Good people of Detroit, hear me. Hear me now. You will never get your [expletive] money back. I said, “I’m like Evel Knievel. I get paid for the attempt. I didn’t promise this [expletive] would be good.”
After far too many years of shying away from the spotlight, Dave Chappelle propelled himself back into the public discourse by hosting Saturday Night Live last December. More recently, Netflix bought the rights to three stand-up comedy specials, two of which are available for streaming right now. Maybe he needs the money. Maybe he craves the attention again. Maybe it was something else.
Whatever the case, Dave is back.
I watched the first in the collection last night. In The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at The Hollywood Palladium, the famed comedian is at once back to his usual form and with a completely different mindset. He’s in his mid-40s now, living with his wife and three children on a 65-acre farm in rural Ohio. That changes a man.
While clearly uttered without any real malicious intent, he’s right. Maybe Dave Chappelle has developed a sizable ego over the years, but he’s still right. When you purchase tickets to a show, there may be expectations for a “good show” but indeed no promises are made. We pay to watch the attempt.
As fulfilling as it may be to entertain a crowd, make no mistake. Dave Chappelle is in it for the money too. That’s much the same reason why I refuse to work on spec anymore. I enjoy writing, but I’ve got bills to pay, even if I don’t have own a 65-acre farm.
In the past few days, Dave Chappelle has also come under fire for some of the insensitive remarks he makes toward the LGBTQ community in his comedy special. People are also admonishing his treatment of the whole Bill Cosby situation. Is he offensive? Sure, but that’s part of his brand. Comedians like Trevor Noah, Louis C.K., Amy Schumer and the late George Carlin are all offensive in varying degrees. They all push the limits of comedy.
But that’s a big reason why we watch them. Why we enjoy watching them. If you prefer “clean” comedy, you can always turn to Jerry Seinfeld or Jimmy Fallon. Or, if you really want to stick it to Dave Chappelle, go watch another Kevin Hart movie. He hates that guy.