Comedian Dave Chappelle addressed the police involved death of George Floyd in an emotional, near-30 minute Netflix special titled 8:46, ripping conservative commentator Candace Owens, Fox News host Laura Ingraham, and declaring, ironically, that America doesn’t need to hear celebrities speak out right now.
“Why would anyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man’s neck for 8:46?” Chappelle said, ripping CNN host Don Lemon, who called on Hollywood celebrities to speak out on Floyd’s death. “I can’t get that number out of my head because it was my time of birth on my birth certificate,” Chappelle said, before going after Owens, who responded to Floyd’s death in a 17 minute video. “I seen Candace Owens try to convince white America, ‘Don’t worry about it. He’s a criminal anyway.’ I don’t give a fuck what this nigga did. I don’t care what this nigga did,” Chappelle said, echoing Owens, who repeatedly said Floyd’s criminal record in no way justified his killing. “I don’t care if he personally kicked Candace Owens in her stanky pussy. I don’t know if it stanks, but I imagine it does. If I ever find out, I’ll let you know for sure.”
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Chappelle, who looked and sounded more like a speaker at a political rally than standup comedian, offered his explanation on why police and the public in general may struggle to understand why protests over George Floyd’s death saw five figure crowds of people marching in the streets in cities across America. “You know why 400 cops showed up? because one of their own was murdered,” Chappelle said of the 2013 manhunt and police killing of former Los Angeles police officer turned murder suspect Christopher Dorner. “How the fuck can they understand what’s going on in these streets? We saw ourselves like you see yourself.”
“Laura Ingraham, which I will say publicly, anywhere anytime, is a cunt,” Chappelle said of the Fox News host, who the comedian railed against as a “regular ass white bitch” because she said NBA stars, like LeBron James, speaking out on race issues in America should “shut up and dribble.” (Ingram has been playing on the phrase since at least 2003, when she released her second book Shut Up & Sing).
Chappelle invoked Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of George Zimmerman; mass-murderer Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people in Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015; John Crawford III, who was shot and killed by police as he played with a toy gun in a Walmart in Ohio (in the same town where Chappelle and his family live) in 2014. “But Michael Brown got shot the same week and Michael Brown became the story,” Chappelle said before invoking the police shootings of Minneapolis man Philando Castile and the police shooting of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, man Alton Sterling. “And what do you think was going to happen. Three days later, nine cops get murdered in Dallas at a Black Lives Matter rally,” Chappelle said. “That’s what is happening right now. It’s not for a single cop, it’s for all of it.”
“This is the last stronghold for civil discourse. After this shit, it’s just rat-a-tat-tat,” Chappelle said, imitating the sounds of an automatic weapon firing.
The surprise Netflix special was filmed on June 6 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and released for free on YouTube late Thursday. Those in attendance took temperature checks, wore masks, and were seated socially distant. The special marked Chappelle’s first stage set in 87 days. The special began with a disclaimer that read: “From Dave: Normally I wouldn’t show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand.” It included a link to the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, founded by Bryan Stevenson, who’s work received the Hollywood treatment last year in the Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan-starrer Just Mercy.