On New Years Eve 2017, Netflix released the final stand up specials, “Equanimity” and “The Bird Revelation” from the great Comedian Dave Chappelle.
“Equanimity” for the most part is a standard, yet funny, stand up comedy special. It’s the “Bird Revelation” that really delves into some serious subjects, being far more Carlinesque than any of his previous specials.
If anything, it’s eerily reminiscent of George Carlin’s masterpiece Life Is Worth Losing, the special where he (Carlin) talks about “the owners.”
The jokes here are relatively sparse, yet, like Carlin’s later work, Chappelle has a greater intention for his stand up, set within the confines of a tiny nightclub in Los Angeles.
From sexual harassment to the Women’s March, Dave Chappelle is fearless in exposing the truth about Hollywood and who really runs things, though talking mostly in metaphors.
This is no more exemplified than in Chappelle’s closing monologue. In it, he uses the story of a pimp named Iceberg Slim as a metaphor for Hollywood and why he left a highly successful show for South Africa.
Wanna know what happened to me? Nah. It’s tempting, but I don’t want to talk about it. Maybe at the end. When I run out of things to talk about. Actually, I’m almost there. I’m just trying to tell you what happened to me was not– I just didn’t have a good go of it. I don’t know what you guys think happens when you quit a successful show. I’ll tell you what doesn’t happen. They don’t go, “Hey, good luck with your future endeavors.” That’s not what happens.
Dave Chappelle, The Bird Revelation
The book tells the story of said Pimp Iceberg Slim who got his nickname by showing no emotion when a bullet goes through the hat he was wearing at the time in a bar. Instead of running away in terror, Iceberg calmly finished his drink.
As Chappelle relates, Iceberg was taught by another pimp about “how to keep the other bitches in line.” To make a long story short, physical abuse and assault were involved.
Near the end of the book, Iceberg relates the story of a “bottom bitch who was good for 500 f*ks.” Why? Because Iceberg realized that there is a “finite amount of bad shit a person will do” before they break. He calls it “mileage on a ho.” 500 johns were this young lady’s limit, according to Iceberg.
By Number 498, Iceberg was ready to give her that final assignment before she moved on with her life.
I understand I’m spoiling the story, but ultimately, Iceberg had conned the girl into committing what she thought was a capital crime and as a result, became indebted to Iceberg and spent another 6 months working for him.
As near as I can tell, the point of the story (correct me if I’m wrong) is that once you check into Hollywood culture, the Illuminati, whatever you want to call it, you don’t check out.
It’s an interesting take on Hollywood and American society. Clearly, Dave is the prostitute in the story. He knew if he didn’t get out while the getting was good, he’d become a permanent part of something he didn’t want himself or his family to be a part of. That’s why he currently lives on a ranch in a small town in Ohio “among the tiki-torch white people.”
Chappelle got out before he got to the point where he had to do something he would regret. However, he is surprisingly less harsh on the establishment as one might expect. He argues that it’s the system that is corrupt, and the people in it are victims, not perpetrators. And the only way to break that horrible system is for the “victims” to come out and “admit what they did.”
He says that we should go easy on the weaker ones who gave in to the system and support the stronger ones willing to come out and admit their involvement in that corruption.
It’s a brilliant piece of art that has a deeper meaning than just surface jokes. Much of the laughter from the audience is of the nervous variety, as one might expect given the subject matter.
Chappelle is quite obviously if not the greatest living comedian and social commentator on the planet, he’s high on the list. There has been a massive void in truth-telling in comedy in large part since the passing of the late great Philosopher Carlin. Dave could be filling that void – in a different way than George, but no less socially significant.
I was a fan of his prior to this special, but I have a new appreciation for a man trying to do the right thing.
Dave Chappelle closes his special, and I close this article, with this incredible monologue followed by the Iceberg Slim Story that would have made the likes of Carlin and Bill Hicks proud.
That’s why I want to start a GoFundMe for Colin Kaepernick. I do, man. I’m fascinated with him. I want to make sure he never has to play football again. He can if he wants to. I just don’t want to have to. ‘Cause why the fuck not? I know he’s rich and people’d be like, “I’m not giving a GoFundMe to rich dude.” But you should. You should because that motherfucker’s life was going great. He’s so light skinned, he didn’t have to say he was black. [laughing] And yet, he took a knee during that anthem for us. Thought about us when things were going good, when his belly was full, when he was– He didn’t think about his livelihood or any of that, and they took his livelihood away from him. Like, man, that shouldn’t be the way it is.
Every fucking person that takes a stand for somebody else always gets beat down. And we watch. Over and over and over again, we watch it. We should pay those motherfuckers for blowing the whistle, because they make our lives better, and we could change the narrative.
We could make one motherfucker have a good outcome for doing the right thing and that would make another motherfucker brave enough to do the right thing. And if you did that, the n****s like Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t rape for 40 years because a bitch wants a stupid ass part.
We should take care of each other. Wouldn’t it be nice to be like, “Remember that time he was gonna kill Jesus but then he got all that money?” Real talk, man. It’s not a racial thing. It’s about us making our society better. It’s about like even these women that are coming forward, and everyone says they’re brave, and many of them are. And a few of them– a few of them sucked the dick and got buyer’s remorse.
You know, that’s a huge omission from this narrative. This wouldn’t have gone this far if some women weren’t willing to do it. You can’t ask every woman to hold the line. Some women can carry things heavier than others.
So we should fight for one another. We should forgive the ones of us that are weaker and support the ones of us that are stronger. And then we can beat the thing. If you guys keep going after individuals, the system is going to stay intact. You have to have men on your side. And I’m telling you right now, you’re gonna have a lot of imperfect allies.
Dave Chappelle, The Bird Revelation