Thoughts: Dave Chappelle

but first, a Programming Update:

  • Three substantial posts per week is just too much. The new goal is two posts per week, on Sunday and Thursday (1510GMT = “morning” in the US), with occasional Friday afternoon thoughts.

  • Sunday posts will often be “historical” and aim to be rigorously referenced.

  • Thursday posts will often include wild assumptions and other flights of future fantasy.

And now for thoughts on controversy instigated by the latest Chappelle special.

  1. The price ($24 million) Netflix paid sounds outrageous, but it really isn’t. Presumably that was what was paid to the Dave Chappelle production company; Chappelle had to pay the writer, the performer, and the executive producer (all him), as well as the full production costs. Of course it’s still a lot of money, but Chappelle costs a lot. I assume a “Substack for Video” startup would pay $1 million per a 5-minute clip.

  2. Substack for Video is an excellent startup idea if you can work out the details. Assuming you have a co-founder with deep personal connections in Hollywood. And don’t make stupid decisions like Quibi’s “don’t allow people to watch on a TV or desktop computer”.

  3. The various “employee actions” are generally too minimal and disorganized to require a response.

  4. Netflix management’s actions, in response to both media coverage and employee actions, have been breathtakingly incompetent throughout this process. It’s almost as if they are cultivating controversy and protests against themselves on purpose.

  5. The likes of Jesse Singal and Andrew Sullivan can barely contain themselves in responding to every sneeze on Twitter. Wesley Yang is hinting at a 20-part series on Chappelle; hopefully that’s just a bad joke.

  6. And regarding “space Jews”(1) … at some point soon there will be a blog post on the Post-War Population Transfers. (“Space Jews”(2) isn’t a political statement at all, it’s just a joke.)