Dave Chappelle Speaks Out About George Floyd in New Comedy Special
Netflix has released a 27-minute set from Dave Chappelle on their comedy YouTube channel, Netflix Is a Joke. The set is titled 8:46, named after the amount of time (eight minutes and 46 seconds) that former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck before Floyd died.
Chappelle performed his set on June 6th at an event near his home in Yellow Springs, Ohio, to a crowd that followed coronavirus-imposed social distancing guidelines, including face masks, temperature checks and pairs of seats placed six feet apart on a grassy lawn.
The video description reads: “From Dave: Normally I wouldn’t show you some[thing] so unrefined, I hope you understand.”
Chappelle begins with an anecdote about experiencing the 1994 Northridge earthquake (he mistakenly refers to it as happening in 1993), and the terror of that event that lasted for all of 35 seconds — which, he notes, is nothing compared to how Floyd must have felt, dying over the span of eight minutes and 46 seconds at the hands of another man. “I can’t get that number out of my head because it was my time of birth on my birth certificate,” Chappelle says.
Throughout the set, Chappelle addresses various high-profile instances of police brutality and violence against black Americans over the past decade, including the murders of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, the black church massacre carried out by Dylann Roof, and the lack of support from the NRA when card-carrying gun owners like Philando Castile were murdered in cold blood. Chappelle then brings up the 2014 police killing of John Crawford III in nearby Beavercreek, Ohio, and reveals that he himself had interacted with the same cop just the day before the shooting.
“The same cop pulled me over the night before and let me off with a warning,” Chappelle tells the crowd. “And the next day, he kills a kid. He says, ‘Drop the weapon, bang bang bang.’ This kid didn’t even have enough time to register that he was the one being spoken to. This is our hometown. It happened right here…But Michael Brown got shot the same week and Michael Brown became the story.”
The comedian also paid tribute to Kobe Bryant near the end of his set, noting that he was unable to accept a Grammy in person earlier this year because the ceremony was held the day Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash.
“He died the day I won a Grammy,” he said. “They had both of his fucking jersey numbers hanging up. Eight, 24. Well, that’s my birthday. Crying like a baby.”
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