Dave Chappelle’s new material on George Floyd’s death has delighted his fans, who have described it as more like a “sermon” than a comedy special.
The video, titled 8:46 after the number of minutes officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck before he died, was released on the Netflix Is A Joke YouTube channel on Thursday (11 June).
Underneath the video, there is a message from Chappelle saying: “Normally I wouldn’t show you some[thing] so unrefined, I hope you understand.”
Download the new Independent Premium app
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Chappelle’s special features some jokes but is mostly a monologue about Floyd, the Black Lives Matter protests and other African-Americans who have died at the hands of the police.
Throughout his time on stage, Chappelle returns to eight minutes and 46 seconds. “I can’t get that number out of my head because it was my time of birth on my birth certificate,” he says. “I was born at 8:46 in the morning and they killed this n**** in 8 minutes and 46 seconds.”
He also responds to critics who have said Floyd is a problematic hero because of his criminal record. “We didn’t choose him as a hero, you did,” says Chappelle.
“They killed him and that wasn’t right so he’s the guy. We’re not desperate for heroes in the black community, any n**** who survives this nightmare is my goddamn hero.”
The video has provoked a huge reaction on social media, with one fan tweeting: “Nothing Chappelle has ever done has ever hit me harder than that. And the laughs were few and far between. By his design. Yeah we can crack a joke here and there but ain’t s*** funny about this.”
Another wrote: “Dave Chappelle is so advanced he doesn’t even have to tell a joke.. ppl will just listen to him talk serious s***.”
“Dave Chappelle is one of a kind, cherish him,” added a third. “You can hear the pain in his voice talking about George Floyd.”
Many celebrities have been vocal about systematic racism in the US and UK since the death of Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests across the world.
Stormzy pledged to donate £10m, over the next decade, to organisations, charities and movements tackling racial inequality, justice reform and black empowerment in the UK.