South Park and Chappelle’s Show have made Comedy Central millions. Same with their creators. So why are Matt & Trey still going strong while Dave Chappelle vanished after a few incredible years? Few theories.
Scope creep. The scope of Trey and Matt’s duties have’t changed despite the shows evolving sophistication in animation, effects and sound. These guys still make shows in one week using a few meetings in a conference room. When Chappelle’s show got bigger, however, so did the scope of his work. More filming, more promos, more writing.
It’s lonely at the top. For Chappelle, who had his back? Who was he sharing the highs and lows with? Chappelle had a couple co-creators, but he was the star. For Trey and Matt, it’s always 50/50.
Not in it for the money. Trey and Matt may have been at first, but certainly aren’t now. Today, they have more money than they could ever spend. And yet, they’re still working hard. Dave Chappelle was just a stand-up comedian. He worked his butt off to reach the top of Comedy Central Mountian. Why? To get paid. The ending credits to his show said it, “I’m rich, biatch!”
Lessons here? Be more like the South Park guys. Set some expectations, find a partner in your work and do what you love.
Here’s a classic clip of Dave Chappelle on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2001
I will say that, based on stories that came out after Chappelle show ended, it appears he had some demons and personal issues he needed to get worked out. I think his creativity could’ve kept the show going for a while if he had been of a clear mind.
I heard that, too. Which came first? Massive solo success at the hands of comedy central or the other way around?