Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Dave Chappelle expertly comedy-bombs Michael Che's interview with Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel Live, Dave Chappelle, Michael Che
Jimmy Kimmel Live, Dave Chappelle, Michael Che
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Michael Che was technically on Thursday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk up his new sketch show. No, not Saturday Night Live, which is the opposite of new, but, rather, the outspoken comic’s other sketch enterprise, the aptly titled That Damn Michael Che on HBO Max. And while Che and Kimmel did get around to talking about Che’s secondary outlet for jokes about everything from nude dudes on the New York subway to that damn political correctness that keeps pointing out when Che does or says something crappy, the interview was hijacked, almost from the start, by the nosy self-promoter he’s staying with.

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Che, currently hanging out in a particular Ohio small town, is on hand to perform at a humble, cornfield-set comedy venue operated by some guy named Dave. Thankfully, this Dave, with an album cover placard advertising his other project (the podcast The Midnight Miracle), turns out to have impeccable comic timing, as his intermittent but incessant pop-ins derailed things in the most entertaining manner possible. Che and Kimmel did their best to keep their chat on point, but every anecdote only inspired that damn Dave to keep slipping in from the side of the screen with a topper of his own. “I saw Colonel Sanders’ ghost one night!,” Dave burst in to exclaim upon Che telling Kimmel about the 200-year-old rural Ohio hotel Che’s staying at while performing at Dave’s comedy cornfield. Che did coin the name “Camp David” for the COVID-inspired remote stand-up event, which is pretty solid.

Che managed to get in a few stories about himself and his new show here and there, and joked that guest star and previous Weekend Update anchor Colin Quinn is, by far, his favorite Colin. (Che reassured the world, one more time, that he and Update partner Colin Jost are actually the best of friends, no matter how many times Che makes Jost read out self-incriminating racist jokes on SNL.) Still, Kimmel’s in-house crowd was clearly primed for the next Chappelle cameo (for ’tis Dave Chappelle we’re talking about), and the sketch comedy legend and sometime Saturday Night Live host, like a true comedy assassin, kept slaying. “Don’t answer that, Michael!,” an alarmed-looking Chappelle broke in to blurt, in response to Kimmel questioning the premise of a That Damn Michael Che sketch about the Black community assuming “you did something gay” to become famous.

And while viewers of Che’s sketch show will have to judge whether that’s as sketchy a premise as it might sound in passing, there’s really no debate about whether every late-night Zoom interview would be spruced up if there were a Dave Chappelle lurking around the edges, waiting to pounce. Kimmel did his best to keep things moving forward, but even Che seemed delighted that he was playing second fiddle in his own appearance. Plus, it wallpapered over how Che has been famously trolling one of Kimmel’s former writers in the comic’s campaign of being something of a jerk to anyone who dares criticize him. (And Chappelle’s beef with Che’s patrons at HBO Max.) After Kimmel finally gave up and offered the parting spotlight for Chappelle to promote anything he wanted, Dave demurred, telling the host, “You know what, Jimmy, since you said it like that, no.”

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.