There’s a bounty of just-released goods from Netflix today, including Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and a surprise comedy special from Dave Chappelle (it’s available on YouTube). In 8:46, named after the length of time white police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on the neck of unarmed black man George Floyd, Chappelle riffs on police brutality, conservative pundits Candace Owens and Laura Ingraham, and CNN host Don Lemon calling out celebrities for “sitting in your mansions and doing nothing.”
“[Lemon] says, ‘Where are all these celebrities? Why are you not talking?’ This n*gger said, ‘Everybody.’ I was screaming at the TV, ‘I dare you to say me, n*gger, I dare you!’ Has anyone ever listened to me doing comedy? Have I not ever said anything about these things before? So now all of a sudden this n*gger expects me to step in front of the streets and talk over the work these people are doing as a celebrity,” Chappelle told the socially-distanced crowd in Beavercreek, Ohio, where 8:46 was filmed.
He continued, “Answer me: Do you want to see a celebrity right now? Do we give a f*ck 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 my silence is complicit… Why would anyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds? I can’t get that number out of my head.”
Chappelle didn’t randomly pick Ja Rule — it’s a reference to one of his most famous jokes. In his 2004 special For What It’s Worth, the Chappelle’s Show star reminisced about the time MTV asked for the rapper’s thoughts on the September 11 attacks.
“I remember right around September 11, Ja Rule was on MTV. That’s what they said: ‘We got Ja Rule on the phone. Let’s see what Ja’s thoughts are on this tragedy.’ Who gives a f*ck what Ja Rule thinks at a time like this? This is ridiculous. I don’t want to dance. I’m scared to death. I want some answers that Ja Rule might not have right now. You think when bad sh*t happens to me, I’ll be in the crib like, Oh! My God, this is terrible. Could somebody please find Ja Rule? Get hold of this motherf*cker, so I can make sense of all this. Where is Ja? Help me Ja Rule!”
Ja Rule jokes hit even harder now.