When Dave Chappelle previously presented “Saturday Night Live,” his primary role was to help audiences find humor in recent news events. This time he was the news event.
But while Chappelle used his stand-up monologue this weekend to comment on a wide variety of topics, including Kanye West’s recent anti-Semitic remarks, the midterm elections and former President Trump’s tenacity, he didn’t go into direct detail about the fallout from his actions. 2021 Netflix special “The Closer”, which was criticized as sexist, homophobic and transphobic.
On stage at “SNL” as the house band played “Try a Little Tenderness,” Chappelle told the audience he would begin with a prepared statement. “I condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms and I stand behind my friends in the Jewish community,” he said, reading from the statement. He then looked up and added, “And that, Kanye, is how you buy some time for yourself.”
In his usual way, Chappelle mocked West, now known as Ye, as he performatively pushed the boundaries of propriety and channeled some of the myths that underpin enduring anti-Semitic stereotypes.
From the beginning of his career, Chappelle said, “I’ve learned that there are two words in the English language that you should never say in a row. And those words are ‘the’ and ‘Jews’.”
He later said in the monologue that he had been to Hollywood and based on his own travels, “There are a lot of Jews. Like, a lot. But that means nothing. There are a lot of black people in Ferguson, Mo. That doesn’t mean they’re running the business.’
The tradition of Chappelle’s post-election performances began in 2016, when he hosted the “SNL” broadcast that followed Donald J. Trump’s surprise presidential victory. On that show, Chappelle held an 11-minute stand-up monologue in which he responded to the news (“America Did It: We Elected an Internet Troll as Our President”) and shared an anecdote about attending a White House party hosted by President Obama with a predominantly black guest list.
“I wish Donald Trump the best of luck,” Chappelle said at the end, “and I’m going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one too.”
Four years later, Chappelle returned to host the “SNL” episode that aired just hours after several news organizations declared the 2020 election in President Biden’s favor. In that monologue, which lasted about 16 minutes, the comedian called it “an incredible day” and, after noting that many white Americans feel pain and fear that go unrecognized, he said he could tell and insisted on a ghost of healing.
“You have to find a way to live your life,” he said. “You have to find a way to forgive each other. You have to find a way to find joy in your existence despite that feeling.”
The following year, Chappelle performed “The Closer,” in which he asked to “address directly to the LBGTQ community,” adding, “I want every member of that community to know that I come here in peace.”
In the routine, Chappelle went on to speak in support of such celebrities as the rapper DaBaby, who had made homophobic comments, and the author JK Rowling, who was criticized as transphobic. “I’m Team TERF,” Chappelle said in the routine. “I agree, dude. Gender is a fact.” He also talked about his friendship with Daphne Dorman, a transgender comedian who died by suicide.
“The Closer” received condemnation from some critics. Netflix employees walked out of the company’s offices and joined a protest with other activists who said Chappelle was endangering transgender people. Netflix said it could have handled the internal debate over “The Closer” better, but did not remove or edit the special, which was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
The announcement that Chappelle was returning to “SNL” itself sparked some ridicule. Terra Field, a former transgender software engineer at Netflix who had said Chappelle’s material marginalized the trans community, wrote in a sarcastic Twitter post: “Wait I thought I canceled it. Is it possible that cancellation culture doesn’t really exist?”
The New York Post reported that some “SNL” writers would not participate in this episode, although a Chappelle representative said in the same report there were no signs of a boycott.
But Chappelle didn’t address these topics in this weekend’s monologue, which instead focused largely on Ye and Kyrie Irving, the NBA star who was banned from the Nets for promoting an anti-Semitic movie on Twitter. (Chappelle said Irving was “nowhere near the Holocaust — in fact, he’s not even sure it existed.”)
He also joked about Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who called Chappelle “perceptibly stupid” and described as “the kind of guy who looks like he’s thinking before making a move on Tic-Tac-Toe.”
And Chappelle revisited Trump and challenged the former president over the seizure of thousands of government documents from his private club in Florida. Chappelle explained that he sometimes stole things from past jobs where he was fired: “Staplers, computer mice, everything. But you know what I never stole from work? Work.”
It was only at the end of his monologue that Chappelle seemed to comment on his own circumstances. Looking again at how Ye had been punished, Chappelle noted, “My first Netflix special, what did I say? I said, I don’t want a sneaker deal. Because as soon as I say something that drives those people crazy, they take my sneakers. ”
Chappelle ended by saying, “It shouldn’t be so scary to talk about something. It’s made my job incredibly difficult and to be honest, I’m getting tired of talking to a crowd like this. I love you to death and I thank you for your support and I hope they don’t take anything from me. Whoever they are.”
Opening sketch of the week
Hours after it was reported that Democrats will retain control of the Senate, “SNL” was on the air with this sketch depicting the deflated hosts of “Fox & Friends” (played by Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, and Bowen Yang) responding on the absence of a red wave in the midterms.
Cecily Strong returned as Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor of Arizona, who vowed she would not “stop fighting until every vote is counted and then some votes are taken away.” The Fox hosts also clumsily tried to cut ties with former President Trump (James Austin Johnson), who argued for airtime while calling for his daughter Tiffany’s wedding.
“What have I done?” he asked. “Was it the uprising?”
‘House of the Dragon’ Parody of the Week
The HBO drama “House of the Dragon” ended its first season a few weeks ago, but if you find yourself missing out on the unique mix of killer palace intrigue and incestuous romance, “SNL” has this filmed segment to win you over.
It’s mostly an excuse for Chappelle to revive some of his “Chappelle’s Show” characters (alongside cameos from Donnell Rawlings and Ice-T) and imagine how they might fit into this fantasy fantasy. big budget series. True devotees also see Johnson as a particularly decrepit King Viserys, which may or may not be a bonus.
Weekend Update jokes of the week
At the Weekend Update desk, Colin Jost and Michael Che argued over the interim results.
The Democrats have retained control of the Senate. I don’t know if that’s really official, but we’re not really a news show, so I’ll name it. I was actually surprised they won, given President Biden’s low ratings. I think Biden is a bit like the ‘Jurassic World’ movies – extremely successful, despite a 42 percent rating. The Republicans, however, are not taking it well. Tucker Carlson, who we see here struggling to get through No-Nut November, criticized the voting process, calling electronic voting machines a threat to democracy. I’m not really that worried about the voting machines. I’m afraid they are served by the oldest people I’ve ever seen. Really, this year the woman who gave me my ballot was wearing two stickers. One that said, “I voted.” And another who said, “I survived the Titanic.”
The main Senate race in Georgia between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker will take place in a second round in December. But Walker offered Warnock $500 just to take care of it, honey. Many black voters in Georgia were frustrated by yet another run-off as the burden of saving the Senate was once again on them. This happens so often, there’s already a movie about it [his screen showed a mocked-up poster for “Tyler Perry’s Madea Saves the Senate”].