Dubbed by some as the first comedy show in the U.S. since COVID-19 forced the country into lockdown, Dave Chappelle teamed with Netflix for a surprise new special, "8:46." 🔥
Coming late Thursday night as a free watch on YouTube, Chappelle was enraged and purposeful as he spoke about the killing of George Floyd and the resulting protests, showing an unfamiliar side of his stage presence.
Like the title suggests, eight minutes and 46 seconds is a significant number – it's the length that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin spent kneeling on Floyd's neck, ultimately suffocating him to death.
"I can't get that number out of my head because it was my time of birth on my birth certificate," Chappelle revealed. "I was born at 8:46 in the morning and they killed this n**ga in 8 minutes and 46 seconds."
Adhering to social distancing guidelines, attendees of the event, which was held on Saturday, June 6, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, sat in pairs and several feet away from other groups in designated spots. They also wore Chappelle-themed masks and were checked for fevers upon arrival.
"From Dave: Normally I wouldn't show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand," Chappelle wrote in a note below the YouTube clip, along with a link to support the Equal Justice Initiative.
Of course, there was some socially-relevant humor. Early on, Chappelle called out CNN anchor Don Lemon for urging celebrities, especially those who are Black, to denounce racism and lead protests.
"Have I not ever said anything about these things before?" Chappelle asked the crowd rhetorically. "So, now all of a sudden, this n**ga expects me to step in front of the streets and talk over the work these people are doing? ... Answer me: Do you wanna see a celebrity right now? Do we give a f**k what Ja Rule thinks?"
Lemon responded to his "favorite comedian" in a segment on Friday, saying he's "honored to be memorialized in a Dave Chappelle special" and that he agrees with his point that younger people might not care what those in the "establishment" have to say.
One of the most heart-wrenching moments of the set was when Chappelle explained that Kobe Bryant's death prevented him from attending the 2020 Grammys, where he won his third award for Best Comedy Album.
"He died the day I won a Grammy," he said. "They had both of his f**king jersey numbers hanging up. 8, 24. Well, that's my birthday. Crying like a baby."
The special had nearly 2 million views in less than a day when this article was published.