Twelve years after disappearing off the face of the earth, Dave Chappelle is making his comeback.
Our reaction: Finally.
The comedian’s two new Netflix specials The Age of Spin, filmed at the Hollywood Palladium in March 2016, and Deep in the Heart of Texas, filmed at Austin City Limits Live in April 2015, debut on Tuesday. A third anticipated special is expected to drop later this year.
Here are three big reasons why you should care about the comedian’s return.
1. Chappelle isn’t just good at stand-up, he’s a legend.
Chappelle is considered a comedic genius.
He’s known for his impressions of people (including Rick James and Prince), his commentary on racial inequality and, of course, his sketch comedy show on Comedy Central.
But stand-up has always been his strong suit. People still consider his 2000 special Killing Them Softly as one of the best of all time.
2. No one can tackle race like Chappelle
The Chappelle Show — which launched on Comedy Central in 2003 — started as a cult hit. But by season two, it became a must-watch as Chappelle stacked the line-up with amazing musical guests (each show ended with a musical performance by a hip-hop or soul artist) and notable sketches.
The show always found a way to shed light on the truth using comedy.
He did everything from spot-on celebrity impressions (his “A Moment in the Life of Lil Jon” sketch is a great example) to sketches tackling race in America. But in 2005, he shocked fans after he walked away from the show — and a $50 million deal — to escape the limelight.
One of his most popular characters is Clayton Bigsby, a blind white supremacist character who was black. Chappelle brought back Bigsby when he hosted Saturday Night Live in November following the election.
You can bet that’ll be much of the same tone of his Netflix specials. In his comedic return, Chappelle doesn’t shy away from anything. He touches on police brutality before pointing out that most black people are in danger from eating too much salt.
He also talks about watching ISIS videos on YouTube, Bill Cosby’s alleged rapes and the time he met O.J. Simpson in the ’90s with Nicole Brown Simpson.
3. The specials are also a big deal for Netflix
You have to understand what’s going on in comedy right now, what Netflix has done is amazing – it’s bringing back the legends
— Daniel Soff (@Swagadore) February 22, 2017
With Chappelle’s stand-up specials, Netflix has officially positioned itself as the king of comedy content.
It all began last year when Netflix reportedly outbid HBO by dishing out a whopping $40 million to get Chris Rock‘s comedy specials on the streaming service.
Jerry Seinfeld followed shortly after in January, when he announced he’s moving his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffeefrom Sony’s streaming service Crackle to Netflix as part of a multifaceted production deal.
Amy Schumer, who also had many specials on HBO, also debuted her latest comedy special on Netflix on March 7.
The first of Louis C.K.’s Netflix specials, titled 2017, will premiere April 4.
All of that — combined with the fact that Netflix will boast not one, but three of the most highly anticipated comedy specials in years — give Netflix a pretty robust library when it comes to comedy content.