Dave Chappelle

By Ron Wynn

Seldom has a 16-minute segment from a television show become as such a discussed factor on the national landscape as Dave Chappelle’s monologue on last weekend’s “Saturday Night Live.” It has totally overwhelmed mention of anything else on the broadcast, and has been the subject of commentaries, retrospectives and think pieces on websites ranging from entertainment to politics, mainstream, alternative and Black locales. Chappelle has been called everything from thoughtful and irreverent to scathing, offensive and knowledgeable for his wide-ranging comments that covered everything from the election to the virus, Trump and the reactions of those who voted for him in last week’s presidential election.

At one point he mocked Trump’s assessment of COVID-19 as the “Kung Fu” and lampooned some of his various suggested remedies for battling it. “How about some bleach? Some bleach directly in your body,” Chappelle said. “Oh boy, the Secret Service is going to have to childproof the White House.” He also didn’t mince words in labeling Trump both “racist” and “hilarious.” Chappelle also said that Trump contracted the disease after “running around like the outbreak monkey.”

Another point he made referred to the late Herman Cain, the former GOP presidential candidate who died of COVID-19. Though it could not be accurately determined when Cain got the virus, he was diagnosed shorty after attending a Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Chappelle asked what kind of a man “makes sure’s he’s OK while his friends fight for their lives and die.”

“A white man” was the answer. “I don’t mean to put this on the whites, but I’ve been Black a long time. I’ve noticed a pattern.”

He also said that it had been a “pretty incredible day” after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared America’s next president and vice president. But he reminded about four years ago when Hillary Clinton lost. Chappelle was also hosting “Saturday Night Live” following that election.

“Remember how bad that felt?” Chappelle asked. He added he understands division and “anguish.”

“But here’s the difference between me and you,” he continued. “You guys hate each other for that, and I don’t hate anybody. I just hate that feeling. That’s what I fight through. That’s what I suggest you fight through,” he said. “You got to find a way to live your life. You got to find a way to forgive each other. You got to find a way to find joy in your existence despite that feeling.”

The general feeling was Dave Chappelle delivered a knockout, though right-wing publications were more critical of his language. But even his detractors credited his comedic brilliance and ability to shift so easily from satiric to serious, topical to personal.