Dave Chappelle Releases Surprise Special ‘8:46’

Published on June 12, 2020

Today, comedian Dave Chappelle dropped a surprise Netflix special, titled 8:46, which is how long George Floyd had a cop’s knee on his throat until he died. “It’s hard to figure out what to say about George Floyd, so I’m not going to say it yet,” Chappelle says at one point. “I got to tell you, this is like the first concert in North American since all this s— happened, so like it or not, it’s history. It’s going to be in the books.”

Half-Hour Special

As the comedian says so himself, there’s not a lot of laughs in his latest special. Chappelle has more to say than to joke about. Of course, there are still some laughs, as the comic mocks the likes of Candace Owens and Lauren Ingrahm and others, but Chappelle has far more on his mind right now than setups and punchlines.

Here’s the half-hour special, titled 8:46

Almost five million people have already watched the special since Netflix released it on their youtube channel, Netflix is a Joke, earlier today. In one day alone, Chappelle’s words of wisdom have already reached so many people. 

The Death of George Floyd

The special is Chappelle’s first piece of stand up since lockdown started. Jerry Seinfeld recently said comedians are the least relevant right now, but Chappelle proves that’s not entirely true. During the special, the comedian remembers the life of George Floyd and so many others killed by the hands of cops.

At one point, Chappelle remembers his fear during the catastrophic Northridge Earthquake, before talking about the fear Floyd must’ve felt: 

“That earthquake couldn’t have been more than 35 seconds. This man kneeled on a man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds! Can you imagine that? This kid thought he was going to die. He knew he was going to die. He called for his mother. He called for his dead mother. I’ve only seen that once before in my life: My father, on his deathbed, called for his grandmother.”

Blasts Don Lemon and Candace Owens

In response to the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests, CNN anchor Don Lemon asked, “What are celebrities doing?” It was a strange question, as if celebs are very pertinent to discuss at this time in history. It was odd, but not the first time Lemon focused on celebrities and not the real world news. Well, Chappelle had something to say about Lemon’s comments:

“Answer me: Do you want to see a celebrity right now? ‘Do we give a f–k what Ja Rule thinks?’ Does it matter about celebrity? No. This is the streets talking for themselves. They don’t need me right now. I kept my mouth shut. And I’ll still keep my mouth shut. But don’t think that my silence is complicit.”

While celebrities are putting themselves out there, sincerely or self-importantly, Chappelle’s perspective is far more honest, welcomed, and less PR-proofed. And the Ja Rule line is fantastic. The special isn’t without Chappelle’s razor-sharp lines, the kind only he could think of to say. 

Chappelle went on to spectacularly roast the right-wing media personality, Candace Owens, whose words about George Floyd have been all-around ugly and awful. Here’s Chappelle’s thoughts on Owens:

“Candace Owens, that rotten b—-, she’s the worst. I can’t think of a worse way to make money. She’s the most articulate idiot I’ve ever seen in my f—ing life.”

Chappelle is a Master Performer

Chappelle is one of the few comics out there that’s highly enjoyable to listen to when he’s just talking, not just joking around. Similar to segments from The Bird Revelation, Chappelle knows how to keep an audience’s attention without any levity whatsoever. The word choices, inflictions, all of it, he’s such a master performer. 8:46 features some of the most powerful words Chappelle has ever spoken on stage, at least captured and released as a special. After his more jokey and mean-spirited Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, the contemplative and thoughtful side of Chappelle as a performer is welcomed.

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Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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