Dave Chapelle cuts the jokes to take an incisive look at racism in America in his surprise Netflix special '8:46'
Dave Chapelle released a surprise Netflix special titled "8:46". The comedian speaks about George Floyd's death, connecting it to other cases of police violence against Black individuals in the US.
Though "8:46" veered far from Chapelle's boundary-pushing comedy, many viewers said the special was some of the comedian's most powerful work.
Dave Chapelle trades humor for social commentary in his new Netflix special, which the streaming platform released on YouTube late Thursday night.
The title of the 27-minute special is "8:46," a reference to the length of time that former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd's neck before he died.
Though it was the comedian's first time back on the stage in 87 days, his regular jokes were far and few between as he addressed Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
"It's hard to figure out what to say about George Floyd, so I'm not going to say it yet," Chapelle says. "I gotta tell you, this is actually like the first concert in North America since all this s--- happened, so like it or not, it's history. It's going to be in the books."
"8:46" was filmed on June 6, in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The audience members practiced social distancing measures to prevent spreading the coronavirus — wearing masks, getting their temperature checked, and sitting more than six feet apart from other guests at the outdoor venue.
After greeting the audience, he interacts with several of them and expresses his support for the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. Chapelle then launches into a set that begins with Floyd's death and evolves into a monologue that weaves individuals like Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner into a larger story of police brutality and deeply rooted racism in the US.
The comedian does draw the occasional laughter while ripping into conservative commentator Candace Owens, who emphasized Floyd's criminal record after his death, and Fox News' Laura Ingraham, who told Lebron James to "shut up and dribble," but humor is secondary in this set.
Instead, "8:46" provides a harrowing look at the way history has repeated itself, often at the expense of Black lives.
While this special is different than his previous comedic material, many viewers applauded Chapelle and said they considered "8:46" to be some of his "most powerful" work to date. Some even referred to him as a "legend."