Dave Chappelle released a surprise comedy special entitled 8:46 late Thursday night. In it he discusses the death of George Floyd and the protests that have sprung up in its wake. The 27-minute special for Netflix was real, raw and brutal at times, not unlike the world we live in right now.
The special was recorded at a show called Dave Chappelle & Friends: A Talk with Punchlines, which was held on June 6 in Ohio. Netflix released the show on YouTube for free, with an appended note from Chappelle that said, "Normally I wouldn't show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand."
It certainly is unrefined and is so different from the usual, polished specials comedians put out. Chappelle is speaking from the heart and his time on stage feels more like a group therapy session than a comedy special. At times he rants, at times he attacks and at others he commiserates with the audience. Like I said, it's incredibly raw, but it might be just what we need right. Quite simply, it is brilliant.
As with classic Chappelle specials, it's not formulaic. He rarely constructs things in the setup, punchline, joke model. He tells stories with funny endings and great lines, but it feels more like he's giving a speech or a sermon than doing a set.
While the entire 27 minutes packs a punch, the part that to got me, was Chappelle opining on the eight minutes and 46 seconds Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck. Chappelle then revealed that he can't get that number out of his head because he was born at 8:46 in the morning.
The special is below if you want to watch it. I highly recommend you do. Be warned, it's NSFW.