Dave Chappelle’s disappointing monologue on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Dave Chappelle tried his hardest streak on Saturday Night Live this week.

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Matt Petty/AMPAS via Getty Images

Dave Chappelle tried his hardest streak on Saturday Night Live this week.

Matt Petty/AMPAS via Getty Images

Nobody walks a rhetorical tightrope so brilliantly as Dave Chappelle.

This thought bothered me while watching Chappelle’s much awaited appearance last night Saturday Night LiveThe guest-hosting periods after major election events have become a tradition.

But Chappelle did not dedicate much of his monologue to the midterm elections, despite news earlier in the day that Democrats had defied expectations that they would likely retain control of the Senate. He spent more time talking about Kanye West and anti-Semitism.

“At the beginning of my career, I learned there were two words you should never say together,” Chappelle remarked during his opening monologue. “These words… ‘the’ and ‘Jews.’ I have not heard anyone do good after he said that.”


Chappelle was already a controversial guest; Critics – myself included – have slammed his 2021 Netflix special the closest For his anti-gay and transgender jokes. He did not apologize. As I said in my review, Chappelle seems to think he is above criticism; To him, race seemed to trump everyone.

This business style was on full display on Saturday night. When his monologue unfolded, Chappelle negotiated a fine line—admitting that West, now known as Ye, had said such terrible things that even Adidas, founded by brothers who were Nazi Party members in the 1930s, was offended (“I think the student’s superiority over Teacher.”) But at the same time, the comic book seems to suggest that Yi’s scathing criticisms of Jews who control the media and show business — echoing classic anti-Semitic metaphors — weren’t entirely untrue. (“I’ve been to Hollywood—there are a lot of Jews,” he cracked, “Like, a lot.”).

He also joked about Brooklyn Nets star Keri Irving, who was suspended after posting a link to an antisemitic movie called From Hebrew to Negro: Wake Up Black AmericaThis confirms that the Holocaust never happened. Chappelle noted that Irving’s “Black A-was nowhere near as close to the Holocaust.”

One line in particular seemed to stun the audience, before they applauded intermittently: “I know the Jewish people have gone through some terrible things all over the world. But you can’t blame black Americans for that.”

I don’t know what this has to do with a professional athlete posting a link to an anti-Semitic movie without explanation – and then taking several long days to disavow the movie’s antisemitic content.

What I do know is that one of the most daring and decisive comedic voices had a chance to command insight into the long struggle that black America fought with anti-Semitism. Instead, his monologue seemed full of justification and belittlement—failing to mention, for example, allegations that Ye expressed admiration for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Yes, comedy is not a news report. But if we want to raise the bar for skilled performers like Chappelle—because there is a sense that their work also contains powerful truths about society and life—we also have to take note when they present material that does the opposite and obscures an issue that ought to be cut and dried.

rest chapel Saturday Night Live The episode turned out to be better than average. A pre-recorded parody of HBO Dragon House Features additional black characters, some inspired by characters from the legendary Comedy Central Chapelle Show (And Ice T as Light Skinned Larry Targaryen) was in particular.


Another clip shows white announcers joking with a black blues artist about his album title Potato hole – until he told them it was a cleft dug by slaves to hide their most valuable possessions from the plantation owners – he also scored.

But Chappelle’s monologue really messed me up. Another moment when an artist who is a fan of illuminating issues in surprising ways chose a different path, leaving us all frustrated in the process.

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