June 6, 2020
8:46 is a performance special by comedian Dave Chappelle about violence against African Americans. The special was released via YouTube on June 12, 2020. The performance is not a traditional stand-up comedy special, as it was recorded at a private outdoor venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio and features long stretches without humor.
The event was entitled 8:46 in reference to the eight minutes and 46 seconds that police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd, a black man, murdering him, and Chappelle’s time of birth on his birth certificate, being born at 8:46 AM.
Chappelle touches on Floyd’s death and subsequent protests, discusses the history of violence against African-Americans in the United States and their attempts to push back, and takes aim at conservative pundits Laura Ingraham and Candace Owens for their policing of the black community
[car pulls up]
Thank you! Thank you very much!
I hope you all can hear me.
Will you guys shut the fuck up!
Just kidding! That’s my family in the back, that’s why I did that.
Anyway, this is weird. And less than ideal circumstances to do a show. But the only way to figure out if this shit will actually work, well is to do the goddamn show.
So, thank you all for coming.
I want to shout out all the young people who have had the courage to go out and do all this amazing work, protesting. [applause]
I am very proud of you.
You kids are excellent drivers. I am comfortable in the back seat of the car.
So carry on, young ones.
It’s hard to figure out what to say about George Floyd. So I’m not going to say it yet.
I will say something.
[sigh] Are you guys having a good time, or is this weird?
I gotta tell you, this is actually, like, the first concert in North America since all this shit happened, so, like it or not, it’s history. It’s going to be in the books.
At least we tried.
There’s other comedians that would– Well this is not the first show but the other shows were like in drive-ins and if people liked the n*gga’s jokes they’d honk the horn.
And that didn’t sound like any fun at all, did it?
So what’s you guys? You a black and white friend hanging out, do you guys know each other?
Whew! It’s going to be a quiet ride home, isn’t it? No, just kidding!
I’m just kidding, enjoy your riots.
I’m just kidding.
They’re not really even riots. You notice that?
[sighs] This is a fucking weird time.
In like 1993, I’m not sure what year it was, but I was in LA. I had smoked a joint and I was watching a movie, Apocalypse Now. It was like just after 4:00 in the morning. And what later would become the known Northridge earthquake happened. It felt like it started in my apartment.
You know? I’m from east of the Mississippi. On this side we don’t know what earthquakes are about. I got to tell you something, man [burps]
Excuse me, burping.
This shit was terrifying. It was absolutely terrifying.
Uh, a lot of things went through my mind, I was like, not naked, but you know what I mean, just chilling in my boxers. Uh, I put my clothes on, I found my weed. And some, a pipe, and a lighter and some money, and my keys, all these things, while the earthquake is happening, while I’m experiencing what an earthquake is for the first time, and I was certain that I might very possibly die. As a matter of fact, I remember I made a point not to scream, just in case I lived, I wouldn’t have to remember myself being vocally terrified. But I forgave myself for being terrified. That earthquake couldn’t have been more than 35 seconds. This man kneeled on a man’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds! Can you imagine that!? This kid thought he was going to die. He knew he was going to die. He called for his mother. He called for his dead mother. I’ve only seen that once before in my life, my father, on his deathbed, called for his grandmother. When I watched that tape I understood this man knew he was going to die. People watched it, people filmed it, and for some reason, that I still don’t understand, all these fucking police had their hands in their pockets.
Who. Are. You. Talking. To!
What are you signifying? That you can kneel on a man’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds and feel like you wouldn’t get the wrath of God. That’s what is happening right now.
It’s not for a single cop, it’s for all of it. Fucking all of it. I don’t mean to get heavy, but.
We gotta say something.
He told the police he couldn’t breathe.
One of the hardest parts of the tape to listen to.
He said, “Please!”
I can’t tell you, as a man, watching another man go through something like that, what it makes you feel like. I didn’t watch the tape for a week. I didn’t watch it. I knew. I saw a still picture, I said, I don’t want to see this, because I can’t unsee it. But when I finally watched it, I understood, nobody’s going home. Anyone who sees this, well they’re going to be furious.
So the other night, I’m in my little clubhouse. And I’m watching Don Lemon, that hotbed of reality.
He says, “Where are all these celebrities? Why aren’t you talking?”
This n*gga said everybody. I was screaming at the TV: I DARE YOU SAY ME, N*GGA!
I dare you!
Has anyone ever listened to me do comedy?
Have I not ever said anything about these things before?
So, now, all the sudden, this n*gga expects me to step in front of the streets and talk over the work these people are doing? As a celebrity? Answer me, do you want to see a celebrity right now? Do we give a fuck what Ja Rule thinks? Does it matter about celebrity? No! This is the streets talking for themselves. They don’t need me right now!
I kept my mouth shut.
And I’ll still keep my mouth shut.
But don’t think that my silence is complicit of all the shit these n*ggas are saying. Trying to get everyone to sing these fucking songs. I know all these songs.
I was raised on these songs.
Why would anyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds? I can’t get that number out of my head because it was my time of birth on my birth certificate. I was born at 8:46 in the morning. And they killed this n*gga. And eight minutes and forty-six seconds.
I watched everything everybody says. I see Candace Owens trying to convince white America, don’t worry about it, he’s a criminal anyway!
I don’t give a fuck what this n*gga did. I don’t care what this n*gga did. I don’t care if he personally kicked Candace Owens in her stanky pussy. I don’t know if it stinks but I imagine it does.
And if I ever find out I’ll let you know for sure. I’ll tell like Azealia Banks, I’ll tell.
I’m the worst.
But I know why. I figured out why they want to hear it from me, and it’s serious.
The only reason people want to hear from people like me is because you trust me.
You don’t expect me to think perfect. But I don’t lie to you. I’m just a guy. And I don’t lie to you. And every institution, every institution that we trust lies to us.
How come they never talk about Chris Dorner?
That’s a story about a man who believed he did everything right.
Do you know who Chris Dorner is?
Chris Dorner, if you remember, was an African American police officer in the LA PD.
He was executing a warrant with his partner. Who was a white woman.
And white women, I support you, but boy if you all don’t shut the fuck up.
During the process of executing this warrant, this white woman did what Chris Dorner thought was excessive force. I don’t know what she did. She kicked the mother fucker that was handcuffed, or hit a guy that was handcuffed, or something. Chris Dorner, the Black police officer that watched this white woman do this, reported this to his superior. Made a formal complaint. And was subsequently fired from the LA PD.
He went through the system.
He took every legal avenue he believed he had to get reinstated.
And he was not reinstated.
And when his last appeal was finished, this motherfucker… some wild shit.
Wrote a manifesto, you know where this is going.
And in that manifesto, he called me a genius.
Me. Dave Chappelle.
Not just me, but me.
He’s a Kevin Hart fan too.
But he called me a genius. And he told Bradley Cooper who is a friend of mine, don’t do any more Hangovers, n*gga, that’s enough. That’s what he said.
And he told his story. Chris Dorner told his story, how he did everything right when he was in the military, and subsequently, this was before any of this shit happened, and then he said, which was the wildest thing, he said I’m going to wage asymmetrical war on the LA police department and their families. Well, that’s an ominous thing to say.
And he did it.
This motherfucker, ambushed two police officers who just sitting in their squad car. Murdered them. He went to another police officer’s house and killed his daughter.
Boy, it was terrifying.
And this motherfucker was on the run. He was doing it. I was supposed to do the GRAMMYs. I was supposed to present at the GRAMMYs that week, and a guy from the LA PD called me and said, “Mr. Chappelle we understand you’re coming to Los Angeles, and I don’t know if you know, but there is a lunatic on the streets who is killing police officers and we would like to know if we can pick you up at the airport? We are extending this courtesy to everyone he mentioned in his manifesto. And I told the police, I’m fine. I read the manifesto, he likes me.
Is there anything I can do for you, n*gga? Because I get very worried!
They found him.
Big Bear. He was hiding in a cabin. When they figured out where this n*gga was, no less than 400 police officers showed up and answered the call. And boy let me tell you something, they swiss-cheesed this n*gga. He is dead as dead could be. He is done.
And you know why 400 cops showed up? Because one of their own was murdered.
So how the fuck can’t they understand what’s going on in these streets?
We saw ourselves like you see yourself.
They weren’t the only one.
LeBron James once said something about racism and Laura Ingraham, which, I will say publicly anywhere, any time, is a cunt.
Tell ’em I said it.
Told one of Ohio’s greatest residents ever: “Shut up and dribble.”
I’ll tell you something about LeBron.
This n*gga was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was 17 years old, and exceeded every expectation that they had for him. This business is treacherous. This is a good guy LeBron, he’s a family man, and this, that and the other. He didn’t let anyone down. He didn’t let anyone down. Came back to Ohio, won us a championship, and then was like, I’m going to move to LA, and everyone in Ohio was like, n*gga we understand.
He’s a good man, LaBron James. The bitch told my friend to shut up and dribble. My friend is the best at something, and this bitch is not the best at anything. Just a regular-ass white bitch with a platform. And I use the word bitch all the time because this is “black.”
Watch one shooting after another: Eric Garner in New York, the first guy that told the police, “I can’t breathe.” Eric Garner was selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. When my kid was born, my first son, my wife lived in Staten Island, it’s an awful place. She knows it, everyone who’s ever been there knows it. Yuck, to Staten Island.
And my black ass would go there, and I got a lot of fans there, and friends there, but this is a very terrible place. Fuck everybody in Staten Island except the Wu Tang Clan.
Got murdered by one police officer while five of his fellow officers watched him do it.
Not one of them said, “Frank, Frank take it easy.” None of that shit. Because they were being recorded. Because they were afraid if I correct my fellow officer on this camera it’s going to open us up for some kind of liability. And the guy killed the person that they were, uh, what do you call it? Apprehending? The guy was selling loose cigarettes.
There goes Eric Garner.
[sigh] And then we have one after the other.
Trayvon Martin gets murdered by just a regular n*gga that… George Zimmerman is nobody.
George Zimmerman is an awful human being. He threatened Beyonce’s life, he threatened Jay-Z’s life, he signed Skittle bags because Trayvon Martin had Skittles on him when he was murdered by George Zimmerman. Boy, how do we feel?
How do we feel right now? This kid was 15 years old being followed by a grown man with a gun and whooped his monkey ass. He beat the shit out of George Zimmerman and George Zimmerman murdered him, I’m very upset. This kid looked eerily like the president, he looked like my own children. I hate George Zimmerman. As an idea. Not as a guy, I’ve never met him. I’m sure I would though.
Hit the streets. You got them marching. Dylann Roof. Dylann Roof killed eight people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. He prayed with them first, and then he shot them at point-blank range.
It goes on and on. And in one weekend a law abiding citizen right here in Beaver Creek is murdered. The cop that murdered John Crawford pulled me over the night before and let me off with a warning. And the next day, kills a kid. He says, drop the weapon, bang bang bang.
This kid didn’t even have enough time to register that he was the one being spoken to.
This is our home town. It happened right here. I was very proud to be your neighbor, I love the way you guys hit those streets. We said his name and we tried to make sure everyone remembered him but he got lost in the sauce. And this guy John Crawford was a saint. He was there buying shit so him and his kids could make s’mores.
Michael Brown got shot the same week, and Michael Brown became the story.
And then, am I boring you?
Well then, right back in Minneapolis was Philando Castile. Law abiding citizen, was a registered gun carrier, was trying to show police the paperwork for his registered weapon and was murdered in front of his wife and his child and then right in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, just two days later it happens again. And what do you think is going to happen? Three days later nine cops get murdered in Dallas at a Black Lives Matter rally.
Wow, I’ll never forget it. It was the first time I ever thought, I gotta get my family the fuck out of this place. These n*ggas will never understand. I’m tired of explaining to these people something that’s so goddamn obvious.
The guy that killed those nine cops, just like Chris Dorner before him, was from our military.
And then right after he did it, another four cops were shot dead in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Again, a Black man, that served in our military. What are they doing? Why would our guys do that?
Black people from the military? Because they believe, just like they did when they were joining the fucking military, that they were fighting acts of terror.
These are our people. These are our countrymen.
If I were white, and saw one of these men get murdered and I was in the NRA why wouldn’t I stand up for them. A card carrying legal gun owner that gets murdered in cold blood?
Because he’s Black.
That’s why they don’t give a fuck.
There’s only one time the NRA ever supported an assault weapon ban.
You know when it was? It was when the Black Panthers stormed the state capital with assault rifles in California.
Candace Owens, that rotten bitch.
She’s the worst. I can’t think of a worse way to make money.
The most articulate idiot I’ve ever seen in my fucking life. She’s so articulate she’ll tell you how fucking stupid she is precisely.
And she told George Floyd’s wrap record…
On the internet. “Oh, he was the this, he did that, and he was, he’s a drug addict. And he was not a hero. And why does the Black community make him a hero? Why do you chose him as a hero?” We didn’t chose him, you did! They killed him, and that wasn’t right, so he’s the guy.
We’re not desperate for heroes in the Black community. Any n*gga that survives this nightmare is my goddamn hero.
This is not funny at all.
I got some pussy jokes too, I could do, but I just really just…
Slavery is a really wild concept.
Uh, it’s some weird shit.
The night that those nine police officers were killed felt like the end of the world.
The only reason it wasn’t the end of the world, in my opinion, was because at the very same time that was happening, Kobe Bryant was playing his last game as an LA Laker. And as scary as all that shit was, I kept flipping back to see if Kobe would drop sixty, and he did. Oh, and he did.
And vaguely in the back of my mind I remember the idiot ass bitch telling somebody to shut up and dribble, and I watched this n*gga dribbling and saving this goddamn country from itself. I loved Kobe Bryant. He died the night, the day I won a GRAMMY, he died.
That’s why I didn’t show up at the GRAMMYs. Because Kobe died. They had both of his fucking jersey numbers hanging up. 8, 24. Well, that’s my birthday.
I cried like a baby.
So, here’s what I said on Saturday Night Live that I got completely wrong:
At the end of my set I talked about how few Black people were invited to the White House.
How Frederick Douglass was the first. And that it didn’t happen again until Roosevelt.
But that was wrong. It happened one other time before that. Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow Wilson received delegation of African Americans at the White House. They were from South Carolina. There was a man who was lynched for a $30 dispute at a grain elevator and they killed him because the n*gga was rich, and they hated him for being more welathy then they were, and they murdered him. And the people in South Carolina said, fuck that, and they went via the governor of South Carolina, it was a Black delegation that was facilitated to meet with Woodrow Wilson. That delegation was lead by the AME Bishop William David Chappelle.
That’s where I get my name. It was my great- grandfather, who was a slave when he was born.
These things are not old. This is not a long time ago, it’s today. It’s today.
That man’s wife was the woman that my father called on on his deathbed. And they were slaves.
Are you out of your fucking mind if you can’t see that? And these n*ggas say why isn’t David Chappelle saying anything? Because David Chappelle understands what the fuck he is seeing. And these streets will speak for themselves weather I’m alive or dead.
I trust you guys.
I love you guys.
We’ll keep this space open.
This is the last stronghold for civil discourse. After this shit it’s just rat-a-tat-tata-tat-ta-tat-tat-TAT!
I love you very much, thank you for being here. Goodnight.
♫ Nobody Speak by DJ Shadow feat. Run the Jewels ♫