Netflix’s first two hour-long stand-up specials starring Chappelle were released simultaneously earlier this week. The first, titled “The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at The Hollywood Palladium,” was recorded at the comedian’s first stand-up performance in Los Angeles in roughly a decade. The episode’s brief synopsis reads: “At his first LA show in 10 years, Chappelle charges straight into the fire with bits on Bill Cosby, O.J. Simpson and his own brushes with controversy.”
The second hour-long special, titled “Deep in the Heart of Texas: Dave Chappelle Live at Austin City Limits,” was recorded in Texas. Here’s the synopsis: “Chappelle gets real about racially charged run-ins, celebrity scandals and fatherly dilemmas in a searing stand-up set at Austin’s Moody Theater.”
After abruptly leaving his sketch series Chappelle’s Show in 2005 — and shrugging at the $50 million contract Comedy Central offered him to keep making it — Chappelle spent the next several years traveling to South Africa, avoiding press, settling down in a tiny town in Ohio, and performing occasional, scattered standup sets around the country, to mixed success. In the process, he earned a reputation for being a difficult recluse — a reputation that, whether fair or not, Chappelle doesn’t avoid talking about in these new specials.
Netflix reportedly paid $60 million for the rights to stream the specials along with a third special to be released later this year. On Monday, the streaming giant announced that Chappelle and director Stan Lathan have teamed up to produce a new stand-up comedy special exclusively for Netflix. Both of the current specials were filmed before the world of Trumpdom; one in 2016 and the other in 2015. It will be interesting to see how the comics takes on the new prez in his third special.
The Chappelle news comes on the heels of Netflix mega deal with Chris Rock to produce two new stand-up streaming specials.