an email from m'man Nick. He'd heard that Comedy Central had given erstwhile In Living Color comedian David Alan Grier his own show.

Like me, he assumed this was just a transparent attempt by the network to recapture Dave Chappelle's Black Lightning in a bottle. So, I should probably come clean and confess that I actually liked the premiere episode.

Chocolate News could be written off as an urban, ersatz Daily Show, but damned if it didn't throw everything to the wall this week.

Grier's opening was a contemptuous monologue on the state of Hip Hop ("When did 'Fight the Power' become 'Wait till you see my d***'?!") Sure, the subject is akin to fish in a barrel these days, but Grier had the audience eating out of his hand with effective punch lines revolving around the genre's materialism, dumbed-down lyricism and, of course, Flavor Flav.

The Maya Angelou bit has been done to death by Grier – really, he'll never top "her" interpretation of Kellogg's Froot Loops – but, the facial inflections were dead on. Grier's spin as "Fat Man", a misogynistic rapper miscast as a PSA spokesman, landed its punches better. Ditto for the obligatory mock-the-Caucasian segment involving a recently deceased newscaster who axed the wrong question too many times.

This week's episode finished a little flat for me, though. The "N-Word Peace Treaty" appeared to, umm…"sample" liberally from (in no particular order) Chappelle's phenomenal "Racial Draft" skit; the Geraldo Rivera Show's long-forgotten on-set riot in the late '80s; and some of Chris Rock's unfunny "Nat X" outtakes.

Still, Chocolate News is a perfectly harmless 30-minute escape with enough funny to keep me around for awhile. Or, until it's cancelled.

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