Comedian Dave Chappelle makes headlines for controversial SNL monologue


Tribune News Service

Dave Chappelle during the Astroworld Festival at NRG Park in Houston on Nov. 9, 2019. (Trish Badger/imageSPACE/Zuma Press/TNS)

Ava Jurick, Writer

Controversial stand-up comedian and actor, Dave Chappelle, hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL), a late night comedy show that hosts guests and musical performances, on Saturday, Nov. 12. This was the comedian’s first time performing stand up since he had to confront the controversy revolving around his jokes about transgender people on a Netflix comedy special called ‘The Closer.’

“It’s weird, because I wasn’t trans before the vaccine,” Chappelle said in the special.

Following the negative feedback from the show for his transphobic comments, Chappelle has kept a relatively low profile. Hosting SNL was the first time Chapelle has done a show since the release of his special.

He opened SNL with a monologue making jokes about people making fun of “The Jews” and the controversy revolving around artist Kanye West, who he is associated with.

“I watched the SNL monologue with Dave Chappelle which I thought was funny. However, some parts of the monologue did cross the line,” senior Lindsay Nattis said.

“I denounce antisemitism in all its forms and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community. And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time,” Chappele said in the first line of his monologue.

While it started off fairly lighthearted, as it continued it felt like he was mocking anti-semetism because he kept going on about certain groups of people instead of leaving it at one joke.

“I thought it was interesting to see that Chappellle mostly talked about anti-semetic people including Kanye West and Kyrie Irving instead of himself,” sophomore Jared Russinoff said.

Chappelle also joked about West’s anti-semetic tweets about “going DEFCON three on Jewish people,” which shocked a large portion of the audience causing the whole crowd to go silent. He also discussed how Adidas cut ties with West.

“Ironically, Adidas was founded by Nazis, and even they were offended. I guess the students have surpassed the teachers,” Chapelle said in the special.

The comedian also made references to NBA player Kyrie Irving that mentioned how he linked an anti-semetic Holocaust documentary on his Twitter account called “Hebrew to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.”

Chappelle made more comments talking about Jewish people throughout the remainder of the show.

“I’ve been to Hollywood and this is just what I saw: It’s a lot of Jews, like a lot,” Chappelle said.

West has also stated that Jewish people run the business industry. Chappelle also made reference to Jewish people running around Hollywood.

“It was slightly offensive that Chappelle almost agreed with Kanye West in the aspect of Jeiwhs people running around Hollywood,” senior Olivia Binder said.

A writer named Adam Fedlman tweeted that the monologue did more harm then good and almost “normalized antisemitism.” Chappelle went very in depth on the jokes which led people to believe he was justifying West’s antisemitism.

“If they’re Black, then it’s a gang. If they’re Italian, it’s a mob. If they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence and you should never speak about it,” Chappelle said.

This “joke” discussed not only Jews, but also other groups of people who are subject to discrimination.

“The whole audience was laughing until it just got too much for them. His whole monologue was just discussing anti-semitism,” junior Lauren Buchwald said.

Chappelle’s monologue was abnormally long for an SNL opening, being about 15 minutes. He alluded to his past controversy towards the end about him being transphobic.“It shouldn’t be this scary to talk about anything,” Chapelle said.

Chappelle feels his abilities to make comedic commentary is prevented by people who find jokes offensive.

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights antisemitism, found his monologue extremely anti-semetic and stated that he was “popularizing” antisemitism.

“We shouldn’t expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society’s moral compass, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not just normalize but popularize #antisemitism,” The League’s Chief executive officer, Jonathan Greenblat, tweeted on Nov. 13.

“I think David Chappelle is a great comedian but he tends to go too far when it comes to discussing certain groups of people,” senior Skylar Bons said.

Chappelle also discussed politics by referencing former President Donald Trump and how he is a “smart man.” He calls Trump an honest liar and says the political system is rigged and that he uses that political system. This statement shocked viewers because he made it seem that he was in support of the previous president.

Chappelle’s SNL monologue did spark discussion and controversy on where the line is drawn from being comedic to discriminating. It will be interesting to see the response Chappelle makes to the viewers and if he will ever be invited back to SNL.