Dave Chappelle has a new stand-up comedy special that’s been surprise-released. As with his last five specials, this is a Netflix production. However, unlike those other shows, Netflix has released Chappelle’s latest work–8:46–for free online. In fact, watching it free online is the only way to see it at this point as Netflix has not added it to its library.
The title refers to the amount of time a Minnesota police officer had his knee on the neck of George Floyd before he died. The death had sparked civil unrest around the world as protestors take a stand against police brutality and the treatment of African Americans. In 8:46, which was filmed a mere 12 days after Floyd’s death, Chappelle comments on that situation, as well as the killings of other African Americans.
“This man kneeled on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Can you imagine that? This kid thought he was gonna die, he knew he was gonna die. He called for his dead mother. I’ve only seen that once before in my life. My father on his death bed called for his grandmother,” Chappelle said to open the special. “When I watched that tape, I understood this man knew he was gonna die. People watched it, people filmed it. And for some reason, that I still don’t understand, all these f***ing 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’s what is happening right now. It’s not for a single cop, it’s for all of it. F***ing all of it. I don’t mean to get heavy, but we gotta say something.”
Unlike Chappelle’s other recent specials, 8:46 was filmed in unique circumstances due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Chappelle performs on an outdoor stage in front of a socially distanced audience that’s all wearing masks. It’s also shown that each member of the audience had their temperature taken prior to being seated.
The special isn’t heavy with jokes but instead serves as Chappelle’s commentary on recent events. “This is not funny at all,” he admitted at one point, admitting he has some other material he could try before continuing to discuss the issues at hand. After ending the special, a series of photos and videos of the recent protest is shown, set to “Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow featuring Run the Jewels, which includes the lyrics, “Nobody speak, nobody get choked.”
You can watch the entire 8:46 special above.