Dave Chappelle has dropped a surprise special, available for free now on YouTube. Titled 8:46, the special addresses the ongoing unrest in the country brought on by the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody after former police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee pinned to the man's neck. The special is named for the amount of time Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck. The video was shared by Netflix's YouTube channel with the following message from Chappelle.
"Normally I wouldn't show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand"
The special was filmed in Ohio on June 6 in front of a socially distanced crowd. That makes for a remarkably quick turnaround, and also makes it one of the first comedy specials to be filmed after the lockdown. "Like it or not, it's going to be history," Dave Chappelle said. In the special, the comedian tackles a number of topics, including CNN anchor Don Lemon and conservative commentator Candace Owens. As for George Floyd, Chappelle had this to say.
"When I watched that tape, I understood this man knew he was going to die. People watched it. People filmed it. And for some reason that I still don't understand, all these f****** police had their hands in their pockets. Who are you talking to? What are you signifying? That you can kneel on a man's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and feel like you wouldn't get the wrath of God? That is what is happening right now. It's not for a single cop. It's for all of it. F*** all of it. I don't mean to get heavy but we gotta say something."
Don Lemon had previously called out celebrities in Hollywood for staying silent on the topic. Dave Chappelle addressed his own silence saying, "they don't need me right now," while adding, "Don't think my silence is complicit." Lemon, in response on CNN's New Day, had this to say.
"I think that the young people who are out there in the streets don't really care what we have to say. They think that part of the world that we created and what we did, maybe we didn't move fast enough and maybe we weren't strong enough. So they are out there fighting and said, 'Listen, we are tired of what is happening. We tried to do it nicely and we tried to do it peacefully and we have tried to do all these things and you rejected it.'"
"They are not only speaking to white people in this country but all of us in the establishment. So I agree with him in that way. But I do think that this is not a moment for modesty. I think that this is a moment that we should all be using our platform to do whatever we can, and at least to show young people and those out there that we support them, and it doesn't mean taking all of the credit for it or speaking out for them. I think they can do that on their own. ...But I think they need to know that people like Dave Chappelle or people like me or whoever supports them. And that's all they need to know."
Candace Owens and other conservatives such as Laura Ingraham were ripped into during the special. Owens, specifically, was lambasted by the comedian in part for her "shut up and dribble" controversy regarding NBA star LeBron James. Chappelle also referred to her as "the worst." Owens responded on Twitter with the following.
"We've arrived too suddenly into a culture where people can't laugh at themselves, or want to restrain comedians. I will never be a part of that culture. Dave Chappelle, you are legend and I'd love to meet you and challenge you to say any of that to my face! All love!"
The special clocks in at just over 27 minutes. The video description also includes a link to the Equal Justice Initiative, which aims to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment, and challenge racial and economic injustice, as well as protect the basic human rights for "the most vulnerable people in American society." You can watch 8:46 via the Netfilx Is A Joke YouTube channel.