Life After Chappelle

Neal Brennan understands that, to most people, his being the co-creator of “Chappelle’s Show” means nothing. “People, when they watch TV, they think Dave [Chappelle] is making it all up,” Brennan says. “People don’t realize you’re funny unless you do it in front of them. They have to see it.” So, since the Comedy Central sketch show unceremoniously ended in 2006, Brennan has dedicated himself to stand-up. It’s a second act for the writer-director, who’s spent the bulk of his career behind the scenes. “Most of my new act is racial,” says Brennan, who performs at the DC Improv this weekend. “It’s just race and girls.”

On Dave Chappelle

“You know who loves quoting ‘Chappelle’s Show’? Dave Chappelle,” Brennan says. Chappelle and Brennan had a falling out when the series ended (Chappelle quit without warning Brennan) but they remain friends. Brennan even stayed at Chappelle’s house in Ohio a few weeks ago. “I’m not lying when I say he talked like Rick James 20 percent of the time,” Brennan says. That’s surprising, considering Chappelle cited people yelling “I’m Rick James, [expletive]!” at him on the street as a reason for quitting the show.

On ‘All That’

Before “Chappelle’s Show,” Brennan wrote for another sketch show, Nickelodeon’s “All That.” “I was really bad at that job,” says Brennan, who turned 21 while working on the series in 1996 and 1997. He didn’t get any sketches on the air, but he punched up jokes and co-wrote an episode of the pseudo-spin-off, “Kenan & Kel.” “I was learning how to write,” he says. “In the writer’s room they would call me ‘the boy.’ That was funny and disrespectful.”

On ‘The Champs’

Brennan records “The Champs,” a podcast he co-hosts with comedian Moshe Kasher, in his home. The show has a simple premise: They interview (almost) only black guys, such as Questlove from the Roots, NBA star Blake Griffin and Charlie Murphy. (Notable exceptions: baseball player Jose Canseco, porn star Sasha Grey and Nicole Richie.) “Both of us grew up adoring or surrounded by black culture,” he says. “Because we only interview black people, people think it’s racist. I guess it is racist, but it’s positive racism.”

On President Obama

Brennan met President Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011 and says he seemed like a cool, personable guy. “I just wish he was better.” Brennan’s dissatisfaction with the president is more reflective of his views of politics in general. “I thought a black president would make a difference,” Brennan says. “Maybe what I’ve come to realize is that politicians are like rice. Whether it’s brown rice or white rice, it’s empty calories either way.”

DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW; Thu.-Sun., $15-$17; 202-296-7008. (Farragut North)

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