Netflix dropped a big surprise in the middle of the night: a 27-minute clip of Dave Chappelle performing just six days ago on June 6 where he currently lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The title of the set, 8:46, is a reference to the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck, which led to Floyd’s murder and sparked the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests around the country. 8:46 was already a significant number to Chappelle, since it was the time in the morning that he was born. The video points out that before this set, Chappelle hadn’t performed live onstage in 87 days.
While 8:46 is peppered with a few funny moments, Chappelle spends most of the set offering serious reflections on police brutality, the killing of Floyd, and how the news media covers these stories. “Has anyone ever listened to me do comedy? Have I not ever said anything about these things before?” Chappelle says while referencing a CNN segment by Don Lemon asking why celebrities, including Chappelle, weren’t commenting on the Floyd news. “So now all of a sudden, this n - - - - expects me to step in front of the streets and talk over the work these people are doing as a celebrity? Answer me! Do you want to see a celebrity right now? Do we give a fuck what Ja Rule thinks? Does it matter about celebrity? No! This is the streets talking for themselves. They don’t need me right now.”
Later in the set, Chappelle says that when he hosted SNL in 2016, there was one thing he said in his opening monologue that he “got completely wrong.” He had commented on how few black people were invited to the White House throughout its history, with Frederick Douglass as the first-ever and that it didn’t happen again until Roosevelt was president. “But that was wrong. It happened one other time before that,” Chappelle says before revealing that his great-grandfather, William David Chappelle, led a delegation of African-Americans at the White House received by Woodrow Wilson in 1918, who were there to protest the lynching of a black man in South Carolina over a $30 dispute. “And these n - - - - - say ‘Why isn’t David Chappelle saying anything?’” Chappelle says. “Because David Chappelle understands what the fuck he is seeing, and these streets will speak for themselves whether I am alive or dead.”
The show comes with a disclaimer under the video from Dave — “Normally I wouldn’t show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand” — as well as a link to donate to the Equal Justice Initiative.