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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.
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
- 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?
- 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.”
“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. “
“Never choose to be a hero because heroes die uncomfortable deaths.”
A Conversation with Dave Chappelle
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)
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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