Saturday Night Live took one heck of a gamble in presuming that its audience remembers Dave Chappelle‘s 2003 Comedy Central show Chappelle’s Show well enough to appreciate many of its regular characters returning. But that is, after all, the essence of nerdism. Chris Hardwick never wondered aloud whether his stand-up audience would get Doctor Who jokes when he first made them; he just made them and trusted the audience to get the references. And to those of us who have seen Chappelle’s Show, whether in reruns or the first time around, what SNL did this past evening was a love letter. Especially if you happen to like The Walking Dead as well, and something tells us that if you’re reading this, you do.
Chappelle has always had a gift for impersonations, even when he looks nothing like the person he’s spoofing, and so his Negan is both funny and on-point. But rather than subject Rick, Maggie, Glenn and the rest to psychological torture, his Negan’s victims to be include Chappelle standbys Crackhead Tyrone Biggums, blind black Klansman Clayton Bigsby, boring white guy Todd Jacobson, and rapper Li’l Jon. Charlie Murphy and Rick James are, sadly, conspicuously absent, and we confess a longing for his Samuel L. Jackson, because somebody needs to say, “I have had it with this mother****ing walking from these mother****ing dead!” Yeah, Carl might utter the phrase one day on the show, but it’s just not the same.
If you never saw the original show, the skit might feel quite odd. But even if you did, the bizarre call for unity at the end, while appreciated, is also an unexpected zigzag, coming as it does from Tyrone, whose previous efforts at unity primarily involved sharing crack. We may not always agree on politics, but I hope we can agree that Dave Chappelle is much-needed in humanity’s corner when the zombie apocalypse goes down.
Do you want to see these characters do more, now that Chappelle has revived them? Who else should he bring back? Let us know in comments below.