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The special, named for the length of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck, starts with Chappelle praising those out in the streets protesting against police brutality and systemic racism.
The raw and powerful special was filmed June 6 in Beavercreek, Ohio, in front of a socially distanced, mask-wearing audience. Chappelle noted that 8:46 was among the first live concerts to occur as the months-long COVID-19 lockdowns are eased, which meant that “like it or not, it’s going to be history.”
Chappelle calls out CNN’s Don Lemon for his comments on celebrities and Hollywood staying silent about police brutality, suggesting that his life’s work was evidence enough of how he supported these protests, and he wouldn’t try to lead them just because he’s a celebrity. Riffing on his famous joke about MTV asking for Ja Rule’s thoughts in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Chappelle said, “Do we want to see a celebrity right now? Do we give a fuck what Ja Rule thinks?”
“This is the streets talking for themselves, they don’t need me right now. I kept my mouth shut. And I’ll keep my mouth shut. Don’t think my silence is complicit,” Chappelle said, adding, “Why would anyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds? I can’t get that number out of my head.”
Discussing how right-wing media attempted to paint Floyd as a flawed person and criminal, Chappelle excoriated conservative pundits Candace Owens and Laura Ingraham. He described Owens as a grifter and “the worst” and an “articulate idiot.” In discussing Ingraham, he brings up her “shut up and dribble” controversy with LeBron James.
In his inimitable storytelling style, Chappelle also linked together a bewildering number of incidents in less than half an hour, touching on the death of Trayvon Martin and the police killings of Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and John Crawford, the last of which was particularly poignant for Chappelle as it happened in his hometown of Beaver Creek.
In the video description section on YouTube, Chappelle left a simple message explaining the raw nature of the special, “From Dave: Normally I wouldn’t show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand.” There was also a link to find out more about the Equal Justice Initiative.
See the full special below.
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