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Chapter 6, “The Joker’s Wild, but That’s Nigga’s Crazy: Dave Chappelle Laughs until It Hurts,” opens with an incident in 2004 on the set of Chappelle’s Show, Dave Chappelle’s hit stand-up and sketch comedy series. When the comedian performed a “blackface pixie” sketch, he heard what sounded like a sinister, antiblack inflection in a crewmember’s laughter and realized that his performance might serve antiblackness. Chappelle became disillusioned with fame, abandoned the third season of his show, repudiated mainstream misappropriation of his work, reneged on a lucrative contract, absconded from America altogether, and headed to South Africa. Remarkably, tabloid media and public discussion insinuated that he went crazy and went to Africa—as though the two were parallel journeys—evoking racist tropes of Africa as epicenter of unReason and madness. In this chapter, mad methodology illuminates the specter of “madness” within Chappelle’s performance repertoire and public persona.

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