Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones

Rob’s Review:

This is the Chappelle we’ve been waiting for.

His latest stand-up special for Netflix, filmed in Atlanta this Spring, brings us an even more relaxed, yet focused, Dave with a stage presence like he hasn’t had in a long time. You’ll recall that I was not a big fan of his 2017 special for a variety of reasons; most notably the content was flat and for some reason his use of the “N” word seemed forced for shock value.

The “N” word is alive and well in this special, in fact, it’s used an exponentially more amount of times than last…but for some reason, that’s why it works. He uses it not as a pejorative but as a substitute for pronouns like “dude,” and he applies the old Chris Rock definition of the difference between Black people and “N” words and proudly declares he’s not an “N” word.

Much more importantly than that is his spot-on material which only a handful of comedians can still get away with. In the cancel culture era, (which he spends time railing against), it takes true artists of enormous stature to joke about things like the #MeToo movement, suicide, R Kelly, and using guns to protect your property, all of which he takes on and nails. His show literally starts making fun of Anthony Bourdain for killing himself and quickly moves to why Chappelle doesn’t believe Michael Jackson’s accusers and even if it’s true, they should be thankful it was a star of Jackson’s stature that did things to them. He touches on the benefits of abortion and the compromise men should demand, why what Louis CK did is no big deal, school shootings, and how African Americans can save America’s culture.

While almost entirely absent of politics, his best moments are when he brilliantly, poignantly, and hysterically points out things like the racial injustice of how America responded to the almost exclusively African American crack epidemic compared to how differently it’s responding to the almost exclusively white opioid crisis. Most notably, when he treads into the LBGT community and continues his ongoing and very public comedic war with Trans-people he brilliantly highlights the confusion so many people have in trying to understand and keep up with everything we’re being told to not just accept, but embrace. It culminates with a brilliant enactment of what it would be like if he, Chappelle, were born in the wrong body and is, in fact, a Chinese man in a large black man’s frame.

Don’t believe me? Just check social and even mainstream media…they are universally up-in-arms and offended at almost every piece of Chappelle’s new special, and that’s how you know it’s so good…and that we, as a nation, are so screwed.


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