Dave Chappelle Partners With Netflix on His New Special “The Dreamer”

From his onstage tackle to the slap heard round the world, Dave Chappelle lets loose in this freewheeling and unfiltered stand-up comedy special.

Dave Chappelle Partners With Netflix on His New Special “The Dreamer”
Dave Chappelle at the Royal Albert Hall in 2018. Photo source: Raph_PH

Dave Chappelle's latest Netflix special, "The Dreamer" (2023), showcases the stand-up comedian's distinctive style but sparks controversy due to his continued focus on controversial topics.

“From his onstage tackle to the slap heard round the world, Dave Chappelle lets loose in this freewheeling and unfiltered stand-up comedy special” (via official synopsis). The Emmy- and Grammy-winning Chapelle returned to the Lincoln Theatre in his hometown of Washington, D.C. to shoot the special.

The special delves into recent events, such as Will Smith's on-stage slap of Chris Rock at the Oscars and Chappelle's own experience of being attacked on stage at the Hollywood Bowl in 2022. It also addresses Chappelle’s ongoing controversy with the LGBTQ+ community.

Throughout the special, Chappelle maintains his signature unpredictability and ability to navigate controversial topics without offering justifications or defensive explanations. At one notable point in “The Dreamer,” Chappelle addresses criticisms of being lazy in comedy, defending his preference for niche jokes that resonate deeply with a small audience.

“The Dreamer” marks the sixth collaboration between Chappelle and Netflix, following the critically acclaimed specials “Equanimity” (2017), “The Bird Revelation” (2017) and “Sticks & Stones” (2019). However, Chapelle’s recent work has been marred by controversy. His 2021 hit “The Closer” (2021) was widely condemned for being transphobic, with organizations such as The National Black Justice Coalition going so far as to call on Netflix to remove the special.

Despite the controversies, Chappelle's fans continue to support him, evident in high audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and his financial success, with reports of significant ticket sales and earnings.

“The Dreamer” was directed by long-time collaborator and Emmy-winning filmmaker Stan Lathan, who has previously worked on all of Chappelle’s Netflix specials.

Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up special, “The Dreamer,” is available now only on Netflix.

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