On June 12, Netflix dropped a big surprise on YouTube. In the middle of a pandemic, the streamer released a new special from Dave Chappelle titled 8:46, which was filmed just a few days prior during one of Chappelle’s ongoing shows in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he currently lives. Chappelle’s Ohio shows — titled Dave Chappelle & Friends: An Intimate Socially Distanced Affair a.k.a. “Chappelle Summer Camp” — have been taking place regularly throughout the summer, and according to Ticketmaster, shows are currently scheduled through at least this weekend. Tons of big-name comedians, musicians, and actors have showed up for these performances so far, including Chris Rock, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Talib Kweli, Tiffany Haddish, Michael Che, Common, Michelle Wolf, Sarah Silverman, John Mayer, Erykah Badu, and Jon Hamm. A rather controversial performer was unveiled with an Instagram post over the weekend when Silverman revealed that she … performed with Louis C.K.
If Instagram posts by attendees are to be believed, Chappelle has a plan to take advantage of all these guests by taping the live shows for … something. Another Netflix special? A documentary like Dave Chappelle’s Block Party? Netflix would not comment when asked by Vulture if there’s some kind of Chappelle Summer Camp special or series in the works, but again, what some fans have let slip out on Instagram points to the existence of some kind of project we can all watch in the near future. Take, for example, this August 4 Instagram post by a show attendee, which teased, “look for us on a Nelfix [sic] special this Fall lol”:
Much more convincing is this Instagram post by another attendee on July 4, which was about a month after Chappelle’s 8:46 special was taped. A sign was displayed for fans waiting to enter the show, which warned: “This performance is being recorded for future telecasts and other exploitation at the producer’s discretion and may include pictures of the audience or individuals in the audience and backstage. Attendance at this performance shall be deemed your consent to appear in such telecasts without compensation.” Hmm, sure sounds like a taping!
A third fan who attended Chappelle’s August 8 show confirmed to Vulture that they saw the sign prior to entering the show and that cameras “were filming the entire time, but it’s hard to say because there were multiple screens broadcasting the show throughout the venue. So they could have just been filming for that.” The attendee noted that they only saw cameras filming the stage and not the audience, adding, “No one mentioned anything about what or who they were filming for!”
Including 8:46, Chappelle has released all six of his stand-up specials since 2017 on Netflix, so it seems likely that whatever comes out of these coronavirus-era shows — which, for the record, enforce social-distancing measures and provide fast COVID-19 testing — will go the streaming network as well. But, given Chappelle’s preference for surprise releases, there’s probably no way to know for sure until whatever he’s making is released. In any case, prepare yourself, because Louis C.K.’s return to Netflix — or some other network — now appears to be very much in the cards.