Stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle celebrated the eve of his Netflix special, “Dave Chappelle: The Closer,” in his hometown of Washington, D.C. on Monday, where he spoke exclusively to NBC Washington about his newest work and the education that supported him.
At the Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, Chappelle spoke to dozens of supporters who gathered at the private event to see the special before it goes live online Tuesday.
“Get whatever you want out of it. You want to be offensive, I got something for you. And if you want to be happy and laughing and have levity, you can look at it like that too. But this is a good one and I'm very proud of it and I hope everyone enjoys it,” he said.
The event doubled as a premiere and fundraiser for his alma mater, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, which is naming its theater after Chappelle.
“I started doing stand-up in Washington, D.C., 34 years ago,” he said. “When I was a beginner I was also a student at the Ellington School. That school informed me artistically. It gave me the courage to pursue my dreams. It gave me the context to think of myself as an artist.”
Chappelle encouraged donors and fans to support the school, which he credits with setting the stage for his successful career in comedy and acting.
“My entire career was predicated on what I learned. I do not have any formal education beyond Ellington, and look what I was able to achieve. I’m so grateful for that place,” he said.
“The Closer” is Chappelle’s sixth special. He said coming to the District for the only premiere and interview about the show was a meaningful experience.
“And all these years later, to come back here and finish a body of work that I did [with] Netflix and premier this special here, to benefit my alma mater -- it’s probably one of the best parts of doing the special for me,” he said.
As far as the special itself, the comedian offered few hints — besides that he’d be staying up late to watch it himself.
You can watch a trailer for the special, featuring and narrated by Morgan Freeman, here.