Over the last week or so I found myself inexplicably drawn to conspiracy folklore concerning comedian Dave Chappelle. Actually, there is a whole “trilogy/trinity” if you will in these circles (largely via YouTube) regarding Chappelle, Kanye West, and the movie Get Out. At the center of it all is the idea that once-vital iconoclastic performers have been “broken” by Hollywood/insert-secret-society-here—the body seemingly intact, but the mind “hijacked.”
Incidentally, spoilers for Get Out ahead.
The cornerstone of this rather esoteric conversation—the hub-point of the matrix of it—is a bizarre interview/monologue performed on a YouTube channel by a person with an altered voice claiming to be Chappelle’s cousin. It starts off sounding pretty normal (outside the deep altered voice of course)—but about a third in takes a really crazy turn, and then by the end it’s just…you know, if you enjoy these types of narratives it’s one to definitely hunt down. (There are a variety of YouTube channels that carry this audio, but they keep getting taken down because…well…keep reading and it will probably make sense)
So she claims that her and Dave were tight since they were kids, and that he always confided in her; even after he became famous. One day, he told her a very concerning story about how he was called into the executive offices of Comedy Central (or Viacom?) and confronted by a whole boardroom full of people. He was told that they liked what he had been doing with Chappelle’s Show, but that he would have to make some changes.
What sort of changes? The “cousin” claims that the execs wanted him to make the black characters in the skits more “intelligent” and to not make fun of them as much…because word down the pike was that Barack Obama was going to run for president. Chappelle allegedly said that he was not going to compromise his artistic integrity, and that he treated all the characters on the show, black and white, the same.
Concerned about how ominous and creepy these dudes in the boardroom were, Chappelle—according to this story—disappeared and made his famous trip to Africa. He later came back and appeared on Inside The Actors Studio, in which he made this statement (and this, at least, actually happened):
The worst thing to call somebody is crazy—it’s dismissive! I don’t understand this person, so they’re crazy. That’s bullshit! These people are not crazy, they’re strong people. Maybe their environment is a little sick.
He then made an appearance on the Oprah Show, which this alleged cousin describes as Oprah (on behalf of TPTB) basically browbreating Chappelle to submit to the TPTB. Trying to get him to admit that he was troubled/crazy, etc.
Now, according to our narrator, Chappelle is really spooked.
We get then get some sudden asides to the “fact” that Martin Lawrence is really “dead.” And we also get the one about how Bernie Mac found the “cloning labs” (this is a central theme), and he was killed because of it.
And so you are sort of left kind of…in shock at where this story has traveled to. I mean, Chappelle’s Show ended in 2006…it was *phenomenally* popular (many sketches instant classics and memed up the wazoo)…would some executives tell Chappelle to tone down the bawdy humor featuring characters of color (such as the crack addict) because of some complaints, maybe mixed with the idea of Obama running for president?
You know…that part doesn’t sound so crazy to me. Chappelle did get taken to task in the media occasionally for these black characters—that they were too broad and possibly “offensive.” So…that part of the “cousin’s” story didn’t really raise too many red flags to me.
But Bernie Mac and the cloning labs???
The rest of this tale ends up sounding like a Creepypasta. At some vague later time (maybe within the last few years, when he made his “comeback?”), Chappelle was supposedly once again summoned to the Boardroom—this time with an offer that included doing things Dave’s way. 50 or 60 million bucks, full creative freedom, etc. All he has to do is sign some sinister contract and…AND DAVE IS TAKEN TO THE UNDERGROUND CLONING LABS, AND HE’S KILLED AND REPLACED WITH A DUPLICATE; AND THEN HIS MOM IS KILLED AND HIS FAMILY IS KILLED AND ALL REPLACED WITH “SYNTHETIC ROBOTOIDS” SO NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!!!!!! AND CHARLIE MURPHY WAS A BLOOD SACRIFICE!!!!
Around the time Chappelle was supposedly replaced by a more buff synthetic robotoid version of himself, he stopped speaking to his cousin. And to me…this is a really key point.
He doesn’t answer his cousin’s phone calls, and never sees her again. Because he’s a synthetic robotoid created by the Illuminati…and also “evil”…and etc.
So here is what I think.
I do not exclude the possibility that this could have possibly been an actual cousin of Chappelle’s, and that aspects of the first part of that story are true. But I think it is also possible that they had a falling out which explains why he stopped speaking to her…perhaps he did change, but not because he is a dead-eyed clone.
And/or maybe…this is all a metaphor for how Chappelle was beaten down by the System (which he pretty much alluded to in past interviews), but then got reabsorbed into the System and radically changed because of it. He became more “conformist,” leaving his old self behind or even “killing” that old self (which his Walking Dead parody on SNL sort of acts out, “Negan” bashing in the brains of all his old characters).
Maybe this conspiracy theory—and others like it, and we can go as far back as “Paul Is Dead” here—was invented to explain what happened to the “old” Dave. To explain how this person changed (and indeed, Chappelle has bulked up considerably in muscle since his earlier days).
In a broader sense, theories like the Chappelle clone and Kanye’s supposed “MKUktra” treatments…tied in with the movie Get Out, which is about the minds of African-Americans being replaced by rich old white people…is about this exploitation of people of color by Hollywood. I mean, we just got that horrible story from Terry Crews like a couple days ago—how he was groped in the crotch by an executive. The conspiracy theory, the movie, and assorted events from real life (I mean, what happened to Kanye & the fact that he lost memory after getting out of the psych ward and is sort of in a daze…that’s some scary shit) all sort of “blend” into this meta-theory.
The immediate instinct might be to completely dismiss these theories—what might be termed “folklore”—straight away. But I think sometimes when you pick through them, you find out interesting things; they are often these weird hybrids of fantasy and fact. The underground “clone factory” becomes a metaphor for the entertainment industry machine. And so on.
Anyway. That’s the one with Dave Chappelle’s clone.
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
Exploring The Public’s Fascination With “Doppelgängers”
MKUltra Superstar: The Winter Soldier
Better Call Paul: The Mystery of the “Winged Beatle”