Thirteen years after being denied the eight-figure check, Comedy Central owed him from his massively successful and record-breaking show.
Comedian Dave Chapelle in his Netflix special The Age of Spin and Deep in the Heart of Texas which aired on March 21.
Dave Chappelle returns to the stage with the first two of three specials purchased by the streaming icon, Netflix (through a $60 million deal) accompanied by a hunger as palpable as the attention and controversy that comes along with the very mention of his name.
The Voldemort comedian’s comedy that turned into a household name without achieving superstardom doesn’t need to fight hard to prove his relevance in the medium as his presence helps fill a void left by other notorious names in standup that include, but are not limited to Bill Hicks and Patrice O’Neal.
Unlike other cult favorites, such as Joey Coco Diaz and Eric Andre, the amount of material put out by Dave Chappelle doesn’t come, if it ever does, as often as the people would like it to. Fortunately, for the fan-base, when it does come, it’s always quality material.
Dave cements his own, “George Carlin bow,” by slamming his microphone into his thigh and pulls off one of the most brilliant bits of modern standup when he sets up and delivers an encore performance like a musical act would do.
From a more critical perspective, he powers through what most would label politically incorrect statements with such bravado enforced by old standards of masculinity and places that a lot of people trust that everybody will understand references that might be lost to a younger generation.
Still, he gracefully stumbles through the first of the collection that is the tightest, in terms of structure, fueled by juice executed in a manner fitting of the legend that is Dave Chappelle.
The second special, filmed in Austin, is filled with the type of nostalgia only an immaculate reboot can produce, while being a much more intimate hour supported by personal stories and physical movements that complement the mood like sitting down and smoking a cigarette on stage.
Dave also indulges in a sauce of his own concoction by taking another nod from pop culture, like he did with James Brown, when he writes a monologue disguised as an answering machine in which Morgan Freeman declares him a, “comedic genius, deep in trance not able to talk with you right now.”
Dave is not like his contemporary friend comedians Chris Rock, Katt Williams or Kevin Hart in the conventional way. He shouldn’t be as big as he is but he somehow is and perhaps only gets bigger with passing years.
His influence is undeniable yet his style will never be recreated in the way he presents it.
Despite the witty punch lines acts mostly get remembered for, on here it’s the delivery of the material that is the most unique.
That is not to say Dave doesn’t hit hard with left hooks.
He isn’t coming out swinging like a brawler; he comes out with a (drunken) Kung Fu stance and waits for you to get your guard down all while appearing like a wax statue.
I give the first special a 4.5 and the second one 4 stars out of 5.