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03 Jan 2018

Home Video Review: Netflix's New Dave Chappelle Specials Prove He's the Best Standup Comic Working Today

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A scene from Dave Chappelle: Equanimity. A scene from Dave Chappelle: Equanimity.

Dave Chappelle solidified his claim to the title of Best Working Standup Comedian by dropping not one, but two standup specials on Netflix on New Year’s Eve.

The first, Equanimity, is a little longer and takes place in a standard concert hall with a large audience. The second, The Bird Revelation, is more like a town hall, with Chappelle seated in a more-intimate club and smoking a cigarette (as opposed to the vape pen he constantly hits in Equanimity). With each puff of smoke he blows into the closer-than-usual front row, he becomes more unapologetic with his sharp comedy.

The sets, although presented in two different fashions, combine for close to two hours of fantastic comedy. (By all means, watch them in a row.) Chappelle addresses his good-luck wishes to Donald Trump the night he hosted Saturday Night Live about a year ago. He also, in a roundabout way, talks about why he abandoned Chappelle’s Show. As for Louis C.K., the guy who held the Best Working Standup Comedian title up until a couple of months ago, Chappelle has some choice words for both him and his victims.

Chappelle took some heat for his first Netflix specials, released earlier this year, which contained his admittedly selfish insights into transgender issues. He’s told comedy fans that they need to have thicker skins, because too many people these days are too easily insulted. Just about every joke out of Chappelle’s mouth has a tinge of controversy, but it’s that high-wire act that makes him so watchable. You become convinced he’s going to fall to his death with his next words … but the guy has wings.

He hints he’s going to go away for some time after these specials. I hope he’s just teasing. We really need this guy.

Dave Chappelle: Equanimity and The Bird Revelation are currently streaming on Netflix.

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