It’s been two years, and one massive global pandemic, since Dave Chappelle last released one of his periodic Netflix stand-up specials.
Not that Chappelle has been anything less than active in the period since Sticks & Stones came out, to a somewhat mixed response, back in 2019; in addition to being one of the most prolific pandemic-era comics running, Chappelle has released multiple shorter specials in the intervening years, including the Netflix-on-YouTube 8:46 (a half-hour set focused on the death of George Floyd and violence against Black Americans), and a pair of Instagram TV specials. Now, Netflix has announced that the sixth official Chappelle special from the streamer is finally here, releasing a teaser today for The Closer, out October 5.
And from that teaser, we can obviously see…Well, nothing, aside from the fact that, yep, Chappelle is there. (Also, nobody’s wearing any masks, which means this was either filmed pre-pandemic—which feels wildly unlikely—or possibly post-vaccine, and not at one of Chappelle’s vaunted Summer Camp shows from last year.)
Material-wise, all we have is a promise that Chappelle intends to be mean and funny, rather than just the former, which: Great. Oh, and Netflix confirmed that Stan Lathan, who also directed the other five Chappelle Netflix specials—The Age Of Spin, Deep In The Heart Of Texas, Equanimity, The Bird Revelation, and Sticks And Stones—is back to helm this one.
And, obviously, the big question mark hanging over this sixth special is right there in the name: With The Closer, is Chappelle suggesting that his time at Netflix might be done? The five previous specials have been massively lucrative for all involved, to the tune of multiple Emmys and Grammys, and, notably, $20 million a pop for Chappelle himself. (They also help maintain his status as one of the premier comics on the planet, with a regular streaming pulpit available for him to use.) There’s no clear reason for him to walk away from any of that, but the title is certainly evocative of a closing chapter. (Unless, of course, he’s just a huge fan of old Kyra Sedgwick crime dramas on TNT.)