The character of Clayton Bigsby was inspired by Dave Chappelle's maternal grandfather. He was a blind Caucasian who was abandoned as a baby and raised by African-Americans. So because of his upbringing and his inability to see himself, he considered himself African-American.
Chappelle did not show up shoot the scene in which Clayton Bigsby gives his speech. He instead appeared on Howard Stern's radio show and sat with Stern for hours. Assistant director Chip Signore called in to the show and told Chappelle on the air to come to work.