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Fallon referenced the fact that Chappelle was among the first comedians to do outdoor, socially distanced shows amid the pandemic. “A lot of it started when the protests started,” said Chappelle, referencing the murder of George Floyd. The comedian had to get approval from the governor of Ohio to do the shows in a cornfield. “A lot of great comedians came out and donated their talents,” he said.
Later on, Fallon brought up Chappelle’s top trending 2020 Netflix stand-up special 8:46, in which the title referred to the length of time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, resulting in his death. Filming the special, which addressed the nationwide protest against police brutality and was distributed on YouTube, was “gut-wrenching,” recalled Chappelle, though he was glad to put it out.
Chappelle recalled during the interview that he started performing stand-up when he was 14 years old, with his mother taking him to comedy clubs. Of that time in his life, he remembered always being filthy. “When I was young, I thought being dirty was the way to go,” he laughed.
The pair also spoke of how Chappelle studied at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, which he said is “one of the best incubators to hone your talent.” He has, in the years since, taught master classes for the students.
Among Chappelle’s current projects, he hosts Luminary podcast Midnight Miracle with Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey. The episodes, which include conversations, sketches and impersonations, will become available on vinyl.
Touching on social media, Chappelle likened Twitter to a “bathroom wall” and cited that as the reason he doesn’t tweet. “Why would I write all of my thoughts on the bathroom wall?”
Toward the end of the interview, Fallon recruited Chappelle to play a debate game, in which he settled issues like: cryptocurrency or cash? “Cash rules everything around me,” answered Chappelle. “I don’t think you can buy cryptocurrency without cash.”
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