Really interesting to watch Dave Chappelle’s Deep in the Heart of Texas special on Netflix after first hearing about the taping two years ago from my close friends who attended the show, and then watching a later stop on the 2015 tour up in Montreal during his Just For Laughs record-breaking ticket-selling run.
And, of course, trying to review a 2015 stand-up hour through the eyes of 2017 changes your perspective on lots of things.
But the senses I come back to over and over are these: 1) This hour perfectly captures the haphazard nature of seeing Chappelle live back then, whether it was a theater like Austin City Limits (where he filmed this performance), back in the day at one of his drop-ins at the Comedy Cellar in NYC or the Laugh Factory even farther back when he would filibuster onstage for several hours for a time, or any of those random amphitheater shows you heard about via TMZ that went awry on the heralded comedian. And 2) Chappelle probably would have kept this in his personal vault of archives, away from our eyes, if Netflix hadn’t thrown $20 million per special his way to release this and two more hours.
Also, he might have easily called this special “Tough Time for the Blacks” if not for the timing of it.