Chappelle’s Show’s Iconic Rick James Sketch Almost Got Adapted into a Movie

Neal Brennan reveals one of Chappelle’s Show’s most unforgettable sketches was slated for a big-screen treatment.

Over the course of two (and a half-ish?) seasons, Chappelle’s Show provided several biographical accounts of iconic musicians that could have easily doubled as biopics. But one, in particular, defined not just the show, but what we came to know of the subject. The sketch, of course, is the late Charlie Murphy’s retelling of a ridiculous night out with Rick James. And it turns out, we almost got an actual big-screen expansion of the unforgettable skit.

According to Chappelle’s Show co-creator, Neal Brennan, Murphy’s “True Hollywood Story” about the Superfreak’s impossible antics was being considered for a film adaptation. “There was going to be a Rick James movie at one point, but ya know, what you gonna do,” Brennan told Kevin Hart in the latest episode of the comedian’s Comedy Gold Mind’s podcast. “It would have just been the sketch but his life story,” Brennan added while discussing whether he and Chappelle had ever considered reuniting for another film after Half Baked. Unfortunately, the segment ends without Brennan ever explaining why the Rick James project was sidelined or how far along it got in development. But we can all agree without Murphy or (James himself, for that matter,) there to narrate, we’d be missing a considerable amount of the star power demanded by a True Hollywood Story of that scale.

Elsewhere in their chat, Brennan reveals he’s currently working on a new one-man show. Unnacceptable, the follow-up to Brennan’s hit 2017 Netflix special, 3 Mics, begins filming later this month at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre. You can grab your tickets now.

Watch Neal Brennan discuss the now-defunct movie treatment of the Rick James skit at the 29:10 mark below. Scroll on to revisit the iconic Chappelle’s Show sketch.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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