The Netflix Highlight: “Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones,” Comedy Special.
What’s up: Dave Chappelle returns to Netflix for his fifth comedy special on the streaming service. In “Sticks & Stones,” Chappelle wants you to a) calm down about what other people say, and b) know that he doesn’t care if you have insults for him.
The special features various “edgelord” bits in which Chappelle mines sensitive topics for comedy. He makes fun of getting “canceled” and jokes about not believing the Michael Jackson accusers; why he finds trans people annoying; and how he thinks Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct wasn’t actually that bad.
Sum-up: This special comes close to being full-on hate speech at times and there are already enough provocateurs out there using this rhetoric for attention. The act isn’t just misguided, it’s tired.
But Chappelle at least goes further creatively than the lazy “somebody’s got to say it” argument propping up a lot of hate-based rhetoric. To give him some credit, he plays with this line of provocative comedy at a higher level than most others. His end goal is not to point and laugh at the subject matter, it’s to point and laugh at the audience: Chappelle explicitly makes fun of his audience throughout the special and expresses his frustration for how upset people get today, compared to the earlier years of his career. The subjects of his jokes are not his true targets; he’s actually attacking the country’s sanctimonious attitude.
Heads-up: This special isn’t as good or smart as it wants to be, or as nuanced as it needs to be. Sure, it’s “dangerous” for him to defend Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart for their respective controversies, but Chappelle’s treatment of both subjects ends up sounding more like a friend sticking up for his buddies than someone with a point about free speech worth listening to.
Chappelle wants people to stop being constantly angry about words, because words aren’t sticks and stones. And yet, because of his carelessness, this special will likely incite people to throw actual sticks and stones at groups that were already in need of help. Chappelle wants to be a champion for change, but he ultimately just champions himself, to the detriment of others.
Bonus: If you watch through the credits of “Sticks & Stones,” you get to see an added Q&A session Chappelle did with various audiences while on tour. This extra lasts about 20 minutes.
Here’s the trailer:
Read on for more recommendations and news from the week. And if you want to stay up to date with what to watch on a weekly basis, subscribe to the Streamline newsletter.
What Else Is New This Week On Netflix
“Falling Inn Love” (Netflix Film) ― Christina Milian stars as an American who wins ownership of a rundown inn located in New Zealand. She fixes it up with a hot New Zealander and wonders if she should stay.
“The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” (Netflix Original) ― The Jim Henson Company created this animated series about fantastical beings. You can watch the trailer here:
A Couple Of Netflix News Stories From This Week
1. Netflix will release 10 movies in theaters over the coming months, a stark departure from the company’s method of previous years. The Netflix Films debuting in theaters: “The Laundromat,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “The King,” “The Irishman,” “Earthquake Bird,” “Marriage Story,” “Klaus,” “I Lost My Body,” “Atlantics” and “The Two Popes.” These probably will not get a wide release and will only be available in small theaters. The move is a clear play to qualify all these movies for Oscar contention.
2. A few big movie trailers and teasers debuted this week. Here’s a few of them...
“El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie”
And here are the shows and movies that joined Netflix throughout the week:
- “Million Pound Menu” (Season 2, Netflix Original)
- “Trolls: The Beat Goes On!” (Season 7, Netflix Family)
- “Droppin’ Cash” (Season 2, Netflix Original)
- “Falling Inn Love” (Netflix Film)
- “Kardec” (Netflix Film)
- “Workin’ Moms” (Season 3, Netflix Original)
- “The A List” (Netflix Original)
- “CAROLE & TUESDAY” (Netflix Anime)
- “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” (Netflix Original)
- “La Grande Classe” (Netflix Film)
- “Locked Up” (Season 3)
- “Mighty Little Bheem” (Season 2, Netflix Family)
- “Styling Hollywood” (Netflix Original)
- “True and the Rainbow Kingdom: Wild Wild Yetis” (Netflix Family)
- “Un bandido honrado” (Netflix Original)
- “Luo Bao Bei” (Season 1)