This review contains some spoilers.
In Dave Chappelle’s latest impromptu performance, distributed by Netflix via YouTube, Chappelle responds to those calling for his voice during America’s current racial reckoning. In particular, he addresses a call-out by CNN anchor Don Lemon who demanded during a broadcast that Chappelle and other African-American celebrities speak out on the killings and protests taking place in the country and around the world.
This call comes in an era where celebrities and companies can immediately and directly reach millions of people—and some have done so more effectively than others, with each degree of response receiving its own backlash. In Chappelle’s case, his material has always met the issue of race in America head-on with equal parts analysis and hilarity—typically with blue jokes sprinkled throughout. It’s what made his Comedy Central show a paradigm-shifting success and why, after decades in the business, his commentary is still highly sought after, as rare as it has been in recent years.