If you’re looking for a new show to watch during this indefinite quarantine, look no further than FXX’s “Dave.” This plucky yet surprisingly touching narrative was created by and stars Dave Burd, who is perhaps most well known by his rap name, Lil Dicky.
The semi-autobiographical comedy follows Burd’s journey from a struggling, no-name artist to a rap star. He leaves his comfortable, suburban, upper-middle-class life in the suburbs of Philadelphia to pursue his musical dreams in Los Angeles with neither significant funds nor popularity. While he’s known as a satirical rapper, both in real life and in the show, Burd fervently believes he is one of the greatest rappers alive and will do anything to ensure others take him seriously as an artist.
“Dave” is as entertaining as Dicky’s actual career. While, in the show, Dave neither wonders the best ways to “$ave Dat Money” nor is accompanied by a cerebral counterpart, the show still manages to capture the outrageousness of Lil Dicky. But, there is much more to “Dave” than the star’s neuroticism may suggest.
Between the star cameos and immature jokes of “Dave” lie moments of endearment and, often, unchecked vulnerability. What underlies its story are audacious messages of self-love that are often conveyed in unorthodox, yet moving, ways.
“Dave,” quintessentially, is about being comfortable with who you are. Although it is the brunt of many jokes, Burd’s appearance is the means through which lessons of self-acceptance are communicated. Many instances, and even an entire episode, are based around Burd’s genital inspiration of the Lil Dicky moniker — while they’re often hilarious, they’re also increasingly relatable.
Similarly, GaTa, Burd’s real-life and television hype man, delivers a beautiful performance in the fifth episode, when his character reveals that he is suffering from bipolar disorder, which mirrors GaTa’s actual experience.
Aside from GaTa’s performance, the fifth episode is incredible for underscoring a topic that remains relatively inconspicuous not only within the rap community but among society in general: mental health. As GaTa said in an interview with ABC News Radio, mental health often goes unmentioned in the black community as well.
“But in the black community, people [are] not really [talking about mental health],” GaTa said. “They’re ashamed to be like, ‘Hey, man, I need help.’ And … being a man asking for help makes you look weak.”
Up to this point in the show, GaTa is portrayed with high energy and an optimistic attitude. To then suddenly see him depressed and emotional while openly expressing his struggles to other characters is viscerally moving and immensely important. This episode sheds light on an issue that often does not receive the attention it so desperately needs, and it does so with a character hailing from a community wherein mental health is seemingly overshadowed.
Behind the middle school banter from which “Dave” sometimes ails are powerful lessons from which audiences can learn. The ways these messages are relayed are unconventional, to say the least.
Nonetheless, “Dave,” as whimsical as it is, adroitly manages to personify what it means to be comfortable in your own skin without being bogged down by clichés. Its idiosyncrasies make a comedy that revolves around an anxious, satirical rapper surprisingly moving.