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Review: Dave Chappelle’s triumphant return

Robby Ollari, Editor-in-Chief

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At long last, Dave Chappelle has resurfaced, with two Netflix original stand-up comedy specials that dropped Tuesday at midnight.

Largely out of the public eye since walking away from Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show, the comedian has toured quietly in the years since his 2005 divorce with the network. He hadn’t released a stand-up special since For What It’s Worth in 2004. He did host SNL’s first episode after the 2016 election, and was praised for his poise and thoughtful monologue.

Now, Chappelle is officially back with the two specials now available for streaming on Netflix (a third will be released at a later date). According to Carrie Wittmer of Business Insider, Chappelle’s deal with the streaming service comes out to a whopping $60 million dollars.

Chappelle’s The Age of Spin and Deep in the Heart of Texas were filmed in 2016 in Hollywood and in 2015 in Austin, Texas, respectively. Each are about an hour in length.

Netflix

Both open with intros narrated by Morgan Freeman, while a camera circles around Chappelle sitting outside smoking a cigarette. Each special’s intro is filled with animation, subtle political messages and themes related to bits Chappelle features in the specials.

In both specials, in typical Chappelle fashion, no one is safe or off-limits.

He may be raunchy, profane and politically incorrect sometimes, but it’s hard to not watch these specials without cracking up.

He may cross the line, but that’s his shtick.

As Chappelle said just under 15 minutes into The Age of Spin, “ladies and gentlemen, man the f—k up or you’re not going to make it through the end of this show. Just man the f—k up.”

Netflix

Here are some highlights from Chappelle’s return (warning – possible spoiler alerts).

# 8 – Dave on Bill Cosby (The Age of Spin)

The inner historian in Chappelle comes out, looking back on World War II, the 1960s and the 1970s. He recalls times of social injustice in the ‘60s, in which “anyone who stood up got shot down the street like a f—g dog,” listing off all the assassinations of the decade. Chappelle calls the ‘70s a wild era, “and while all this was going on, Bill Cosby raped 54 people.” He said Cosby was putting up “real numbers,” and declares Cosby “the Steph Curry of rape.”

# 7 – Dave’s Lil Wayne impression (Deep in the Heart of Texas)

After a debate on whether or not the “P-word” is offensive or not, Chappelle does a bit in which he imitates Lil Wayne as a detective on CSI. And we’ll leave it at that.

# 6 – Dave on his dog (Deep in the Heart of Texas)

Dave’s advice to married men is to get a dog. Dave says his dog Baba was a menace, and he used to hate his guts – until one night when Chappelle smoked a bunch of weed, and the dog started begging for his sandwich when he had the munchies. Dave says the dog knows that he’ll be eating soon when the house smells like weed. All Dave’s wife asks of him is that he doesn’t eat the kid’s sandwiches that she made for their school lunch, a difficult request of someone who’s high and hungry.

# 5 – Dave’s son gets in a fight at school (Deep in the Heart of Texas)

Chappelle is the only black parent at his son’s very liberal private school, and he likes to screw with the fellow parents – pulling in with his Porsche, blasting rap, smoking in the car and parking in the handicap space. Dave also tells a story of when he had to go to the principal’s office because his son punched Dave’s lesbian friends’ daughter in the face at lunch, because … she took a bite out of his sandwich.

# 4 – Dave’s wife’s gay friends (The Age of Spin)

Chappelle says he understands why gay people are mad, and supports their movement. He says that his wife has a lot of gay friends who hang out at the house, but he doesn’t like them.

“Not because they’re gay, I’m just judging them on the merits of their character, they’re just not nice dudes,” Chappelle explains. “They’re f—-g rude house guests, sitting on my couch, giggling with my wife, eating MY macaroons! And when I come in, they act like the party’s over.”

Dave says that the group’s “leader,” Stuart, talks to him “the way a cat could speak if cats could talk,” and always wants to start gay political arguments with Dave. He does educate Dave on the LGBTQ movement, though, and Dave commends Caitlyn Jenner, and the American public and the media for their acceptance of Jenner.

# 3 – Dave skips out on Flint, attends The Oscars (The Age of Spin)

US Weekly

Dave was invited to appear at a charity benefit in Flint, Mich. to raise awareness for the water crisis. Many may not have heard about the benefit because it fell on the same day as The Oscars.

“So I was on my way to the airport to go to Flint, and then Chris Rock calls me and he’s like, ‘Hey Dave, I got a ticket for you for The Oscars, can you make it?’ And I was like, sure I’m on my way to the airport right now!” Chappelle apologized, stating that he’s never been to The Oscars – “you’ve seen the movies I make!”(alluding to Half Baked and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, cult favorites at best). In the green room at The Oscars, Chappelle parties with the Hollywood celebs and pitches a couple fake superhero movies to producers.

# 2 – “Bananagate” (Deep in the Heart of Texas)

Chappelle begins Deep in the Heart of Texas by saying that “Texas is “pretty damn good,” but mentions that he did get a banana peel thrown at him by a white guy in Santa Fe – “not to indict the whites, not to profile … I’m just sayin’.” Dave says the “Bananagate” attack was premeditated – “you could tell, because the peel was too brown. He didn’t eat that s—t recently.”

Dave later circles back to “Bananagate,” revealing that the man who threw the banana peel at Chappelle got arrested again for throwing another banana at another guy in a bar.

“And, that guy was black too,” Chappelle said. “I’m just sayin’.” Chappelle said that the culprit said he threw the banana because he said Chappelle was racist.

“So? That’s not the best way to handle that if I am racist,” said Chappelle. “What if Martin Luther King just went around throwing tuna casserole on white people, would that work?”

# 1 – Dave meets “The Juice” (The Age of Spin)

Chappelle says he has been watching The People vs. OJ Simpson. “Doesn’t it bring back good memories?” Chappelle joked. “I forgot

Comedy Central
Chappelle on “Jury Duty” for the OJ trial during a Chappelle’s Show sketch.

how polarizing that OJ case was.”

Dave says he’s met OJ on four different occasions in his life, and randomly slides this bit in throughout the show, describing each time he met “The Juice” at any given moment. The most entertaining encounter between Chappelle and OJ? It had to be the time when Dave said hello to “The Juice” in a restaurant full of white people … right after Simpson’s acquittal.


Want to hear about the other times Chappelle met OJ Simpson? Or want to just laugh your ass off for a couple hours? Then I would highly recommend getting on Netflix and watching these Chappelle specials.

Sure, he can be politically incorrect and wild, but these are peak Chappelle for sure. And, a bonus, there’s not a single mention of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton – a nice breather from the nastiness we’ve had to put up with the last year or two.

Bravo, Dave Chappelle.

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Review: Dave Chappelle’s triumphant return