Review of “Dave Chappelle: Equanimity” (2017)

Moving picture, 60 minutes

Seen in 2021.

There’s not a huge amount of comedy in this performance. Instead, Chappelle commits to the sort of soulful analysis comedians normally reserve for podcast interviews, and that’s fine too. His defence of his own deprecating jokes about transsexuals is weak, leading down a philosophical slope to the idea that insulting transsexuals is OK because (A) the intimately existential nature of their dysphoria is absurd and (B) what’s at stake is ostensibly their feelings, which is slight in comparison to the systemic physical, political and economic oppression of people of colour. This is not Chappelle’s usual dodging-laserbeams approach, but although B is not even true, there’s some honesty to the presentation of it. It is frustrating only with his constant vaping and bragging about his wealth, which undermines even his otherwise cogent analysis of the preceding presidential election; he says he’s never seen coal.

References here: “Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation” (2017), Dave Chappelle: The Closer (2021).

moving picture non-fiction stand-up comedy