In June 2020, comedian Dave Chappelle released an unexpected, 27-minute-long special titled 8:46 — a number instantly recognizable as the amount of time former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck, killing him.
Netflix uploaded Chappelle’s 8:46 to YouTube and Facebook Watch, and the clip was instantly popular despite its searing absence of a primary focus on humor. At the beginning, a socially-distanced crowd in masks is visible, and Chappelle noted it was “weird and less than ideal circumstances for a show.”
Within twelve hours, the clip received well over two million views on both platforms:
Both uploads had the same description, which was concise and read:
From Dave: Normally I wouldn’t show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand
@Netflix also shared the clip on Twitter:
In just under half an hour, Chappelle covered a range of subjects which were as diverse as they were interconnected. Although we were unable to locate an official transcript of Dave Chappelle’s 8:46, some quotes were transcribed or shared on social media.
On finally watching the video of Floyd’s death, Chappelle said:
This man kneeled on a man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Can you imagine that? This kid thought he was going to die. He knew he was going to die. 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 that man knew he was gonna die.
Chappelle also talked about Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer, and a siege which ended in Dorner’s death. Chappelle compared that siege to protests over Floyd’s death:
[Police] found him … [Dorner] was hiding in a cabin … when they figured out where this n**** was, no less than 400 police officers showed up and answered the call … 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?
In the course of 8:46, Chappelle also criticized Laura Ingraham and Candace Owens, saying of the latter:
Candace Owens … that rotten bitch … she’s the worst … I can’t think of a worse way to make money. She’s the most articulate idiot I’ve ever seen in my fuckin’ life.
She’s so articulate that she’ll tell you how fucking stupid she is.
Owens responded on Twitter, in a seeming attempt to spin Chappelle’s commentary as some sort of welcomed ribbing:
On Ingraham, Chappelle referenced her remarks about LeBron James:
[Laura Ingraham] told one of Ohio’s greatest residents ever to shut up and dribble. Let me tell you something about LeBron, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was 17 years old and exceeded every expectation that they had for him. She told my friend [James] to shut up and dribble. My friend is the best at something and this bitch is not the best at anything. She’s a regular ass white bitch with a platform.
Chappelle also discussed CNN anchor Don Lemon, and Lemon’s call for more celebrities to speak out. In response, Chappelle stated:
And these n****s 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 whether I am alive or dead … Why would everyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds?
So now all of a sudden, this n**** 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.
Twice during the set, at the beginning and the end, Chappelle discussed being struck by numerical coincidences. One was the set’s titular 8:46, and the other was about his grief over the death of Kobe Bryant. Of the first, Chappelle said:
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 [George Floyd] in eight minutes and 46 seconds.
It did not appear a transcript of Dave Chappelle’s 8:46 had been released, but unlike his other Netflix specials, the clip was available to watch for free via YouTube and Facebook Watch (embedded above).