Returning to the stage via Netflix Stand-up Series as his sixth and final installment since his 2017 triumph, The Age of Spin. He has done a total of six specials for Netflix and in his virtual residency with the streaming service was also honored with the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center.
In his latest special, The Closer, does Chappelle live up to his standard of frankness and his signature sense of humor? To find out, The Conservative Critic will ask: Is it entertaining? Does it have artistic/intellectual value? And Is it liberal propaganda?
The Conservative Critic Meter Check: Dave Chappelle: The Closer
Overall Rating: Correct but not very funny
What Chappelle has going for him in The Closer is that he is speaking to a specific and loyal audience. A seasoned veteran, Chappelle knows exactly who is tuning in. His content held nothing back, avoiding political correctness and stabbed straight to the heart of issues that have frustrated reasonable minds for many years.
But he is far more politically and ideologically on point than he is funny in the special. As an effort to combat senseless censorship and narratives which promote victimization where it doesn’t exist, The Closer is a major success. As an effort to make audiences laugh, The Closer doesn’t work well with the exception of a few bright spots.
Because of his brave stand against the progressive stronghold on media and his ability to produce so much success that he cannot be censored, The Closer receives an above-average rating despite its being on the dry side of fun.
Is it entertaining?
Rating: More intriguing than funny
As a political speech, The Closer performs well. Chappelle offers interesting and often unique takes on current issues – primarily the parity (or lack there of) between the struggle of black people in America and the struggle of gay/LGBT people in America. Tackling a subject so many are afraid to touch with a ten foot pole makes for an extremely interesting seminar worthy of an hour special and certainly one I personally would opt in to view. Chappelle spends very little time on ground covered by any other prominent political mind and his brash and often vulgar interludes keeps the audience paying attention and relates to people on a more base level bringing them into the fold.
However, the assignment was a stand-up comedy special and was billed under Netflix’s stand-up banner. The Closer is rarely funny enough to render an audible laugh and is at best witty. Wit is nothing to be ashamed of and Chappelle has it in spades. But other specials in his series have managed to achieve groundbreaking material and heavy laughs.The Closer could only manage the former.
The event is still very watchable as a tongue and cheek political seminar with some light humor, just not as true comedy.
Does it have artistic/intellectual value?
Rating: Well thought
Chappelle is an absolute pro. The Closer is well timed, only opens doors it can close and includes a lot of both personal and objective research. Chappelle knows how to hit a punch line and can do it whether or not the punch is funny or the punch is just a really good point.
Playing defense following some of his other work on Netflix, Chappelle artfully tackles cancel culture and the notion that some groups of people are totally untouchable while others are not. A lesser comedian and, frankly, a lesser mind could not have approached the sensitive subjects Chappelle explores with as much success or with as much confidence.
Not quite reaching the level of masterpiece as Age of Spin, The Closer is still a very well done and highly intelligent piece of work.
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: Right-wing fun
A breath of fresh air in a sea of snide liberal smirks, Chappelle is a comedian who is capable of telling the truth. In a week where John Oliver went on a tiny British baby tirade about ATT (who is the parent of HBO – his network -actually) daring to balance their spreadsheet by sponsoring a conservative political outlet (One America News Network), it was like taking a deep breath to hear Chappelle say what he meant with no fear of repercussions. Even if viewers don’t personally hold the same views as Chappelle, it’s inspiring to be reminded that people still exist who can produce art and speak freely in America – a country where freedom of speech used to be a guarantee and has now become a tattered political chew toy, clinging to life.
We need more people like Chappelle who are willing to take on controversial issues and dare to use words the powerful have told us are bad because even if we think the words are bad or the message is untrue – it’s supposed to be our right to say them.
While not super funny per his usual performance, The Closer was well crafted and intriguing and positioned Chappelle even more centrally as a champion of free speech.