The entire country has been in shutdown mode for the last few months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but folks in the entertainment industry are trying to find innovative ways to keep business going in these trying times. For example, just last week, Dave Chappelle recorded an outdoor stand-up special to a socially-distant audience in Ohio. The event was hosted by Netflix and one of the first live shows to take place after the onset of the pandemic. It also occurred in the midst of protests over the systematic racism and police brutality plaguing the nation. Chappelle spoke about these issues at length in his intense, eye-opening set, and Netflix decided to release it online for free.
Early Friday morning, Netflix released Chappelle's special on its "Netflix Is a Joke" YouTube channel. The special is called 8:46, referencing the eight minutes and 46 seconds that a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd, murdering him in front of three other officers. Floyd's murder is what started the protests, and Chappelle speaks about the moment at length in the special.
Chappelle is a stand-up comedian, and one of the best in the industry at what he does. He's known for dealing with difficult topics head-on, which is what he does with this special, though it's largely devoid of jokes. There are laughs here and there, as Chappelle interjects moments of humor into a dark situation like only he could, but the set is mostly filled with his thoughts on what has been happening in the world around us. It's a more somber and serious version of Chappelle than most are used to, but it's every bit as captivating as even his best comedy.
When Chappelle speaks, people tend to listen, which is evident by the views on the YouTube video. A few hours after the video was posted to YouTube, it had already amassed over 918,000 views. That number will likely be in the tens of millions by the end of the day. Chappelle has a massive platform, and he and Netflix clearly know how to utilize it.
The description of the video contains a message from Chappelle, as well as a link to learn more about and support the Equal Justice Initiative. The message from the comedian reads: "Normally I wouldn't show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand."
You can watch 8:46 in its entirety at top of the page.