Dave Chappelle - The Age of Spin

LetterboxD review link

The prevailing narrative about this special, unfortunately, seems to revolve around Chappelle’s transphobic comments. Much ink has been spilled on that topic and I don’t plan on adding more here. For what it’s worth, I’m not as upset about those comments as others. I tend to find that comedy has freer reign than other types of speech. And I didn’t feel Dave’s bit was especially transphobic. But, again, I’m not an expert on that topic, nor do I intend to be. To use the old Chris Rock adage, I still thought Dave was punching up throughout the majority of that section, save for a few lines.

For me, it was particularly interesting to see Dave as a 40-year old comedian. The parts of this special that railed on millennials, talked about Care Bears, and otherwise dated Dave, seemed to separate him from his audience in a way that wasn’t true of his earlier specials. Even the police traffic stop story was told differently now than it would’ve been on Chappelle’s Show. Dave is famous now. Dave is old now. And all of that is informing his comedy.

There was a Carlin-like quality to his bit about the Age of Spin. His precise, staccato use of words. His moralistic media and cultural commentary very much reminded me of some of Carlin’s legendary work on media and use of language.

As far as the special itself, there’s not much directing in comedy specials, but I did find the photography at the beginning and end of this special very beautiful.