This week, comedian Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special “Sticks and Stones” premiered on Netflix. Given Chappelle’s renowned propensity for openly addressing “controversial” topics with his famous brand of brutal honesty, the stage was set for either rapturous laughter or stunned offense.
As if by clockwork, far-Left outlets slammed Dave Chappelle for daring to approach what they believe should be untouchable topics. Buzzfeed News reported that “In his occasionally funny new Netflix special, Chappelle continues to make anti-trans and victim-blaming jokes. Why can’t he strive to be more thoughtful?” Vice ran a piece titled “You Can Definitely Skip Dave Chappelle’s New Netflix Special ‘Sticks and Stones’”, stating that Dave Chappelle “doubles down on misogyny and transphobia in both the special and the hidden bonus scene that follows.” The Atlantic claimed that Dave Chappelle’s show “continues a chapter of work that whiffs less of irreverence than of irritation and unease.”
Now, it’s clear that comedy is a subjective art and, as a consequence, not everyone will find the same things amusing or entertaining. Each person has differences of opinion regarding what qualifies as funny or offensive and will apply different variables when making this determination.
While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, it is legitimate to argue that just because you can say something does not mean that you necessarily should say something. However, when it comes to comedians, it is quite literally their job to explore the boundaries of social-communicative norms in the pursuit of humor. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they fail. For comedians, “punishment” for failure should be a silent audience and a reduction in ticket sales, rather than public pressure causing them to select topics based on the wishes of the mob, rather than what is and is not amusing.
Unfortunately, there are few comedians who have been able to survive in our modern “woke” culture without having to capitulate to the demands of the mob. Even Kevin Hart, one of the world’s most famous comedians, surrendered to the demands of the mob. Dave Chappelle is one of the comedians who remain unscathed, and his choice of attack during his latest performance proves that he is the comedic hero our society desperately needs.
Some elements of the more radical Left wish to force their subjective interpretations of acceptable humor upon society by making certain topics untouchable. Dave Chappelle fought back against this almost fascistic attempt to control culture by using those topics as a guide, addressing transgenderism, the “Me Too” movement, and abortion. Time after time, Chappelle applied a masterful strategy that uncovered the illogical ideological madness that has spread through radical cultural control.
First, Chappelle seduced members of the audience by encouraging them to resort to their pre-programmed reaction to “woke” rhetoric. Jokes which portrayed the Founding Fathers as racist, or the presentation of a “her body, her choice” abortion argument provided the audience with what seemed like standard political pandering, and they were delighted to respond with rounds of “clapter.” Then, in a neck-breaking pivot, Chappelle repeatedly turned the scenario on its head, thereby uncovering the faulty assumptions taken for granted by the audience.
For example, after receiving applause for drawing the audience together under the banner of “her body, her choice”, Dave Chappelle explained the absurd premise underpinning the “personal choice” pro-abortion argument.
“Gentlemen, that is fair. And ladies, to be fair to us, I also believe that if you decide to have the baby, a man should not have to pay. That’s fair. If you can kill this motherf—er, I can at least abandon them. It’s my money, my choice. And if I’m wrong, then perhaps we’re wrong. Think that shit out for yourselves.”
Not only was this joke alone indicative of the power of Dave Chappelle’s entire performance, but it also stands as proof that Chappelle remains as one of our last hopes for the continued success of un-censored comedy.
Regardless of our political biases or personal opinions of Dave Chappelle’s comedy, we should all support any comedian who is willing to push back against the linguistic control being wielded by the radical Left in our increasingly “woke” culture. If we do not allow comedians like Chappelle to address any topics they desire, then power will be handed to those who wish to control our culture through the subjective censorship of language.
The day comedians become afraid of poking fun at supposedly “controversial” topics will be the day that true comedy has died. Let’s keep comedy alive.