Dave Chappelle: Equanimity – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Dave Chappelle: Equanimity - Title Card

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100% (3)

Dave Chappelle: Equanimity, isn’t so much a comedy special as Dave defending everything he has said and done when it comes to Trump and Trans people.

Director(s) Stan Lathan
Writer(s) Dave Chappelle


Dave is back and while he may refuse to apologize for anything he has ever said, he does want to get some things clear. First and foremost, while he may never feel bad for what he says on stage, like many a comedian, he has grown tired of having to defend himself. If he makes jokes about trans people, it isn’t because he hates them. No. It is just a hilarious predicament. One in which, while he may joke and kid, in his mind, a person cutting off their penis is the kind of statement which should be taken seriously.

But of course, Dave doesn’t just add fuel to the fire, he also tries to put out some old ones too. Like it ever seeming like he supported Donald Trump. As quoted below, he didn’t but it wasn’t like when he first voted for Obama. There wasn’t any excitement or glee, just how many people felt – They were voting for the lesser of two evils. Which, he recognizes, considering all Donald Trump has done for non-rich people, it may seem strange to say Clinton is evil. However, even if you don’t see her as evil in the traditional sense, considering the tactics she used to not lose the primary out of nowhere, again, you got to take the idea into consideration.

Setting aside politics and his trans scandal, there are other things talked about too. He talks about growing up as the poorest family in a white neighborhood, how he is starting to lose the excitement of performing at his current level and what’s it like to be 44. Be it the look of his body or just how looking at his kids, with the oldest being 16, makes him feel.

Thus giving us a Dave which more so digs into the philosophical and commentary than someone trying to be a funny man.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Apparently, Dave is ¼ white since his mother is bi-racial.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

[Speaking on voting for Hillary Clinton] It didn’t feel bad voting for her, but it didn’t feel as good as it should’ve.

On The Fence

Can a Joke Be A Joke?

Dave Chappelle Equanimity - Saying "Word, Bitch, I was?"

I really felt Dave clapping back at his critics, if not explaining himself, was kind of a misuse of his time, especially for a comedy special, but perhaps necessary. After all, Dave is not Kevin Hart. He didn’t come up in a time where social justice warriors could have huge platforms online and be more than an article in the paper, likely nowhere near the front, and whose critique had to be sought it. Dave is in a new era and like you hear from damn near any comedian, especially the old-timers and Black ones, there is the question of whether people can take a joke?

Especially when it comes to marginalized communities. Now, as he addresses, just because he doesn’t fully understand Trans people or poor white people who vote against their interest, it doesn’t mean he hates them. Dave repeatedly makes it clear this idea of “We’re all in this together” and everyone should be able to pursue love, have safety, and feel comfortable. It’s just, if a person does something weird or funny, why is the only thing allowed is to be supportive and not ask some questions? Maybe critique their life as much as those who get critiqued for not acting like this is a long and established norm?

It’s a catch-22 you see Chappelle is still struggling with and seems to be very taxing. For the idea of being transphobic, even racist, leaves him taken back a little bit. Yet, the same thing he gets criticized for is part of what keeps him having a career. Perhaps explaining to the masses why protestors ask people to stop supporting a performer when they are offended. For if you validate them with your dollar bills, while they may hear what is said and feel bad, that money shows that they don’t need to for too long.

It Wasn’t Funny, Yet Still Entertaining and Insightful

Dave Chappelle Equanimity - Relating the death of Emmett Till to Donald Trump's Presidency

I’m of the opinion that at this point in Chappelle’s career, he isn’t trying to be the top guy. His legend has been established, he has his pedestal, so there is no need to compete with Kevin Hart and other comedians anymore. He has his audience and with that, you can see he is feeling himself a bit. Like, he knows he can say something like “So I kicked her in the pussy!” and as offensive and off the wall as it sounds, his live audience will laugh. Those watching from home may not, may get on Twitter or Facebook and hashtag or @ an account he doesn’t use, but those aren’t truly his people.

His people are the ones who know that sometimes with him, it isn’t about the joke. In a weird way, Dave has been evolving to be beyond jokes. It isn’t about the big laugh anymore but keeping you thinking. Maybe just you thinking this dude is absurd, and that being the entertaining bit, but also planting a seed in there. One which makes you think and use that oxygen usually escaping, due to laughter, to fuel a thought.

I mean, Chappelle ends the special talking about how one white woman lying, and a Black woman using her grief over her son’s death, allowed him to be on stage. He uses the story of Emmett Till to illustrate how perhaps Trump being in office could very well spark a drastic cultural change in America. Especially as the people rebuke his beliefs and just add them to the country’s sordid history. Which isn’t to say those who think like him, believe in him and voted for him will necessarily change, but at the very least get the same kind of guilt Dave feels when talking about those he may not understand.

Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)

Dave Chappelle in a suit

Here is the thing, I can make excuses for how good this special is and say it is insightful, entertaining, and how Dave still has it, but what you’re probably looking to do is laugh. Yeah, some insight is cool and all, but will Dave take me away from my troubles for a good hour and make me laugh to forget my pain? The answer is no. What I was left with is just Dave venting and seeming upset that he is now in an era where he has to defend himself. That he doesn’t really have a career anymore which challenges and excites him. Instead, he has a job which has him miss his kids growing up and while he loves the money, the things which truly matter to him are starting to slip away. Which, at this point in his life, isn’t so much writing jokes but getting to vibe with dope people, be with his wife and kids, and enjoy the life he only got a taste of, through others, growing up.

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About Amari Sali 2530 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all. An avid writer, Amari hopes to eventually switch from talking about other people's productions to fully working on his own. Such a dream is in progress to becoming reality.


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