In “8:46,” named for the length of time that the cop had his knee on George Floyd’s neck, Dave Chappelle turns his usual comedy on its head, throws it out the window, and transforms his stage into a pulpit.
Through Netflix’s comedy hub on YouTube, Chappelle released a sobering half-hour performance on Thursday night; one that I watched this morning that turned me onto another day of reading all the news that I can for the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
Chappelle makes sure to throw a few laughs into the performance, but it is clear from the start that this is less of a comedy show and more of a chance at questioning the current shape of political discourse.
Midway through the special, he draws a comparison to the terror he felt during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Chappelle points out that even through his fear and panic, along with the conviction that he was going to die, the earthquake only lasted less than 30 seconds in total.
“This man kneeled on a man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds,” Chappelle says, visibly frustrated and astounded. “Can you imagine that?”
“8:46” is a reminder that his unapologetic vigor to offend can also be a powerful button when he has something important to say.
“Normally I wouldn’t show you something so unrefined,” he states to his live patrons, as this sit outdoors in small pods all seperated, for his Netflix audience at home. “I hope you understand.”