Anyone who frequently catches Dave Chappelle in concert knows that on any given night he might set aside the jokes and simply unload. That's the case in this short but powerful special in which he shares his thoughts on the current state of the world, post-George Floyd, during an outdoor set near his Ohio home. You'll be able to count the jokes on one hand; what you won't be able to keep track of is how many times the artist shakes you to your soul. YouTube
Whodunits remain popular in bookstores and libraries, but Hollywood avoids them like an undetectable poison, which is what makes this modern take on the classic format a treat: It's a visit to a genre so far out of fashion that it actually feels cool again. Daniel Craig plays a Southern-fried detective trying to find the guilty party among an all-star cast of suspects. A sequel is reportedly in the works. Amazon Prime
John Gorka songs
When talking about the greatest artists currently calling Minnesota home, Gorka doesn't come up nearly enough. That's a shame. The singer-songwriter is one of folk's greatest treasures thanks to vulnerable lyrics and the voice of a mournful oboe. During the pandemic, he's been streaming performances of fitting originals ("Ignorance and Privilege") and covers (Janis Ian's "Better Times Will Come"). Gorka is best appreciated in person, but for now, these sparse, somber videos will do. Facebook
It's certainly a time to honor black culture, but this clever series reminds us that there's also room for satire. Anything goes in the latest episode, "Black History Spectacular," including a salute to "the blackest moments in film history," the Roots doing their version of Linus' sermon in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and a spoof of "Downton Abbey" set in a speakeasy. 9 p.m. Friday, AMC
You don't have to be a card-carrying liberal to fall in love with the Ann Richards portrayed in this one-woman play about the late governor. Star Holland Taylor, who also wrote the script, is endearing when she kicks aside the political rhetoric to celebrate the universal appeal of characters with steely dispositions and salty tongues. Turns out everything is indeed bigger in Texas, especially when it comes to a wicked sense of humor. 9 p.m. Friday, TPT, Ch. 2
Alicia Keys: Tiny Desk Concert
Filmed in February after her latest applaudable turn hosting the Grammys, the R&B superstar's first-ever appearance for NPR's charmingly intimate series seems oddly attuned to what has transpired since. She opens with the soothing retro-soul groover "Show Me Love" and then debuts a brilliant, buoyant new song about self-love, "Gramercy Park." By the encore "Fallin'," the "Tiny" set proves hugely comforting. npr.org/tinydesk
'Deacon King Kong'
The newest novel by the National Book Award-winning James McBride is the story of an elderly church deacon named Sportcoat who shoots the local drug dealer at point-blank range. Just named an Oprah Book and called one of the best books of 2019 by the Washington Post, "Deacon King Kong" is breathtakingly funny as well as "cacophonous, slapstick, violent and meditative; it is both frightening and tender, disillusioned and romantic," the Star Tribune noted in its review. And it's just out in paperback. Riverhead Books
Dan Carlin has been called the "king of the long-form podcast," and you wonder if his goal is to make lectures about important wars last longer than the conflicts themselves. The fourth installment of his World War II Pacific theater series, "Supernova in the East," is almost four hours long. It's as exhausting as it is engrossing. Carlin's scholarship and performance are unmatched in the history-podcast genre — passionate, fascinated, horrified, with a narrative style that swoops from the men who planned the war to the miserable holes of the men who fought it. dancarlin.com
Helen Zaltzman's podcast, which she recorded live at Minneapolis' Parkway Theater last year, is a witty, sensible examination of words and how we use them. Sometimes it's about a weird word. Sometimes it's about how a word's meaning has done a 180 over time. Sometimes, as in earlier this month, it goes behind the scenes on a familiar phrase like "Keep calm and carry on." Always, it's smart and funny. theallusionst.com
'Get in the Car, Jane! Adventures in the TV Wasteland'
You'd assume that a sitcom writer who's the brother of the E Street Band's Little Steven and the former husband of Adrienne Barbeau would be one of the coolest cats in Hollywood. But Billy Van Zandt is actually a classic nerd who has worshiped at Lucille Ball's feet while toiling away at network series, some good ("Newhart"), most awful ("The Wayans Bros."). His breezy collection of essays is at its best when Van Zandt dishes on the flops, sharing revealing anecdotes about Penny Marshall, Les Moonves and Elaine Stritch along the way. vanzandtmilmore.com