A Case of Mistaken Hilarity
Photo by Ron Dubick
Not all comedy acts start as comedy acts. Todd Chappelle, a singer and songwriter who began playing bars and coffee houses around Delaware as a musician, realized his funny lyrics were drawing crowds. The man can sing, but he can also sing funny.
For Chappelle, a UD grad who grew up in Delaware and New York, using humorous songs garnered better reactions, so he stuck with it. He’s produced four comedy CDs that feature songs about his uvula, life as an accountant, and his odes to women. “Amish Girl” is a good one.
In 2007 Chappelle’s song, “I’m From Delaware,” became a viral hit and won song of the year at 93.7 WSTW. He followed this by becoming a finalist in the LOL@TheGrand. Still, Chappelle doesn’t consider himself a comic. Go figure.
“I’m not a comedian who plays music,” he says. “I am musician that does comedy.”
He’s in good company. Chappelle cites Barenaked Ladies and Tom Lehrer as significant musical influences. Last summer, he attended NYC’s First Annual Funny Songs Fest and met like-minded musicians. His influence adds some cutting edge to the Delaware comedy scene, and he makes it all look effortless. His catchy tunes are full of fun pop-culture references, and his oddball characters engage audiences. Chappelle is a master of impressions.
The funny comes when Chappelle impersonates singers using songs they’d never cover. Think James Taylor singing AC/DC, or Neil Diamond doing “Baby Got Back.” You get the picture.