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article imageOp-Ed: Why Dave Chappelle should be the next host of The Daily Show

By David Silverberg     Mar 20, 2015 in Entertainment
If there's any comedian who could fill Jon Stewart's enormous shoes at The Daily Show on Comedy Central, it's a legendary comedian who's earned the respect of TV fans worldwide: Dave Chappelle.
I figured it out, folks. When Jon Stewart, the long-time host of The Daily Show, steps down later this year, the best replacement would be Chappelle, who has been far from the public eye since he left his own sketch show nine years ago.
Why would Chappelle work for this news show? His wildly popular Chappelle's Show skewered modern beliefs with the cynicism of a dozen Stewarts, and while he often focused on race relations in the U.S., he showed range by tackling issues such as class warfare, capitalist greed and inane celebrity chatter.
Few comedians also have earned the kind of respect Chappelle has been showered with over the years. His intelligent humour is difficult to bash, even if some of his jokes seem immature at first blush. Chappelle likes to layer his sophomoric punchlines with nuance that isn't lost on those who's followed his career. Like Stewart, he understands how poking fun at society's foibles can earn not only laughs but knowing nods from those who can relate to his jabs.
Also, Chappelle is a versatile actor, as evidenced by his numerous impersonations and characters on Chappelle's Show. Stewart never really dipped his toes into bits outside the The Daily Show desk, leaving that to his reporters such as Jason Jones and Samantha Bee. But Chappelle has acting chops. He can play the straight reporter or the weirdo or the pothead or the cantankerous senior. Speaking of, Stewart is no stranger to Chappelle; they both worked together on the film Half-Baked.
Half of The Daily Show includes Q&As with celebrities and notable intellectuals, and that's where Chappelle might not be the most comfortable. But he's earned the admiration of big names such as Kanye West, President Obama, Eddie Murphy, just to name a few. He's no newbie. Chappelle might not have the interviewing chops of a Jon Stewart but I think he could hold his own among the most well-known actors and sports personalities. He just might need a refresher course on those heady authors The Daily Show likes to invite.
Ten years ago, the Ohio native walked away from a hit series on Comedy Central and a reported $50 million contract. Would he come back to his home network and take The Daily Show anchor chair? It's a long shot, but weirder things have happened (Brit James Corden as the host of The Late Late Show?). Besides, Chappelle did tell GQ he'd like to return to TV, albeit as a zombie in The Walking Dead. But this goes to show Chappelle might have that itch again, beyond performing sold-out stand-up shows across the U.S. What better fit for Chappelle than helming one of the most popular satirical shows in the world?
And let's be honest on one more thing: Late-night talk shows are too white. They don't represent the cultural diversity seen across the U.S. The only black Americans on talk-shows are often the house musicians, such as The Roots drummer ?uestlove for The Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. With Chappelle hosting The Daily Show, his presence would be emblematic of a New America, where strong black personalities can showcase their talent on any medium.
It's time for Chappelle to return to television. We've waited long enough. And there's no better home for him than The Daily Show.
Editorial note: Digital Journal, during our magazine days, published a cover story on Dave Chappelle in 2006. See below:
The Dave Chappelle spread in Digital Journal magazine in 2006
The Dave Chappelle spread in Digital Journal magazine in 2006
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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