Dave Chappelle has dropped a surprise new special for free on Netflix’s comedy YouTube page titled “8:46,” a reference to the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck before killing him. The comedian performed the special on June 6 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, for a socially-distanced audience that all wore masks in an outdoor concert setup. Chappelle noted during the set, “This is like the first concert in North America since all this shit happened, so like it or not, it’s history. It’s going to be in the books.”
Given its title, much of Chappelle’s “8:46″ special centers around the death of George Floyd and the international protests that have taken place as a result. The comedian praised protestors for standing up against police brutality but added, “It’s hard to figure out what to say about George Floyd, so I’m not going to say it yet.”
Chappelle did discuss watching the video of Floyd’s death, which he put off for a week after it first started being broadcast on the news and online. The comedian said when he finally watched the clip he immediately understood why Floyd’s death has led to some of the country’s biggest and most impassioned protests in recent years.
“This kid thought he was going to die, he knew he was going to die,” Chappelle said. “He called for his mother, he called for his dead mother. I’ve only seen that once before in my life: My father on his deathbed called for his grandmother.”
“When I watched that tape I understood this man knew he was going to die,” the comedian continued. “People watched it, people filmed it, and for some reason that I still don’t understand, all these fucking police had their hands in their pockets. Who are you talking to? What are you signifying? That you can kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and feel like you wouldn’t get the wrath of God? That is what is happening right now. It’s not for a single cop, it’s for all of it, fucking all of it. I don’t mean to get heavy but we gotta say something.”
Chappelle also directs attention at Don Lemon and calls out the CNN host for criticizing Hollywood celebrities for remaining silent on the fight against police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s death. The comedian recalled how MTV infamously asked rapper Ja Rule about his thoughts on 9/11 following the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. “Do we want to see a celebrity right now?” Chappelle asked. “Do we give a fuck what Ja Rule thinks?”
“This is the streets talking for themselves, they don’t need me right now,” Chappelle said about why he’s remained silent on Floyd’s death. “I kept my mouth shut. And I’lll keep my mouth shut. Don’t think my silence is complicit. Why would anyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds? I can’t get that number out of my head.”
Chappelle also slams conservative commentators like Fox News host Laura Ingraham and Candace Owens, the latter of whom he calls “an articulate idiot.” The comedian took issue with Owens trying to “convince white America” that Floyd was “a criminal anyway,” thus lessening the impact of his death and providing sympathy to the police officer who killed him. Chappelle responds, “I don’t give a fuck what this n— did. I don’t care what this n— did. I don’t care if he personally kicked Candace Owens in her stanky p—. I don’t know if it stanks, but I imagine it does. If I ever find out, I’ll let you know for sure. I’ll tell like Azealia Banks. I’ll tell.”
The special runs 27 minutes and includes a link to the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending mass incarceration. Watch “8:46” in its entirety in the video below.