At the very end of 2017, stand-up comedian and actor Dave Chappelle released two brand new Netflix specials.
Charlie Sheen once said he laughed so hard watching Chapelle’s Show, he ruptured his hernia, and Kevin Hart – himself one of the highest grossing comedians in history- has credited Chappelle with being the greatest stand-up comedian to have ever lived.
Less than a minute into Chappelle’s special Equanimity, it’s not difficult to see why he is considered a master of his craft.
His pace is enthralling, slowly pulling us into stories, ensuring that the audience – at home, and right in front of him – are always right in the palm of his hand.
Chappelle explores complex themes of race, in the way only a black comedian can, before moving on to one of the biggest debates of the modern moment; political correctness.
“Everything you say upsets somebody,” he reflects, before telling a number of stories where he sat at the bottom of the pile-on. Chappelle has been widely criticised for his comments on politics, race and trans issues, and he explains that he is poking fun at the dialogue that surrounds such subjects, rather than the individuals themselves.
LISTEN: I explain why David Chappelle’s Netflix special Equanimity is so bloody brilliant. Post continues below.
He moves on to voting, and the 2017 victory of President Donald Trump.
His commentary on Trump’s first year as President is as painfully true as it is unspeakably funny, and likely the highlight of his set.
Chappelle does what so few comedians are able to do, and that’s to have his audience clutching at their stomachs, tears streaming down their faces in uncontrollable laughter, while also making them think. He reminds us of the important place comedy holds at a time when our crises feel so overwhelming.
You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here.
Undoubtedly, Equanimity is punctuated by moments where the audience thinks to themselves “You can’t say that…” but, it would seem, that is precisely the point.
If you’re finding the news cycle depressing and crippling, then Equanimity offers the silver lining we are in desperate need of.
Because, historically, it is in times of great fear and conflict, that gives way to the best and most powerful comedy.
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