Till we meet again Dave

One gets that strange feeling of finality when watching Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up specials “Equanimity” and “The Bird Revelation”.

Never mind the fact that the 44-year-old stand-up comedian actually says that the two specials, aired on Netflix on New Year’s Eve last weekend, are to be his last shows before he, in his words, “makes America wait again”.

I have to admit, it felt kind of strange penning this review, which comes off more like an obituary, but Chappelle is one of the most complex characters out there. He is a true embodiment of the saying that all comics have to be all sorts of “bat crazy” to do what they do and say what they say.

Here is a guy who single-handedly revolutionised, popularised and abandoned one of television’s most entertaining facets – sketch comedy. This is despite the fact that long before there was “The Dave Chappelle Show”, there was “Saturday Night Live”, “Mad TV” and a host of other sketch comedy shows – his was unique.

It was edgy, funny, towed the fine line between entertainment and controversy. Strangely, when the show was at its zenith around 2004-5, Chappelle just took his ball and went home, all the while ignoring a US$55 million offer that was on the table to extend the show. The 44-year-old comedian just quit, retreated to South Africa and disappeared from the limelight.

His reasoning was that the show had become too popular, with the tipping point being a couple of white people screaming out one of his catchphrases during a stand up performance.

The guy officially returned to the limelight last year, starring in four specials with “Equanimity” and “The Bird Revelation” being the last two. My take on the two is a very big yawn and if these are to be the last two specials we see from Chappelle then I think his legion of fans, myself included, deserved better.

There is nothing particularly wrong with the specials per se, but I expected more laughs. The biggest talking point from “The Bird Revelation” is his bit on the whole sexual harassment scandals that rocked Hollywood with Louis CK and Harvey Weinstein being the biggest causalities.

Chappelle fails to put everything into context albeit with hilarious consequences. He simply shuts down every defender of these two by reminding everyone that once upon a time RnB legend R. Kelly had sexual relations with a minor and went to pee on the said victim. And he survived!

The law is the law. If these two people are guilty then they should be punished and in the case of comedian Louis CK, it really brings into context how very disturbed this 50-year-old men really is.

I have watched the guy’s acts and some of the offensive jokes he has made over the years point to a very disturbed individual, but then we all thought these were jokes and no man would ever do the things he has said in real life.

After his shenanigans surfaced, last year, I was forced to rethink some of his acts with the most notable being his Saturday Night Live monologue where he tries to glorify paedophilia.

Now, for Chappelle to go on and mock said accusers and defend this man, without a full grasp of the facts, is just wrong. In the wake of the weaknesses of “The Bird Revelation”, his second special comes in as a redeemer.

“Equanimity” is tasteful, funny and controlled with Chappelle talking about his upbringing, biracial marriages, his comical clashes with transgender people and more importantly the gift that keeps on giving, Donald Trump.

The highlight of the aforementioned topics include him lampooning Trump and his many public transgressions, how many people thought he was originally from the hood and the many ways he used that misconception to his advantage.

Overall, the two specials mostly tick all the right boxes in terms of material, delivery and laughs but lack in the “it” factor. Maybe Chappelle is just too good, as he puts it, and now operates on a level we are not at. Maybe, just maybe, we are unable to fully grasp the level of his genius. If that is the case, a hiatus, maybe to Zimbabwe this time, is just what the doctor ordered. Both specials are now available online and can be watched on Netflix.

7,723 total views, no views today

  • Kristina Lopez

    I believe you’re wrong. But that’s ok. You’re a person, I’m a person. Thanks for the good read.