Dave Chappelle’s 8:46
Arguably the best comedian of his generation is not kidding around.
Yesterday morning, Netflix released this 27 minute, 20 second video of Dave Chappelle’s new release.
I watched the first few minutes early yesterday morning intending to watch the whole thing with my wife in the evening. It turns out, however, that the 27:20 was the whole thing. Indeed, it’s not even on the Netflix app, just on the network’s YouTube channel.
The conceit is that Dave is working out a new routine in front of some friends and family. It comes with a note: “Normally I wouldn’t show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand.” After seeing it, I do.
For the most part, the routine isn’t funny. It’s not meant to be. And that’s part of the point.
At one point, he excoriates those who are demanding that celebrities like him speak out on the horrific events that led to the latest round of protests. His initial instinct is that it’s time for celebrities to get out of the way and let “the streets” do the talking. He relents, though, and says that the reason people want to hear from him is that we trust him because, unlike so many in designated leadership roles, he never lies to us.
But I think the clip has value beyond that. It’s not just that we value his raw, unvarnished authenticity but, because he’s been doing it on a national stage since he was very young, we think we know him. Seeing his rage and pain will, hopefully, provide some perspective that’s hard for people to get without personal connection.