Written by M.J. Rawls
Dave Chappelle: Deep in the Heart of Texas is the Special We Were Waiting For
Many fans – like me were biding their time to get a new Dave Chappelle special. After all, his last one was 2004’s For What It’s Worth. We are all familiar with the story of the falling out of season three of Chappelle Show, Chappelle’s recusal of the spotlight and eventual return to the stand up stage. He’s past it, so let’s go forward as well. When the news hit of a three special deal with Netflix, excitement jumped through the roof. Does the comedian still have the magic that kept fans intensely waiting after all this time?
Deep In The Heart of Texas was filmed back in 2015, so the references may feel a little older. Topics like Donald Sterling and Ray Rice seem to all but be in our rear view mirror but the spin that Chappelle is able to put on them is refreshing and an informative light. It’s not that we agree with any of the situations that happened, but comedy has the ability to make us laugh at things that make us squirm in our seats a little bit. Chappelle would start off my summarizing each of these situations highlighting what’s bad about them and then adding his own comedic flavor to them like only he can.
Now, because they are in the South, it was only fitting for Chappelle to start with a racial dialogue about a banana peel and snowball that was thrown at him by a white person to get everyone laughing about their differences. If you look at it, that’s what made Chappelle’s Show so great and continues it’s relevance even today. You take the uncomfortable tropes and stereotypes and put them in antidotes to make them funny. Another strength is that he is able to take that same story and interweave it throughout the special, so it seems like he’s telling a story more than just your run-of-the-mill comedy special. There’s a narrative and flow.
Chappelle really hits his stride once he sits down and smokes a cigarette given to him from someone in the crowd. It was almost as if he was just talking to a group of friends that he knew for years and you were allowed to sit in. There was a layer added to his comedy that we did not see in past specials as he was able to add inside looks into his family. The stories of his son at his private school and the “mysterious VHS tape” welcomed you back in from a comedian who chose to shun the spotlight at the point where it was the brightest for him. The confidence of Chappelle really manifested where you didn’t feel like it was an hour long. Chalk it up to Southern hospitality, but even with topics like Caitlyn Jenner and gay marriage, DITHOT, especially on how polarized things are now, made it okay to take down our guard at least for an hour and laugh.
Rating: 8.5 – 10