Dave Chappelle talks George Floyd death in new Netflix special: 'He knew he was gonna die'

Chappelle said of young people leading George Floyd protests: "I'm very proud of you. You kids are excellent drivers. I'm comfortable in the back seat of the car."
Image: Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle performs at the Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine gala benefiting the Scleroderma Research Foundation on April 25, 2019 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.ABImages via AP Images

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By Minyvonne Burke

Dave Chappelle began a new special on George Floyd by thanking "young people who have had the courage to go out and do all this amazing work, protesting."

"I'm very proud of you," the comedian said in a show Netflix dropped on its YouTube comedy channel. "You kids are excellent drivers. I'm comfortable in the back seat of the car. So, carry on young ones."

Chappelle then talked about Floyd, who died on May 25 after now-fired Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In a video of the killing, Floyd said: "Please. Please. Please. I can't breathe."

Chauvin was fired and faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers who were at the scene of Floyd's deadly arrest were also fired and have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.

George Floyd.Courtesy photo

In the special, titled "8:46," a reference to how long Floyd was pinned to the ground, Chappelle said that during the Northridge earthquake in California in 1994, he feared he was going to die.

"That earthquake couldn't have been more than 35 seconds," he said.

In contrast, he said of Chauvin: "This man kneeled on a man's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Can you imagine that?"

Floyd "thought he was gonna die. He knew he was gonna die. He called for his mother. He called for his dead mother," Chappelle said. “When I watched that tape, I understand this man knew he was gonna die."

He said the only other time he'd witnessed someone call out for a relative who had died was when his father called out for his grandmother on his deathbed.

“What are you signifying that you can kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and feel like you wouldn’t get the wrath of God," Chappelle said. "That’s what is happening right now. It’s not for a single cop, it’s for all of it. … I don’t mean to get heavy but we got to say something.”

He said it took him a week before he could watch the video of Floyd being pinned to the ground and told the audience that he can't get the time 8 minutes and 46 seconds out of his head.

"I can’t get that number out of my head because it was my time of birth on my birth certificate,” Chappelle said. “I was born at 8:46 in the morning and they killed [Floyd] in eight minutes and 46 seconds."

He also touched on why some celebrities may not seem to be speaking out amid the protests.

"Answer me, do you want to see a celebrity right now?" Chappelle said. "Does it matter about celebrity? No. This is the streets talking for themselves. They don't need me right now. I kept my mouth shut, and I'll still keep my mouth shut, but don't think my silence is complicit."