Dave Chapelle: The Dreamer review – Comedy odyssey with potholes and punchlines

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Dave Chappelle‘s latest Netflix special, The Dreamer, is like a familiar journey through the comedic landscape. It’s a comedy rollercoaster that might leave you feeling like you’re stuck in a loop of déjà vu. (Also Read: Dave Chappelle makes fun of trans people yet again on his new Netflix special)

Dave Chappelle returns with a new Netflix stand-up special, The Dreamer
Dave Chappelle returns with a new Netflix stand-up special, The Dreamer

Kicking off with a touch of success and a dramatic stroll through his hometown of Washington, DC, Dave Chappelle sets the scene for what some might label as a lackadaisical victory lap. The black-and-white aesthetic, coupled with Radiohead’s Daydreaming, creates an entrance fit for a champion, or so Chappelle would like you to think. Shot at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC, this special is the seventh exclusive to Netflix, showcasing both the brilliance and stubbornness of a comedian who can’t resist revisiting the same worn-out pitstops on the comedic highway.

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What are the pros? Well, according to some, Dave Chappelle still possesses the knack for setting up a joke, even if it tends to be on the crass side. The special starts off with a tale about visiting Jim Carrey on the set of Man on the Moon, offering a peek behind the curtain of comedic brilliance. But, as recently has been the case with Chappelle, where there’s a pro, there’s inevitably a con.

And here come the cons. Watching the special, you cannot get rid of the feeling that Dave Chapelle is driven by the far-right grievance industrial complex, making it feel like a stuck record fixated on the trans community. Chappelle’s incessant return to this topic gives the impression of being caught in a comedic time loop, with the humor wearing increasingly thin. The special’s laser focus on the trans community is a noticeable flaw, and Chappelle doesn’t quite hit the mark either, making it look puerile, which lacks depth. It’s akin to watching a seasoned chef struggle with a pre-packaged microwave dinner — disappointing and a waste of potential.

The trans jokes keep coming like an unrelenting storm until Chappelle mercifully shifts gears. Stories about strip clubs, Will Smith’s Oscars slap, and Hollywood Bowl assailants inject a breath of fresh air into the special. Chappelle proves he can still weave devilishly funny tales, reminding us why he’s a comedic heavyweight. But just when you think the coast is clear, Chappelle circles back to the trans community, unable to resist the temptation.

The concluding story about Chappelle’s second stand-up special going awry could have been a poignant moment of reflection. Instead, it becomes another platform for a trans-related jab. Chappelle, the powerful dreamer, has realised his dream, but the incessant fixation on a single topic leaves the audience wondering if the dream could have been more diverse and inclusive. The shots at the trans community, like unwanted hitchhikers, detract from what could have been a smoother, more enjoyable ride through Chappelle’s comedic landscape.

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