The Return of Dave Chappelle

It’s funny how I’ll start a new blog and sit on the draft for months. Many times, I’ll begin with a title and a sentence. They start with an idea that I might work on from time to time. Well, I’ve been wanting to write about Dave Chappelle since his return to comedy on Netflix. As time passed, I gave up on the idea. However, he just released an extremely raw set on YouTube.

When I was in High School, Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedy show was the hottest thing on television.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have cable and was only able to watch the show after the DVD was released in stores. I’d borrow my cousin’s box set and binge watch a season over the weekend. The Dave Chappelle Show and his stand-up specials in the early 2000s was the best thing to happen to comedy, and then he disappeared.

Fun fact about Dave Chappelle.

Chappelle walked away from a very lucrative contract. He was on the verge of starting Season 3 of his show and he simply left. Yes, he burned bridges walking away from the show, and he was smeared for it. The common rumor was that Dave Chappelle went crazy and moved to Africa.

He left show business and only did small appearances at comedy clubs to refine his craft.

In his absence, Comedy Central did their best to replicate Chappelle’s Show: Mind of Mencia, Inside Amy Schumer, and Key & Peele. I think these are some fine shows, but they’re clearly adaptations of what came before.

Chappelle wasn’t completely gone. He’d pop-up throughout the years doing small sets at comedy clubs throughout the country. Honing his craft.

Dave’s return to show business was immediately marred with controversy. After Donld Trump was elected, he did an SNL monologue where he said he was willing to give Trump a chance. It came at a time when many Americans were upset. For the second time in row, a Republican presidential candidate had lost the popular vote but won the electoral college.

Chappelle would eventually walk back his comments and elaborate on his SNL miscalculations during a Netflix special. It’s important to point out, his Netflix special was his first comedy special in over ten years. Like I said earlier, he’d do some material at small comedy clubs here and there, but nothing as high profile as his return via Netflix; the SNL cameo was just a warm-up.

Dave Chappelle looked and sounded different. Clearly he’s put on weight and smoked too many cigarettes, but his message has remained consistent.

And now there’s the video that recently dropped. It seemed like out of nowhere, Dave Chappelle had a nearly half hour video on Youtube with an unassuming title. You have to understand, this man is meticulous with his image and voice. Chappelle doesn’t do interviews. If he preforms on stage, he doesn’t allow cellphones in the venue. Whenever he releases content, it’s methodical.

Of course, I instantly watched it.

Trigger Warning – Foul Language

Hands down, Dave Chappelle is one of the best comedians ever. I’m very particular when it comes to stand-up comedy. And the thing is, everything that Dave said during that video was what I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks. He deviates from comedy to rant, and it’s personal.

I especially loved when he made a call back to his older material about Ja Rule, and calling Candice Owens for her bullshit.

I joke with my wife about the concept of becoming an Uncle Ruckus or Clayton Bigsby type of commentator. If I just come out and talk crap about people who look like me, I’d make a crap ton of money.

While Chappelle is making commentary on the racial component of police brutality, I understands that it affects everyone. I think one of the worse videos I’ve ever seen was of an officer shooting a kid in a hallway while begging for his life. It’s one of the rare instances in which we have body camera footage of an incident. You can see it here.

I thought I was done writing about this, but Chappelle reignited my fire.

Because I’ve already been frustrated by the kabuki theater performance put on by the House of Representatives. Yes, kneeling with African themed clothes is a performance. It’s no better than when Donald Trump poses with a Bible.

The bill they proposed is garbage. It’s garbage because it’s not strong enough. It’s a weak ass bill that is titled in a way to make Americans feel as if it’s something to fight for.

I have to go on the record.

I don’t like this concept of us versus them. Police officers in America are already trained to operate like they’re occupying territory. We’re all Americans.

What I want is accountability.

I’ve been thinking up ways to legislate this nonsense. Because no amount of racial sensitivity training, or de-funding will prevent cops from brutalizing Americas. We need stronger legislation that work to codify their consequences. And not just federal authorities, I want to hold state and local officers accountable.

Chappelle ends his rant talking about the consequences of not being heard.

We’re in a bad place when Americans are targeting police officers out of social frustrations. It’s scary because I come from a proud family of officers. The NYPD is the leading employer of my family. That’s why this is such a heavy topic for me. Advocating for police reform isn’t an attack against my family in blue, I view it as a means to protect them. To protect them from a toxic police culture. To empower them to speak up against bad officers without the fear of reprisal and re-establish confidence in the community.

The goal is to mitigate violence on both ends. Yes, being a police officer is a dangerous job, but it’s not nearly as dangerous as interacting with officers for the most basic reasons. I’ll say again, in 2016, 1093 Americans were killed by police officers. Our contemporaries don’t even come close to this number. We look abroad at examples of ways to improve our lives, but nothing is being done to fix things for the working class. If we stay the course, and do nothing to improve these conditions, we’ll soon become a third world country.

Let Dave Chappelle handle the commentary, our politicians need to actually legislate.

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