For those of you who haven’t seen it, Chocolate News is a show on Comedy Central, sort of in the vein of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report except geared towards an African American audience. It’s supposed to be a satirical news show but the format more resembles Mind of Mencia, with the host giving a rage-fueled monologue followed by sketch comedy. The promos try to compare it to Chappelle’s Show, since both shows are hosted by black men on Comedy Central. That is where the similarities end.
Look, I like David Allen Grier, even when he’s cribbing John Witherspoon. The opening segments are very pointed and usually funny. But the sketches fall flat. They go the base route, rarely reaching the level of the monologues, instead dressing Grier up in goofy costumes and believing that’s enough. It’s not unusual for Comedy Central to rush a show out the door, only to drop it shortly thereafter if it doesn’t become successful. Remember the short-lived Too Late with Adam Carolla, or the Back to Norm pilot? It’s disappointing because this could actually be a decent program but instead they take the easy way out. Oh, an electronic voting machine keeps trying to change your vote for Obama into one for McCain? Smash it with a baseball bat. That’s in no way predictable and doesn’t play into the stereotype of black people being violent at all. That should be a first draft of a skit. Then you refine it. Then you make it subtle and poignant. Or at least make it unique and interesting. There’s potential here but it’s not being used Look at his character Fat Man doing stuff for No Child Left Behind. It’s way too absurd. If that had been a Chappelle’s Show bit, it would have been done differently. The segment would have started somewhat seriously, shown the rapper being very dedicated to bringing his particular message to the children, then sprung the silly antics on you. Instead the whole thing is obviously a farce and ultimately forgettable.