Comedic legend Dave Chappelle closed out 2023 with his latest comedy special for streaming giant Netflix in The Dreamer. Filmed this past October during the Chocolate City native four-night residency at the Lincoln Theater, The Dreamer finds Chappelle covering various topics. The comedy legend's latest Netflix special begins with a quote from Henry David Thoreau and transitions to Radiohead's "Daydreaming" before Dave Chappelle takes the stage to thunderous applause.
Dave begins his set by telling a story of the first time he met fellow comedic legend Jim Carrey in 1999. At the time, Carey was preparing to play Andy Kauffman in Man on The Moon (a film that should have gotten him an Oscar Nod), and he was deep into method acting. As only he can, Dave skillfully ties the bit into his feelings toward the transgender community. The bits don't stop there as Dave aims at everyone, but the fashion in which he does it is just someone speaking his truth.
The remainder of the special sees Dave speaking on his friendship with Chris Rock, the Oscar slap, and his moment of being attacked onstage in 2022 at a show at the Hollywood Bowl. While it's anyone's right to take offense, I wasn't put off by Dave's latest special. Cassandra King once said, "Sometimes we laugh to keep from crying, but the important thing is to laugh every chance we get." Who knows how the world's current state affects Dave? Making people laugh is his way of dealing with it.
I initially tried to get tickets to the show. However, they sold out in record time. That said, when one thinks about the size of Chapelle's celebrity, we can't help but wonder why he didn't try for a bigger venue in the Nation's capital. Chappelle gives the answer in the special, where he reveals it was where he filmed his first special, Killin' Them Softy, over two decades ago. Chappelle uses the moment to set up a story towards the end of the special, where he talks about how he didn't sell out during that taping and was passing out tickets on the street.
When you look at all that Mr. Chappelle has accomplished, it's clear that he is currently in the "Thriller" phase of his career, meaning for some, he may never reach the heights of his prime, but he gives you a good product. However, watching this man grow from the role of A-Choo in Robin Hood Men In Tights to where he is now has been inspiring. We all have dreams of making it, and Chappelle is living his.
Final Grade: B+
The Dreamer is available to stream on Netflix now.