For the longest time, Dave Chappelle has alway stood outside of my top two favourite comedians of all time. For the majority of my adult life, the line up has always been Richard Pryor as the undisputed king (and that’s not changing anytime soon), Eddie Murphy as the Prince of comedy and a straight up dog fight between Dave Chappelle and Billy Connolly.
I am now at a point in my life where I can admit that, not only has Dave put distance between himself and Billy, but there is now a legitimate question of whether Dave should be holding Pryor’s metaphorical clipboard.
The reason for this is Chappelle’s recent Netflix special, The Age of Spin. I cannot remember a time where I cried with laughter for the length of time that I did during this special. I laughed so much it hurt. Mixed in with the laughter were genuine moments of shock (his gay and transgender jokes walked right up to the line) and admiration at his bravery (basically every time he mentions Bill Cosby and OJ).
Dave Chappelle is not your average comedian. He is not Kevin Hart – no matter how much love Dave show his colleague. The special also made me mad at Chappelle. As one friend put it – Dave quit on us. He had all the talent in the world and, 13 years ago, he walked away.
Image how different the world could have been if Dave was around during the Obama-era? I personally believe liberalism would have benefitted greatly with voices like Dave’s deftly challenging norms and taboos. His jokes about Cosby, Caitlyn Jenner and black vs jews are simply some of the best I have ever heard.
My only hope is that I don’t wait 13 more years to hear from Dave again.