Dave Chappelle Announces A Crazy Number Of New Netflix Comedy Specials

By Doug Norrie | 3 months ago

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It would appear the relationship between Dave Chappelle and Netflix is still very strong. Despite a rocky media cycle following his last special on the streamer, Netflix has announced that they are in the Chappelle business for the long term. They will continue working with him on a variety of specials and programs moving into the future. The Hollywood Reporter has it that Netflix and Chappelle have entered into a deal for the comedian to host and produce four separate specials featuring other comedians of Chappelle’s choosing. The name of the specials will be Chappelle’s Home Team and will each introduce a new comedian. 

While there will be four specials in total, at this point the streamer has announced only two of the feature comedians being introduced by Dave Chappelle. The first will be Earthquake (Nathaniel Martin Stroman) whose special Earthquake: Legendary will air on February 28th. And then there will be Donnell Rawlings whose special does not yet have an announced air date. According to Chappelle, one common through-line of the comedians chosen is that they will have been in the business for decades now. While possibly not household names among the viewing crowd, Chappelle has said that these are, for sure, folks that other comedians respect and know well. For instance, Earthquake is 58 years old and has been working the comedy scene since the early 1990s. 

And Donnell Rawlings is someone fans of Dave Chappelle will surely recognize. The actor and comedian was featured prominently on the latter’s Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central. He appeared on all three seasons of the iconic comedy sketch series, playing characters like Ashy Larry and a number of others. It’s clear he and Chappelle have a long-standing relationship with the comedian wanting to feature his standup in the second special. 

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Dave Chappelle hosting and producing more specials for Netflix follows the controversy that was kicked up for both the comedian and the streamer after his last special, The Closer. In it, Chappelle spoke at length about the transgender movement and some of his opinions were deemed controversial with several LGBTQ groups calling for Netflix to remove it from the service. Employees staged walkouts and it drummed up a negative news cycle. But Dave Chappelle refused to apologize for anything in the special and Netflix opted to keep it on their platform. 

To date, Dave Chappelle has released six specials on Netflix as part of a deal reported to be worth around $20 million dollars per special. The Closer was the last one included as part of that deal with the previous ones being The Age of Spin, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Equanimity, The Bird Revelation, and Sticks and Stones. All were top performers for the streamer and even The Closer, while controversial, ranked in the top-10 in original streaming content for its first week on Netflix according to Nielsen. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos also defended the decision to keep it on the platform, saying it was a form of free speech and the special didn’t amount to “real-world harm”. It will be interesting to see audience reactions to these new Dave Chappelle specials when they are released.