Dave Chappelle has everyone pissed off again.
Hours after the release of his latest comedy special, Stick & Stones on Netflix Monday, outrage ensued that was both passionate and predictable.
Cries from political correct police and social justice warriors rang loud as Chapelle brilliantly worked his way through society’s hottest and most push-button topics.
Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Jussie Smollett, the LGBTQ community, you name it; the DC-native decided to speak his mind on any and everything and he didn’t hold back, not one bit.
Whats so great about DAVE CHAPPELLE is he doesnt care if he says the "wrong" shit, he doesn't give a fuck if he gets cancelled. He cancelled himself for 10 years and just left the scene on his own. He'll say what he feels & does not care what you think#TrueComedy #FreeSpeech
— R.A. the Rugged Man (@RAtheRuggedMan) August 28, 2019
However, despite the title of the special and history of Dave’s work, his words did exactly what he hoped — or didn’t hope, depending on how you look at it — to avoid: offend.
From accusations of punching-down to being called a victim shamer with an anti-PC shtick that is “boring and predictable,” the takes came in hot and heavy for the 46-year-old now Ohio resident.
Of course, there were praises of genius from his contemporaries and, as you’d expect, tons of fanfare. And for the second and third time since coming back from Africa, the man who had us laughing at slave beatings is getting grilled and reprimanded.
It’s almost as if people thought the backlash from his comeback specials in 2017 — The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood Palladium, Equanimity, and the Bird Revelation — would somehow set him straight; as if all he needed was a couple of scathing reviews to help him see how things worked after his decade-long hiatus from Hollywood.
Dave Chappelle is free to say what he wants because he did not trade his character for money! And now the powers that be know they cant hold money over his head! And i fucking love it!!!! #DaveChappelle thank you!
— AG (@Rated_AG34) August 28, 2019
VICE dropped a piece saying Dave is “tarnishing his own legacy” while The Ringer compared him to Aziz Ansari saying, “The latter is circumspect and performatively torn” in his latest comedy routines, while the former is regrettably “openly combative.” In other words, Aziz appears to have learned his lesson while Dave has not.
And they’re right, Dave Chappelle hasn’t learned his lesson and won’t be learning it anytime soon — however, both comedy and our society are better for it.
It appears people have forgotten the provocative skits on the Chappelle’s Show, like getting Oprah pregnant, the blind white Black supremacist piece or his infamous R. Kelly bit that will go down in sketch comedy history.
Before Sticks & Stones and before the two controversial specials he dropped two years ago, Dave’s content was incredibly insensitive. He made fun of kidnap victims, the blind, the rich, the poor, drug addicts and more. Dave has always been offensive; it just so happens that his career’s resurgence is now getting caught in the crosshairs of PC and cancel culture. Still, he’s clearly not changing.
In one particular segment of the special that’s being previewed online, Dave uses impressions to call out the audience on this idea of canceling someone.
“This is my impression of the Founding Fathers of America when the Constitution was being written: ‘Hurry up and finish that Constitution nigger, I’m trying to get some sleep,’ Chappelle says, to uproarious laughter from the crowd.
“The next one’s a little harder,” Chappelle says, asking the audience to try “to guess who it is. ‘Uh, Duh… Hey, der, if you do anything wrong in your life, and I find out about it, I’m going to try take everything away from. I don’t care what I find out. It could be today, tomorrow, fifteen, twenty years from now — If I find out, you’re fucking….duh…finished.’
Good lord Dave Chapelle is so smart . that why he’s such a brilliant comedian . pic.twitter.com/1YdDIg72BS
— Shem Sham Shame (@ShemShamShame) August 26, 2019
In the clip you can hear the audience guessing out “Trump,” but it hits home when he points at them and says, “it’s you.”
Not for nothing, but the sensitivities who he offended as well as the real-life manifestations of homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, as all realities that should not be ignored, and is something that Dave also doesn’t completely dismiss.
During the special, he talks about using the N-word versus using the F-word in a well thought out bit where he describes how during Chappelle’s Show one of the few times he got in trouble was when he was called out for using the latter slur.
In the story, Dave concedes and apologizes to his boss but before he leaves, he asks why it was okay to use to former slur and the latter. His boss responds by saying he can’t say the F-word because he’s not gay, to which he responds, “well….I’m not an N-word either.” The punchline not only brought forth roars from the audience but was thought-provoking to the point that had people clapping on their feet.
Dave Chappelle’s special is exactly what the world needs right now
— lil duval (@lilduval) August 28, 2019
Similarly, at the end of the special, Netflix followed Chappelle’s performance with an epilogue called “The Punchline,” where the comedian gives anyone the chance to pick apart his thought process for the jokes.
It was here when he acknowledged that his latest routine might offend many. But he said his act is not intended to hurt, even if that’s ultimately the end result.
“I’ve been telling these jokes and sometimes [people] look like they’re in actual pain over the jokes,” he said. “None of it is that bad to me, but I understand why it could hurt some people’s feelings.”
Dave Chappelle isn’t trying to hurt just anyone — he wants to hurt everyone and he doesn’t want rules on who gets it and who doesn’t.
Chapelle critiquing culture is important and necessary. It’s all about exposing incongruities; making fun of people equally is a part of comedy. The moment a subject becomes untouchable, it becomes that much more taboo, making it more awkward and out of the norm than what the joke ever could have initially done.
You cannot control humor or what makes something humorous. It’s a coping mechanism to how we experience pain and can relate. All Dave Chappelle is trying to do is preserve that.
No one is above jokes. Not your dead grandma, not Michael J. Fox and his shakes nor the LGBTQ community. It’s hard to say if the outrage that follows Dave’s specials nowadays will ever stop, but one can hope that one day they see the jokes as inclusion and not exclusion.