Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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In a way, The Bird Revelation, like Equanimity, isn’t really a comedy special. It is funnier than the latter but is definitely more about exploring ideas than telling jokes.


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

Summary

One of the main things Dave explores in The Bird Revelation is capitalism and control. It begins with him talking about the #MeToo movement and relating to how, as a Black man, he gets it. Leading to him presenting how he gets it, personally. Especially by bringing up this book, “Pimp” by a person named Iceberg Slim. With that, what may have been sold as a comedy special becomes like a Ted Talk. Dave strips away that joking demeanor and you get the kind of vibe or side you’d have to assume his kids got. One in which, while he may not go into every last detail, the point of how life is, especially as he knows it, is put out there.

Leaving you, like with Equanimity, more so left with something to think about than a bunch of memes, jokes to repeat, and this sense that Dave has any intention of running with the young bucks. For instead, while he still wants to make you laugh, as he does, the end game is really to make you think. Even if it is how much in disagreement with him you are.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • This was taped November 20th, this year.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So, taking note of the Iceberg Slim story, is he basically saying Comedy Central had, or has, something on him which took him past his mileage?
  2. Anyone else get Paul Mooney vibes? Especially when he was saying, “Don’t forget who I am. Don’t forget what I am. I am a Black dude. And don’t ever forget how I got here.”

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

“Know who’s the most uncomfortable mother—— in the room? The nigga that’s right.”

Dave Chappelle The Bird Revelation - Dave noting he did not know about Louis C.K.

“You got all the bad guys scared and that’s good, but the minute they’re not scared anymore, it will get worse than it was before. Fear does not make lasting peace. “

Dave Chappelle The Bird Revelation - Talking about how weird it would be if Weinstein pulled on him what he did to many women before

“Never choose to be a hero because heroes die uncomfortable deaths.”

Highlights

A Conversation with Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle The Bird Revelation - Saying it is the best time to say something

You know what I think would help when it comes to Dave Chappelle’s specials? Them not being noted as comedy specials. At this point, I really do believe that while Dave may write jokes and punchlines, it is when he is just working out some thoughts on stage, for better or worse, when he is at his best. Like him presenting the idea of sexual harassment and stepping into the zone that got Matt Damon in trouble. That is, presenting this idea that while all harassment and assault matters, in Hollywood, it isn’t all equal.

For example, you can see he puts Louis C.K. and Harvey Weinstein in two different categories, yet ties them together. There is a question, since Dave isn’t at all pursuing being politically correct, how does one allow themselves in that position and then with the Louis C.K. situation, he puts the following question in place: How brittle is your dream if what this man did can stop you?

Which is messed up if you look at it from a politically correct angle. However, Dave isn’t doing so and in the process of that, he kind of reminds you of the role comedians, good comedians anyway, play. They are the ones who speak what the average person can’t due to fear of retribution, getting doxed, and etc. Those like Dave who, foolishly to some, allow their thought process to be recorded, initiate complicated conversations that are very uncomfortable to the general public. Especially because, with comedy, there isn’t really this grace period before addressing something. Hot button issues is what they thrive on. So Dave questioning whether some have buyer’s remorse vs. something more heinous happened, is just as much terrible as an idea you may be afraid to write or vocalize. So, as he said in Equanimity, he says it for you.

But perhaps what made this special so good, jumping off the sexual harassment topic, is the intimacy of the special. As noted, while Dave makes it clear he is on stage and the people are his audience, with him sitting on a chair, only moving when he can’t handle his own jokes, there is a direct line there. There might be a Michael Jackson voice impression and him cracking on gay dudes he knew in high school, but throughout the special he gets real with you. This especially comes into play when Dave goes beyond his usual, “As a Black guy …” and relates things to his own person.

Such as when he talks about how having $25,000 at 18 or 19, in Brooklyn, around 1 AM, is probably the type of fear women deal with every day of sexual assault and harassment. How that book named “Pimp” triggered the best way he can talk about walking away from $50 Million dollars without naming names and possibly saying something which could get him or others in trouble. Much less, how Colin Kaepernick, this dude who can pass for white, in Chappelle’s eyes, he wants to support for he is making the sacrifices others either can’t or won’t.

Overall: Positive (Watch This)

Dave Chappelle The Bird Revelation - After his recap of Pimp by Iceberg Slim

To say the least, while Chappelle says the most, The Bird Revelation seems like one of the most personal Chappelle specials thus far. If only because he doesn’t bring up the idea of “As a Black person” as much as he puts up the idea of, “As Dave Chappelle, this is how I feel.” Thus making it so the intimacy isn’t just because Dave is dealing with a small stage, but because his interactions with the audience isn’t just to keep them on their toes. Rather, it is because he has something real to say to them. Something he isn’t necessarily comfortable with yet, but rather than wait until it is fully polished, there is this trust that his audience will get him. And while someone out there may misconstrue a thing or two, those who care to listen and not harp on one thing said or another, that is who he is speaking to and ultimately connecting with in a way most comedians don’t really pursue to. Even if you count interviews and social media.

For in the end, The Bird Revelation seemingly represents the Chappelle who his wife and kids experience and Equanimity is arguably the entertainer. A duality which seemingly Chappelle struggles at times to maintain, hence how he is less pursuing morphing the two together as he is trying to get people to accept small stage Chappelle is who he truly is – for better or worse.

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2.81/3 (16)

What's Your Take?

Author: Amari Sali

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.

27 thoughts on “Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

  1. The Iceberg Slim scenario is a great analogy that describes how the capitalist world works in general.

    Societies (bottom bitch/ho) work to their limits to make the rich (pimp) money. When societies reach their ‘mileage’, the rich exercise their power to create new problems. The rich provide expensive solutions, which keep societies poor and dependent, and their own pockets full.

    A very simple eg is when ppl have to work long hours to get by > have little time to prepare home cooked meals > eat quick n cheap fast food > get fatter > spend money on gym memberships, weight loss programs, anything diet related etc to lose the weight.

    The rich create a problem, make ppl believe they need help to fix it, then sell ppl the solution…and that is how they stay rich and in power.

    this was Dave’s way of letting everyone know he wasn’t their bottom bitch when he declined the $50m.

  2. Can we talk about the comments he made about black women also going through the same thing but keeping their mouths shut because they they do not want to get black men in trouble. I had to stop the show and reflect on that for a while. Made me realize that there is more beneath the surface.
    Chappelle also talks about the sad reality of the situation in Hollywood. Chances are the accused individuals will go to therapy and pull a PR spin and prey on the concept of redemption. Jut give them a few years, I have a sinking feeling nothing will change in Hollywood. People will just get better at covering their tracks. Dave said it best, we have to reconstruct the entire system not just take individuals out of the system.
    This is a sobering reality.

    1. Which left me wondering, “Dave, what you hinting at dog?” You don’t know about Louis but do you know about someone else? Cause Dave makes it clear he used to party back in the day.

    1. I’d argue Revelations 18:2 about the fall of Babylon which is another name for Hollywood. Birds, when I did a little research on it, could represent the rapist and capitalist Dave talks about in the special.

      1. Also, the special opens with a quote on the screen:

        “I was alive. I could fly”
        – Charlie Parker

        And, of course, he was called “Bird”. Just unsure how the title and the quote relate to the material.

        1. That’s why I figured, since he brought up what was kind of a random book, maybe he has been reading more and maybe Hollywood Babylon was on that list? As for the Charlie Parker quote, being that I don’t know much about him, it is hard to say.

          1. Charlie “Bird” Parker was possibly the greatest jazz saxophone player in history. He was also a heroin addict, and an alcoholic. The quote may best be interpreted as a metaphor, used by Chappelle to underscore the seductiveness of whatever it is that gets a person off–and yet may be the very thing that can’t be gotten over.
            Or that could just be me.
            Your review, while a tad quote heavy, is one of the best.

      2. Hey, I dont mean to be rude, but you may want to do a little more reading from God’s word on the subject of mystery/new babylon.

    2. Pretty sure it’s called the bird revelation because “bird” is a word used for a woman (cats for men), and a revelation is a previously unknown fact, or an emphasis on something previously obscured. And since the majority of this special focused on what is going on in Hollywood right now, I think the title’s meaning should be rather obvious.

  3. I’ve never experienced such a visceral reaction to a ‘comedy’ special. I’ve already read one review that completely misconstrues what Dave is saying, essentially it states that “Dave Chappelle is defending Louis C.K..” That is antithetical and also not even entirely relevant. Yes, there are degrees in which we should compartmentalize these deplorable acts of any sexual harassment, “How the fuck are you going to survive in show business if this an actual obstacle to your dreams?” He also mentions that some of these woman, “have brittle spirits.” Essentially, life is imbued with potholes of adversity. How we react to these challenges not only defines who we are but also exposes our character. Paradoxically, He says, “We need to man the fuck up.” The PC police are going to have a hard time swallowing that one. However, it further deepens his analogy. He likens the #metoo movement to the South African apartheid. “You can’t make a lasting peace this way. You got all the bad guys scared and thats good. But the minute they’re not scared anymore, it will get worse than it was before. Fear does not make lasting peace.. what you really need is truth and reconciliation with one another.” There has to be some degree of forgiveness shown or this will never remedy itself, if it even can… I’ll end with this: “If the system is corrupt then the people who adhere to the system and are incentivized by that system are not criminals. They are victims, and the system itself must be tried, but because how systems work is so compartmentalized as far as information the only way we can figure out what the system is if everybody says what they did. Tell them how you participated. Because men want to help, they’re just scared.”

    1. An even better review than the reviewer.

      Satire has to draw blood. Besides Mort Sahl and Dave Chappelle, the other guys are made-in-lab Democrats who might not be Iceberg, but instead want to compete.

      1. Dave Chappelle was on the levels of George Carlin and Richard Pryor with this new installation. It’s amazing to be able to laugh at as well as contemplate the depths of personal pain and pertinent issues in the world today. Reminds me of an old Mel Brooks movie where Mel’s character called himself a stand-up philosopher. Dave was the real deal in this show. I had to pause often because of the gravity of his subjects. I also laughed till I cried sometimes. Amazing performance!

    2. Took a lot of guts for Dave Chappelle to basically open his veins on stage in the manner he displayed. Easily the most profound performance I’ve ever seen from him. The Bird Revelation was a sheer act of brilliance and a profoundly gritty blend of entertainment and activism.

  4. Great review. I thought the piece about Iceberg Slim was genius. I owned a copy of that at one time. Dave by far is one of the most brilliant if not the most brilliant comics of our time.

  5. I still don’t see how what he did compares to the Iceberg Slim scenario. Not that he spelled it all out. But he didn’t really leave much of a clue. Unless I missed the point but I don’t know.
    And is he saying he’s the ho in this analogy? Maybe that he was just burnt out at the end of the Chapelle show and needed a time out. Or, some shit going on that he didn’t want to participate in. And he flew the hell out of there.

    1. Essentially, yes. He was their bottom b—-. One who reached the end of his mileage for he felt he was no longer in on the joke. However, rather than them setting him up to trap him, they instead used the name recognition for a season without Chappelle and, based off his feelings on key and peele, mind of Mencia, and Amy Schumer’s show, arguably that is how they extended his mileage. All the while, arguably, they kept him trapped by being part of this narrative of him being some crazy negro who walked away from 50 million.

      Which, in the words of Wendy Williams: “When you tell people—particularly white people—that they can keep their money, […] because you muthafuckas think that we’re all slaves to somebody, white people, people in general, almost lose their minds.”

      And so, while perhaps not blackballed or listed, there is a chance they made it hard for him to bounce back after all was said and done.

      1. Compared to someone like Charlie Sheen who had major meltdown and falling out from show that was the most watched on TV for years only to go on without him.
        Sheen’s flippant behavior, drug use, and mongering didn’t prevent him from getting another show and even increased his popularity. He only went down after he admitted he was HIV positive for years while having unprotected sex with women .

      2. Iceberg’s Captain’s manifesto was to orchestrate an entire ruse so that his bottom b— understands that she needs him, making it impossible for her to walk away. Based on this scenario, I think the analogy is that they did set up a trap him. They knew that he was at the end of his “mileage” and they offered him 50 million dollars (or whatever amount) for him to sign the new contract. Just like the money in the briefcase, 50 million dollars was coming from the money they were making off him but only a very small percentage. The ruse being that he would be unable to walk away from all that money when in reality they were going to make a lot more off him that they were paying him. Rather than being the bottom b—-, he took his ass to South Africa.

    2. No, we are the ho in his analogy. We (the audience) were reaching the end of our mileage with Chappelle, so he left us for a while, and now that he has returned we fall all over ourselves for him “fixing” the problem (of his absence) even though he is the one who created the problem (by leaving us abruptly). He exercised his power over us, and in doing so extended our “mileage” for finding him to be the funniest man alive.

      1. That’s exactly how I felt. I mean I bought Dave Chappelle DVDs in a time where no one bought them. I watched them over and over. Could he have been pimped out by Comedy Central, sure? But who watched Comedy Central before Chappelle? He was worth more than money could buy. They called him crazy for turning down the money. But he didnt want to be a slave to the money either. Not to mention, chappelle left at the top as his Mentors recommended,in his previous standup released in 2017. The analogy could go both ways…

    3. He was explained how the entertain industry/Hollywood is the pimp. There’s no doubt Chappelle Show was THEE hottest comedy going at the time so Dave was the bottom bitch. The one making the most money for them. Seems like he saw a setup coming and he got out before they could trap him into being a puppet.

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?