Dave Chappelle: Equanimity (2017) – Transcript

In "Dave Chappelle: Equanimity," the comedian revels in taking on culture and class, politics and the specter of getting old.
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity (2017)

“Equanimity” was shot in Washington, D.C., and it covers the material that Chappelle developed in his monthlong stint at Radio City Music Hall in 2017.

[“Killing Me Softly with His Song” playing]

[woman vocalizes]

♪ I heard he sang a good song ♪
♪ I heard he had a style ♪

[camera shutter clicks]

♪ And so I came to see him To listen for a while ♪

[audience cheers]

♪ And there he was This young boy ♪
♪ A stranger to my eyes ♪
♪ Strumming my pain With his fingers ♪
♪ Singing my life with his words ♪
♪ Killing me softly with his song ♪

[Dave Chappelle] I came back here where I started because I will shoot my final Netflix special tonight. [audience cheering] That’s right. And after this shit… it’s time to make America wait again. I’ve done too well. You know, if you black in show business and do too well, it’s scary. You got to get the fuck out of the casino while the getting’s good, while you’re still winning. If you don’t walk away from the table, that’s how n i g g a s get Kevin Harted. You already know. That’s my man. I’m just saying, if he got a sex tape out… well, it’s just a matter of time for me. But you know why I be thinking sometimes I wanna stop doing comedy, and you know… I don’t wanna sound like a braggart saying this, but the real, like, reason I wanna stop is because I’m too goddamn good at it. I’m dope, n i g g a, like– I’m not even– I’m not even exaggerating. It’s not exciting. Every night before I come out on stage, I’ll be backstage like, “I’m sure this is gonna go well.” And it always does.

I’m so good at writing jokes… And this is not even an exaggeration. I actually write jokes backwards. I will write a punch line with no particular setup in mind. I just put it on a scrap of paper, and I’ll throw that scrap of paper in my fishbowl. I have a fishbowl in my house filled with random punch lines. And every once in a while, I’ll shake the bowl and I’ll dig in there and pull one out, and see if I can make that shit work. And I picked one for this special. It’s not an easy punch line to pull off. Are you ready? [audience] Yeah. Here it goes. The punch line is, “So I kicked her in the pussy.” I haven’t finished the joke yet. I just know whatever happens in the beginning of the joke, at the end of the joke, for some reason, I’m gonna kick somebody in the pussy, and it’s going to be hilarious. You know what’s weird? I’ve always been this talented. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t.

You know, when I was growing up, I was probably about eight years old, and at the time, we were living in Silver Spring. Yeah. Yes. Common misconception about me and DC, a lot of people think I’m from the ‘hood’. That’s not true. But I never bothered to correct anybody… because I wanted the streets to embrace me. As a matter of fact, I kept it up as a ruse. Like sometimes I’ll hang out with rappers like Nas and them, and these motherfuckers start talking about the projects. “Yo, it was wild in the PJs, yo.” And I’ll be like, “Word, n i g g a, word.” But I don’t know. I have no idea. My parents did just well enough so that I could grow up poor around white people. To be honest, when Nas and them talk about the projects, n i g g a, I used to get jealous. Because it sounded fun. Everybody in the projects was poor, and that’s fair. But if you were poor in Silver Spring, n i g g a, it felt like it was only happening to you. Nas does not know the pain… of that first sleepover at a white friend’s house. When you come back home on Sunday and just look at your parents like… “Y’all need to step your game up. Everything at Timmy’s house works.” Remember the first time you saw that? The cold winter and to be at a white friend’s house and see them motherfuckers in their living room without their coats on?

Timmy was one of my first white friends, like, in my life, man. Good dude, too. He moved to Silver Spring from Utah of all places. I guess his family was affiliated with that Mormon church they got down there. Me and him used to hang out. One day, I was at his house, just hanging out, and Timmy says, “Dave, why don’t you stay for dinner tonight?” I said, “Oh, man, I’d love to, but I can’t.” If I’m not home before dark, my mother will kill me.” That was a lie. My mother had several jobs. I hadn’t seen her in three or four days. And the only reason I lied to Timmy was because at that point in my life, it was my experience that white dinner wasn’t delicious. I’d rather go home and fry some bologna or some shit like that. But then old Timmy threw me a curveball I wasn’t expecting. He said, “Oh, it’s too bad you can’t stay, Dave, ’cause… Mama made Stove Top stuffing.” I said, “What the fuck? Stove Top? Hold on, n i g g a. Let me make some phone calls real quick.” I had seen that commercial so many times, I had dreamt of getting my hands on some of that Stove Top stuffing. Finally I met a motherfucker that actually had a box of Stove Top in the house. I couldn’t miss this opportunity, so I pretended to call my mother. Then I came back and I said, “Timmy. Timmy, you’re not gonna believe this. Great news. Mom said I can stay.” He said, “Fantastic.” He said, “Why don’t you come with me, and we’ll help set the table, and then we can say the blessing?” I had no interest in setting this motherfucker’s table or saying these crazy-ass Mormon prayers. I just wanted the goddamn stuffing. I told Timmy, “You know what? I’d love to help, but let me go wash my hands first.” My plan was simple. Wash my hands slowly, and by the time I’m done, the table will be set, the blessing will be said, and all that there will be left to do is eat. Went to the bathroom. I wash my hands very slowly. I must have been in there for about ten minutes. And suddenly… one of his mothers came to the door. She was like, “Hi. David, right?” I said, “Yes, ma’am.” She said, “Timmy tells me that you’re planning on staying for dinner.” I said, “I hope that’s not a problem, ma’am.” She says, “No, it’s no problem. We’d love to have you. It’s just that we weren’t expecting company. And I’m afraid… there’s not enough Stove Top stuffing… for everybody.” So I kicked her in the pussy.

Ladies and gentlemen… I told you I’m dope, n i g g a. I told you that I was gonna say it, and you still didn’t see it coming. And that’s why I make the big bucks. Oh, my God. But there’s a more important reason that I would stop doing comedy right now. And this reason is the real reason that’s been percolating, and it really is the crowd. Not you. I’m talking about the crowd on the big stage. It’s too hard to entertain a country whose ears are so brittle. Motherfuckers are so sensitive, the whole country has turned into bitch-ass n i g g a s. Everything you say upsets somebody. You know, I can remember when it all started. It was when I was doing Chappelle’s Show. When I was doing Chappelle’s Show… I used to do the show, and then on the weekends, I’d do concerts and shit like that. So, I’m doing a concert, and there was a couple in the front row. Beautiful couple. The wife… The wife was obviously Asian. You could see it in her face. The husband… this motherfucker was mysterious, to say the least. Couldn’t quite pinpoint where he was from. Caramel-colored fella, very nice hair, but he could have been from anywhere. Bangladesh, Mexico. I can’t guess with a n i g g a like this. All I knew for sure about this guy… was that his wife was a bitch. I could see that in her face, too. No, he was laughing and having a good time, and she was scowling at me at a goddamn comedy show. I couldn’t figure it out. And then I realized at some point that she was pregnant, and I was smoking on stage. I said, “Oh, my God. That’s probably why she’s mad.” So I started to put my cigarette out, but then she hit me with one of them fake non-smoker coughs. So I just kept smoking. I thought to myself, “Bitch, that baby will be fine. Relax.” Then I tried to break the tension. I just asked her– This is all I said. I go, “Hey, where are you guys from?” And I could tell that she was on to me. Very condescendingly, she says, “I’m from California. If you’re asking my ethnicity… I am Chinese.” And her husband was just cool about the shit. He was like, “I’m Mexican, bro.” I said, “Well, I’m sorry if I offended you by asking, but you’re very beautiful couple. And, miss, there’s no question that you’re gonna give birth to the hardest-working baby this world has ever seen.” It’s not a bad joke. She got very upset. She got up to leave immediately. She didn’t just leave. She had to take one last dig at me on the way out. “I will never buy one of your fucking DVDs again, Dave Chappelle.” I said, “Ma’am, with all due respect… Chinese people don’t buy DVDs.” And the crowd went crazy. We were all laughing and having a good time. I didn’t even think anything of it. And then, just three days later, this lady sends a fucking letter to my promoter telling him not to book me for shows anymore because I was quote “racist.” Huh? And… And I’m quoting her, “insensitive to the nature of my interracial marriage.” I was like, “Word, bitch, I was?” If she had just done a little bit of research… She would know that I myself am in an interracial marriage. That’s right. In fact, my wife is Asian, too. Surprise, bitch. I’ll see you on Thanksgiving. But my wife’s not Chinese. She’s Filipino. That’s right. And our kids look Puerto Rican somehow, so there you go. I don’t give a fuck about interracial marriage. In fact, you know what? My mother is half white. -A lot of people don’t know that. -[woman screams] All right, you a little too excited, but okay. A lot of people don’t believe me when I say that, but it’s true. You can’t tell looking at me. But if I grew my hair out… you would think you was at a fucking Katt Williams concert. My shit is… My shit is beautiful.

But motherfuckers are just taking it too far. I don’t know why or how everybody got this goddamn sensitive. You know who hates me the most? The transgender community. Yo, yeah, these motherfuck– I mean, I didn’t realize how bad it was. These motherfuckers was really mad about that last Netflix special. It’s tough, man. I don’t know what to do about it ’cause… ‘Cause I like them. Always have. Never had a problem with them. You know. Just fucking around. A matter fact, I think I make fun of everybody. I mean, as a group of people, they have to admit that… it’s kind of fucking hilarious, man. I’m sorry, bro. It’s like… I’ve never seen somebody in such a hilarious predicament not have a sense of humor about it. They’re born feeling like they’re something other than they’re born as, and that’s… That’s kind of funny. I mean, it’s funny if it’s not happening to you. It’s like that white black bitch that’s in the news all the time. Rachel Dolezal. She always says that. She– She– She was– She’s a white woman, but then she dressed up like a n i g g a and… shot her way up to the very top of blackness. And I always wanted to meet her just so I can understand. I just wanted to have dinner with her, so I can just look in her eyes… and call her a n i g g a to her face. What the fuck is that bitch talking about? “I identify as black.” That is trans-talk, lady. Stop biting. Stop biting. There’s a big difference between her and a trans. The difference between her and a trans is I believe transgenders. I don’t understand them either, but I know they mean what they say. Them n i g g a s cut they dicks off. That’s all the proof I need. Never seen somebody just throw their dick away. Don’t need it. I don’t understand, but I believe you, and I support your decision, motherfucker. But how far is Rachel willing to go? Hmm? What is Rachel willing to do so that we blacks can believe that she believes she’s actually one of us? Bitch, are you willing to put a lien on your house? So that you can invest in a mix tape that probably won’t work out. She didn’t even change her name. Didn’t even change her name. Her name is Rachel. I can’t believe in that name. You want my support , you gonna have to change your name to the blackest shit I’ve ever heard. Bitch, you gonna have to change your name to Draymond Green. I don’t know a blacker name than that. That shit is black on paper. If you type “Draymond Green” in the Airbnb… that shit will log off automatic.

People get mad, bro. People get mad about everything I say. I was doing a show. I was in Portland, Oregon. And I was checked in a hotel under the name Charles Edward Cheese. I came back to my room late at night… and there was a note. It was like a letter on my desk. It was addressed to “Mr. Cheese.” So, obviously, I’m gonna assume that whoever wrote this letter must be an intimate friend. This is not some kind of name that a person would just guess. But then I open the letter, and it turns out I don’t know this person at all. It’s a fan letter. I’m not even used to the idea that I have fans, but I’m grateful for it. And… And even though I’m grateful for fans, I… I don’t read those letters. Be nice if I did, but realistically, it’s like, “What am I, Santa Claus, n i g g a? I don’t have time for this. Got shit I wanna do. I’m trying to chill.” Read all these dreams and wishes from strangers. But then– But I read it. I’d already opened it, so I just read the whole letter. And you know what, man? Whoever wrote this letter truly loves me. I mean, they were really fucking nice in the letter. And then they described to me what it was like to come to the show. How excited they were and how much fun they were having. And then they said… that when I got to my jokes about transgenders… that they were quote, “devastated.” ‘Cause turns out that whoever wrote the letter was transgender.

I’m gonna be real for a second. As a policy, you gotta understand, I never feel bad about anything I say up here. And I would never admit this to you if I hadn’t locked your phones up. But it was the weirdest thing, like when I read this letter… the shit made me feel bad. I didn’t feel bad about what I said, you understand. I felt bad that I made somebody else feel bad. To be honest, I don’t even know what I said that upset that person. I have so many transgender jokes. [laughs] But I feel like… I feel like it was probably… this joke I’m about to tell you right now. Sorry. And it’s not even that bad of a joke. It’s a true joke. I mean, it’s not true, but I– I had read in the paper that Caitlyn Jenner was contemplating posing nude in an upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated. And I know it’s not politically correct to say these things, so I just figured, “”Fuck it, I’ll say it for everybody else. Yuck.” You know, sometimes, I just want to read some stats. I don’t know why you gonna cram some man pussy in the middle of the sports page lines. I just didn’t think that was the place for it. But I wasn’t saying anything like Caitlyn Jenner’s a bad person. I’m not mad at her. I’m not even mad at Sports Illustrated. If I’m mad at somebody… I’m probably just mad at myself. You understand? ‘Cause deep down, I know that I am not strong enough… to not look at those pictures. And I don’t think I’m ready to see what she’s trying to show. So, Caitlyn… goddamn it, if you go through with this thing… bitch, you better go hard or go home. I want you to go all the way. Hustler style. Do you know what Hustler style means, miss? That means spread the lips… I hope she spreads the lips and there’s an itty-bitty dick inside. The show is behind the curtains.

I don’t know what I said that upset that person. But I’m gonna tell you something. When I read that letter… in the moments after I read it, I did something that many black men in America do not have the time or the money to do. I thought about how I felt. Asked myself a very basic question that I don’t think I ever directly contemplated. I said, “Man, Dave, if you’re writing all these jokes, do you have a problem with transgender people?” And the answer is absolutely not. The fuck you guys think I am? I don’t understand all the choices that people make. But I do understand that life is hard, and that those types of choices do not disqualify you from a life with dignity and happiness and safety in it. But if I’m honest… my problem has never been with transgender people. My problem has always been with the dialogue about transgender people. I just feel like these things should not be discussed in front of the blacks. It’s fucking insulting, all this talk about how these people feel inside. Since when has America given a fuck how any of us feel inside? And I cannot shake this awful suspicion that the only reason everybody is talking about transgenders is because white men want to do it. That’s right. I just said that. If it was just women that felt that way or black dudes and Mexican dudes being like, “Hey, ya’ll, we feel like girls inside.” They’d be like, “Shut up, n i g g e r. No one asked you how you felt. Come on, everybody, we have strawberries to pick.” It reeks of white privilege. You never asked yourself why it was easier for Bruce Jenner to change his gender than it was for Cassius Clay to change his fucking name?

And if I were to be brutally honest… [man] Go, Dave. …the only reason I ever have been mad at the transgender community, is because I was at a club in LA and danced with one of these n i g g a s for six songs straight. I had no idea. Then the lights came up and I saw them knuckles. I said, “Oh, no!” And everybody was laughing at me. WorldStar. I said, “Why didn’t you say anything?” Then I heard that sultry voice. “I didn’t say anything, Dave Chappelle, because I was having a wonderful time. And I wasn’t sure how you’d feel about it.” I said, “You knew how I’d feel.” And she said, “I’m going home. I don’t want any trouble from you.” I said, “Home? It’s only two songs left. I mean, we might as well… finish the night.” And we ended up having breakfast together. Oh, grow up. That doesn’t make me gay. I just titty-fuck them. Those titties are as real as any titties in LA. It was two o’clock in the morning. I was just borrowing a little friction from a stranger. Whoops! It’s the madness of youth. It’s the types of mistakes a man makes when he’s young. I wouldn’t even know that it’s necessarily a mistake. It was a wild night out. But I don’t do it like that anymore.

I’m old. I’m 44 now. Right. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever started to physically feel my age. You can– It’s tough, man. You know how I know I’m getting old? This is embarrassing, but… I was in my hotel room. I was– I’m not gonna lie, I was jerking off. And I was really sweating it out. And this is when I knew I was old. I just gave up in the middle like nothing even happened. I don’t like looking at my dick anymore. My dick looks distinguished. It’s old. An old-looking dick. It’s got salt-and-pepper hair all around it. My dick looks like Morgan Freeman in the ’90s. Without the dots. My dick narrates, “Dave pulled me out and started jerking me around. Jerking me around. But not with the same vigor as when he was young. He and I both knew nothing was coming out.”

I see my age in my children. I came home from the road, this is not long ago. I’d been gone for– If you picture, I was gone for weeks and weeks, and when I came back, nobody was home. Not one person in my family thought that maybe I’d like to see them when I got back. They knew when I was coming back, but they just weren’t… They just weren’t home. And that shit was a wake-up call. You know, like, when my kids were little, and the tour bus would pull up to the house, these motherfuckers would spill out. “Dad is home. Hooray!” And they’d hug me and kiss me. And then, as the years went on, they’d get less interested. “Hey, everybody, look, it’s Mr. Promises back from the road.” But an empty house, that’s… That’s some cold shit. I went into my oldest son’s room. I was like, “Hello? Hello?” He was gone. I’d never done this to him before, but for some reason, I just did it. I just… I just looked through his shit. Just to see who this motherfucker was becoming. I found these notebooks, and I started going through the notebooks, and it was all this wonderful poetry in them. It was his handwriting. I didn’t even know this n i g g a wrote poems. Then I look through his drawers, and I open up his middle drawer… and I found this rolling paper. And I looked down at them papers, like, “Oh… that’s where that poetry is coming from.” And that shit broke my heart. I mean, I smoke weed, but I mourned my son’s innocence. And I cried a little bit… and I took his papers upstairs in my room. Rolled some weed that I’d hid from the family. And I got really high. And then I got paranoid… so I put his papers back how I found them… so he wouldn’t know what I was up to. This n i g g a won’t even know that that happened till he sees this special. Yeah, n i g g a, I found your papers.

He’s a cold motherfucker. This kid is only 16 years old. Listen to what he did to me. This motherfucker calls me up… in the middle of the night. It was one o’clock in the morning. He goes, “Dad, don’t be mad.” I knew something was terribly wrong. I said, “What’s going on?” He said, “Listen, I’m fine. And don’t forget you told me to do this. I’m at a party, and my designated driver had too much to drink. Me and my friends need you to come pick us up.” I said, “Jesus Christ. It’s one o’clock in the morning, n i g g a. I am shitfaced.” But then I figured fuck, it’s better me than some kid. I might as well roll the dice and go pick my n i g g a up. I said, “All right, I’m coming to get you. Give me the address and I’ll be right there.” And then he gave me the address, and I was shocked. I said, “Son, you are not gonna believe this, but… I’m at the same party, n i g g a.”

They grow up fast, don’t they? Can I ask you a weird question? I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. You don’t have to answer it, and if it doesn’t go well, we’ll just edit it out anyway. Is it weird to be the only white people in a row? I mean, you can be honest. Does it feel strange? Are you worried at all? Give me your money, motherfucker. I’m just fucking with you. This guy’s got ice in his veins. He didn’t even buckle.

You know, like many black men my age, the first time I voted was eight years ago. That’s right. I saw Obama on TBS, said, “I’m voting for this n i g g a.” I remember the day I voted for Obama. I voted in Ohio. And my vote matters in Ohio. Ohio is a battleground state. But when I pulled up to the polls, all of the soldiers were in line. There were so many black people in that goddamn line, I didn’t even know it was the polls. I thought it was the check-cashing place. We were hugging each other , and old people were singing hymns and spirituals and shit. It was like the OJ verdict times ten or some shit. I’ve never seen black people that happy.

Eight years later, I’m pulling up to the polls again. This time, I’m driving a brand-new Porsche. Because the Obama years were very good to me. I was early voting… and when I parked my car, I figured out something that it would take the rest of the country another week to figure out. I understood that Donald Trump was gonna be our next president. Because in Ohio, unlike DC, you could see the results in the parking lot. All these goddamn pickup trucks and tractors and shit. And then I walked up, and I saw a long, long line… of dusty white people. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these were the poor whites. I must tell you, I’ve never had a problem with white people ever in my life, but full disclosure… the poor whites are my least favorites. We’ve got a lot of trouble out of them. And I’ve never seen so many of them up close. I looked them right in their coal-smeared faces. And to my surprise… you know what I didn’t see? I didn’t see one deplorable face in that group. Saw some angry faces and some determined faces, but they felt like decent folk. No, they did. In fact, I’m not even lying, and not to sound fucked up, but I felt sorry for them. I know the game there. I know that rich white people call poor white people trash. And the only reason I know that is because I made so much money last year, the rich whites told me they say it at a cocktail party. And I’m not with that shit. I stood with them in line, like all of us Americans are required to do in a democracy, nobody skips the line to vote, and I listened to them. I listened to them say naive poor white people things. “Man, Donald Trump’s gonna go to Washington, and he’s gonna fight for us.” I’m standing there thinking in my mind, “You dumb motherfucker. You are poor. He’s fighting for me.” And they all looked at me. They could tell who I was voting for, just as easily as I could tell who they were voting for. But do you guys know what we all had in common? Not one of us, not a single one of us, looked like we felt good about what we had to do in that booth. We were just doing our goddamn duty.

Yes, I voted for Hillary Clinton, of course I did. I voted for her because I liked what she said vastly better than I liked what he said. To be honest with you, at that point, that shit was like watching Darth Vader do the “I Have a Dream” speech. That bitch is mean as hell. She’d already Karate Kid swept Bernie Sanders legs from underneath him. Boy, it was hard voting for that shit. But it was the lesser of the evils. I know you were a Clinton supporter, miss. I am sorry to say like that. It didn’t feel bad voting for her, but it didn’t feel as good as it should’ve. She was gonna be our first woman president. They were gonna make coins out of this bitch. And somehow, she just missed the dunk. Of course she should’ve beat him. You know what voting for her felt like? It was bittersweet. It felt like I was lucky enough to eat Halle Berry’s pussy. And whilst I was doing so, she fucking farted in my face, man. Now you understand, I’d still do it. But, boy, I wish she didn’t fart in this great nation’s face.

I voted that day, and then that same day I flew to New York City. I had work. That night, I was in a comedy club in New York, and I said to an audience almost exactly what I just said to you. And I didn’t know that there was a journalist in the room. And this journalist wrote an article. The headline of the article said, “Dave Chappelle is an avid Donald Trump supporter.” Yeah. I had no idea the paper said that. You know how I found out? My wife called me from Ohio the next morning in a goddamn panic. “David. David, what the fuck… is going on in New York?” I said, “I’ve been good, but what have you heard?” My wife said, “The paper is saying that you’re a Donald Trump supporter.” I was like… [sighs] I said, “Don’t worry about that shit, baby. Nobody in their right mind would believe that.” And she said, “No, David, people believe it.” And then she started reading the comments to me. Oh, they were terrible. All these black people calling me all kinds of Uncle Toms and shit. I should tell you, this is a very serious allegation from one black to another. I was incensed. Uncle Tom? How am I Uncle Tom, n i g g a? You the one that reads the Observer.

Anyway, all this shit goes down. And Saturday night rolls around, and now Trump is the president, and I’m hosting Saturday Night Live. And I didn’t really prepare my monologue. I just kind of winged it. At the end of the monologue, I don’t even remember what I said. I said something like, “Fuck it. We’re historically disenfranchised, and we’re gonna give him–” Something about, “We’re gonna give him a chance if he gives us a chance.” I don’t know what I said, but whatever I said, I really wish I didn’t say that shit. It was not worth the trouble. Walking to the barbershop and all them black people be looking at me like, “Yo, Dave, what’s up with your boy?” Yo, n i g g a, yo! He’s not my boy. ‘Cause I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat, if you support him or not, any objective person is gonna have to admit that this motherfucker is having a terrible go of it. He really is. We’ve had presidents before that have done bad jobs, but this shit is worse than a bad job. It’s scary to watch. Holy shit. It’s like seeing a crack pipe in your Uber driver’s passenger seat. What the fuck is wrong with this guy? Yo, he is lunching, n i g g a.

I watched… I watched Donald Trump in a press conference. And this motherfucker had all the media gathered, and this n i g g a literally, literally asked the media to their face to stop finding shit out. I was like, “Yo. Yo, this motherfucker is bugging.” And then… I’m not even making this up. His lips started sweating. His lips. Have you ever seen a motherfucker’s lips sweat? What the fuck is wrong with this n i g g a’s lips? It’s like if you’re on a plane, right? You ever been on a plane… I get scared to fly. I do it all the time. I’ll be scared on there. And sometimes a plane will hit turbulence. And then I get nervous, but I always look at the flight attendant, and she looks calm, and it makes me feel calm. But if that bitch’s lips were sweating? It’s terrifying. Like, “Yo, n i g g a, why are your lips sweating? What do you know?” And then… I’m not making this up. This motherfucker grabbed the podium, he goes, “You don’t know how scary the things I read in my briefings are.” And I was like, “Holy shit, man. You ain’t supposed to tell us that, bro.” That’s bad leadership. As a parent, you think I’m gonna sit my kids down, “Hey, little man, come here real quick. I’m gonna holler at you for a second. Yo… I’m three months behind on the rent, n i g g a, and I am worried. Very worried. Go on, go to school and have a productive day. I was just thinking out loud. Getting some shit off my chest.” I’m like, “What the fuck are you doing, bro?”

This is bad, man. Jesus Christ. All this motherfucker’s ideas sound like “high people” ideas. He doesn’t think these things through before he tells us. He tells us what he’s thinking as soon as it occurs to him. That shit sounds nuts. “I’m gonna go to China, and I’m gonna get those jobs from China and bring them back here to America.” For what, n i g g a? So iPhones can be $9,000? Leave that job in China where it belongs. None of us want to work that hard. What the fuck is he thinking? I want to wear Nikes. I don’t want to make them shits. What the fuck are you doing? Stop trying to give us Chinese jobs. “I am going to bring back coal.” Coal?! I’m not even exaggerating… I have never in my life even seen a fucking lump of coal. I honestly don’t even know what coal is for. If you gonna have motherfuckers digging in the dirt looking for shit, find me some truffles, n i g g a.

That’s what I’m about. At least truffle prices are getting out of control. If it gets any worse, I’m gonna be back down to regular butter like everybody else. Terrible, terrible job. This motherfucker hit North Korea with rap battle threats. “Fire and Fury.” Like, “Yo! Yo, what you doing?” This is fucking Korea, man. Kim Jong-un is a scary motherfucker. He might be as crazy as Trump. Some scary shit. And if you one of them naive motherfuckers that thinks that a war with Korea is gonna be easy, then you don’t play Call of Duty at three a.m. like I do. ‘Cause that’s when the Koreans play. Fucking eight-year-old Korean kid took out my whole goddamn platoon last night.

I’ve never seen somebody in an office so high with the most just basic fucking solutions. Like, you know… “We should not let any more Muslims in the country till we can figure out what’s going on.” Did he just say, “Figure out what’s going on”? Who doesn’t know how to do basic math? Let’s count it out, okay? It’s been 17 mass shootings in the United States. Four of them were done by Muslims. None of those four Muslims were from any of the seven countries in your stupid-ass original ban. And since he brought it up, the other 13 shootings were done by the tiki-torch whites. These are facts. You don’t see me trying to ban white people from the show to keep the rest of the audience safe. It’s a fucking terrible idea, because it’s mean and it’s racist. And most importantly… it would be catastrophic to my bottom line. If there were no white people here tonight, I might leave this bitch with $1,800.

This man needs to realize that we all need each other. And that’s why we will never, ever be able to beat China. Because everybody in America is racist, and everybody in China is Chinese. This motherfucker called it all wrong. And don’t believe the media either, ’cause as all this shit is happening, the media is trying to make us believe that the extremities amongst us are the norms. We can disagree, that’s fine. And most of us are keeping a cool head about this shit. You know what I mean? Americans generally respect one another’s beliefs, even if they don’t share those beliefs. I know I do.

I respect everybody’s beliefs, except Amish people. ‘Cause they are the only ones that I can say clearly, “Their God is wrong.” Speed limit is 75 miles an hour in Ohio, and one lane of traffic is blocked by a goddamn horse and buggy. N i g g a, your God is ridiculous. All the Amish people around my way know me, too. Not from television, obviously. They know me from the streets. ‘Cause when I see them horse and buggies, I pull the Porsche over and talk to ’em. [imitates brakes screeching] “Ezekiel. Ezekiel, are you sure that God doesn’t want you to have any of this technology or this energy? Huh? Hmm? Huh? I can’t hear you. Let me turn this air conditioner off. What did you say?” And them n i g g a s be like, “Get away from me, ye. Ye tried to tempt me like the devil.” “Devil? Nah, bro. I’m trying to put you onto the game, Zeke. It’s a big world out here, n i g g a. I just went 25 miles in 30 minutes. That’s a day’s journey for you. You don’t even know what the weather’s gonna be tomorrow, do you? I do. You don’t even know that there’s a valuable Pokémon on your shoulder. [imitates game beep] Ta-ta.” And then I drive away. -[men and women shouting]

-Huh? -Oh, my vape pen? -[man] Yeah, I want to hit it. You want to hit my vape pen? Oh, sorry, n i g g a, I’m trying not to get herpes. My bad. I’ve been playing cat-and-mouse with herpes for 30 years now, but… Every night, I go to the club, I be like, “Not tonight, herpes.” No disrespect. I’m not saying you have herpes. I’m just saying one out of five people do, so let’s just… Let’s just all be careful around this motherfucker and make sure that… we leave with the lips we came with.

Sometimes I think that the media is hard on Trump. ‘Cause I’ll see shit that they get on him about that doesn’t seem bad to me. N i g g a got into trouble about not staying in the White House enough. Who gives a fuck? This motherfucker was rich. He used to shit in a gold toilet. It’s true. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the White House. It looks like a very nice place to work, but… I wouldn’t want to live in that Scooby-Doo-ass house either. That shit is… terrifying looking. Imagine you trying to jerk off in the crib, and Abraham Lincoln’s just looking at you like… Shit, Bush didn’t stay there, either. He was rich, too. He was like, “Fuck that. I’m going to my ranch in Texas.” Obama was the first motherfucker to move into the White House like, “This is a nice place. Look at this rug.” The media got on him about putting Jared Kushner in his cabinet, and I didn’t think that that was the worst thing he’d done. I mean, it was still early. It’s not unprecedented. Kennedy had his brother as attorney general, right? This motherfucker’s a Washington outsider.

To be honest with you, I’d probably do the same thing. As a matter of fact, I do. You think I go to a Hollywood meeting with all them white folks by myself? I bring my n i g g a Mac Mittens from the streets. I don’t even know his real name. Everybody just calls him Mac Mittens. But I know he’s not qualified to even listen to these meetings, but this motherfucker just makes me feel good. And all the white people look at me like, “Dave, do you mind asking your friend Mac Mittens to excuse us so we can talk business?” And I say, “Fuck that. Anything you say to me, Mac Mittens can hear that shit.” And he listened to the whole meeting. When they done talking, I just look over to Mac Mittens, and if he gives me the signal… “Meow-meow!” I’ll sign the papers. It’s a gut check.

Or how about this one? Remember when it was the day after the election, and the president of Taiwan called Donald Trump to congratulate him? And Donald Trump, of course, took the call and talked to the president of Taiwan. The problem with that was… Taiwan doesn’t have a president. The United States functions on what they call “a one China policy,” and Taiwan is a renegade province of said China. And Donald Trump didn’t know that, and picked up the phone and started yammering away, and… the media ate his ass up. And I’m not gonna lie, I was laughing, I was like, “Oh, shit. This dumb motherfucker is in trouble.” And then that night, I was in bed drifting off to sleep, and then, I had to admit it to myself. I was like… “I didn’t know that shit, either.” And then I realized the media got the story wrong. The story wasn’t that Donald Trump took the call. The biggest story is that nobody told Donald Trump not to take the call. That’s terrifying. Goddamn, n i g g a, you don’t have a Mac Mittens on your team? It wasn’t like they were calling the White House. They were calling the switchboard at Trump Tower, and they were getting through, anybody. “Mr. President, there’s a Rikki-Tikki-Tavi on the phone for you.” “Yes, put him through. Hello. Hello, Rikki-Tikki. Good to talk to you.” “Mr. President, there’s a John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt on the phone.” “His name is my name, too. Put him through. Hello. Hello, John Jacob. Let’s talk business.”

How many people in this room are not originally from the United States? -Round of applause. -[applauding] Where are you from, bro? You right there. [man] Iraq. You’re from Iraq? Ewww! I’m just fucking around. How long you been here in the country? [man] Twenty-three years. Twenty-three years? Are you a citizen yet? You are? Congratulations, n i g g a. Congratulations. Well, welcome to this great land.

You know, I’m gonna give you a history lesson, ’cause I’m sure this wasn’t on your entry exam. But every naturalized American has heard something about what I’m about to tell you. Picture, it’s the early ’50s in the United States. This 14-year-old boy goes down… from Chicago to Mississippi to meet his extended family for the first time. He’d never been to Mississippi. And before he went, his mother said to him, very pointedly, she said, “If a white man looks you in your eyes in Mississippi, look away.” And I don’t know what you know about black people from Chicago, but they’re not a scared people. Legend has it, he was in front of a convenience store, hanging out with his cousins, having a good time, and a white woman walked out of the store, and he thought she was pretty, and he said… [wolf whistles] “Bye, baby.” Not realizing that he had just made a fatal mistake. Four days later… Four days later, a group of adult white men burst into this family’s home and snatched a 14-year-old boy out of bed, in front of his family that was powerless to stop them, and he was never seen alive again. His name was Emmett Till. They found his body maybe a few days later. It was in a creek, tied to a wheel so it would sink, horribly beaten and bloated. Hideous. And lucky for everybody in America… his mother was a fucking gangster. She was. If you can imagine , in the very midst of a mother’s worst nightmare, this woman had the foresight to think about everybody. She said, “Leave my son’s casket open.” She said, “The world needs to see what they did to my baby.” And every publication here in the United States, from Jet magazine all the way to the New York Times, had this boy’s horribly bloated body on its cover. And if our Civil Rights Movement was a car, this boy’s dead body was premium gas. This was a very definitive moment in American history, where every thinking and feeling person was like… “Yuck! We gotta do better than this.” And they fought beautifully, and here we all are.
And the reason that I bring that up tonight and why it’s relevant now, is because less than a year ago, the woman that he allegedly whistled at… admitted on her deathbed… that she lied in her court testimony. And you can imagine, when we read that shit, we was like, “Ooh! You lying-ass, bitch.” Was furious. That was my initial reaction. And initial reactions, we all learned as we get older, are often wrong or more often incomplete. They call this phenomenon “standing too close to an elephant.” The analogy being that if you stand too close to an elephant, you can’t see the elephant. All you see is its penis-like skin. You gotta step back and give it a better look. And on stepping back and thinking about it for a few moments, I realized that it must have been very difficult for this woman to tell a truth that heinous about herself at any point in her life. Even the very end. And I was grateful that she had the courage to tell it before she left this world. Because it’s an important truth and we needed to know. And I said to myself, “Well, thank you for telling the truth… you lying-ass bitch.”

[audience cheering]

And then time goes on, and then after time, you can kind of see the whole elephant. And it’s humbling. ‘Cause you realize that this woman lied and that lie caused a murder. But that murder set in motion a sequence of events that made my wonderful life possible. That made this very night possible. How could this be that this lie could make the world a better place? It’s maddening. And that’s how I feel about this president. I feel like this motherfucker might be the lie that saves us all. Because I have never felt more American than when we all hate on this motherfucker together. Jesus Christ. It’s good. And when it happens, I can see everybody that’s stuggling. So if I’m on stage and I tell a joke that makes you want to beat up a transgender, then you’re probably a piece of shit and don’t come see me anymore. Or if you don’t understand that when a football player takes a knee during the national anthem, he’s actually standing up for me, then you might not want to fuck with me anymore. ‘Cause I swear no matter how bad it gets, you’re my countrymen, and I know for a fact that I’m determined to work shit out with y’all. And if that woman that said that heinous lie was alive today, I would thank her for lying. And then I would kick her in the pussy.

Thank you very much, Washington, DC. God bless you and good night.


[“Reaching Through the Darkness” playing]

♪ Reaching through the darkness… ♪

[crowd continuing cheering]

♪ Just like Him Breaking through the darkness ♪

[man rapping]

♪ Hey, yo, Material All right, could dry the tears ♪
♪ Of a thousand peers For a thousand years ♪
♪ And a thousand cheers Born to erase my fears ♪
♪ I’m better off living life Where Jesus is ♪
♪ Not an atheist But them Christian kids ♪
♪ A little too judgmental About my sins ♪
♪ And I aim to win But I miss the mark ♪
♪ Paul, Peter and Joseph Will now depart ♪
♪ But I follow my heart Without any disguise ♪
♪ Blood dripping from my sleeve ‘Cause my heart don’t see ♪
♪ That intentions are public With smiles and positivity ♪
♪ Behind a fake is a snake That could murder me, murder! ♪
♪ Life’s filled With things you never heard-a ♪
♪ Been trying to get in Since n i g g a s was really word up ♪
♪ Struggles that I’ve been through Make the average man curl up ♪
♪ Godson, “Coming, Grandma” Saying, “Hurry up!” ♪
♪ Yeah! ♪


♪ Reaching out for dreams Just like me ♪
♪ Reaching through the darkness ♪
♪ Glorious as a daybreak is ♪
♪ Just like Him Ringing through the darkness ♪

[man rapping]

♪ Hey, yo Scriptures I spit ♪
♪ They be glossy in nature ♪
♪ Themes that I dream in my mind Might save ya ♪
♪ I am no savior Seen as an ambassador ♪
♪ And dance around the bull With a cape like a matador ♪

I’m rich, biatch!

[audience cheering]


3 thoughts on “Dave Chappelle: Equanimity (2017) – Transcript”

  1. thom sandman

    This may be the the very best stand up writing and performance I’ve ever witnessed.. and I have seen a lot of fucking stand up comedy. Absolutely beautiful, Dave Chapelle.

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