For the first time since he received harsh criticism for jokes mocking transgender people, comedian Dave Chappelle hosted “Saturday Night Live,” and he began the program with a protracted monologue about “the Jews” — specifically, the controversy surrounding rapper Kanye West’s recent antisemitic remarks.
Chappelle skated along the lines he was criticizing in the protracted monologue, insisting he was not antisemitic while claiming that “it’s not a strange thing to suppose” that Jews run Hollywood and implying that Jews have been using Black people as scapegoats for their historic suffering.
Although most of the audience laughed, one joke was met with silence. Immediately after the performance, condemnation increased online, with Time Out New York’s theatrical reviewer tweeting: “That Dave Chappelle SNL monologue probably accomplished more to mainstream anti-Semitism than anything else.”
Chappelle also attempted to address his near-cancellation by examining the public and corporate backlash to West in an unusually explosive appearance for an SNL host — with speculations that some of the show’s writers would boycott in protest.
I repudiate antisemitism in all its forms, Chappelle read aloud from a small piece of paper as the procedure got underway.
That, Kanye, is how you buy some time. And I stand with my friends in the Jewish community.
He then mocked West’s threat to go “death con 3” on Jews and the rapper’s boast that Adidas, his former corporate partner, would not dare sever ties with him.
He continued by explaining that throughout his 35-year comedy career, he has learned that there are “two words in the English language that you should never say together in sequence: “The” and “Jews.” Days later, West’s relationship with the sneaker brand ended.
Ironically, Nazis founded Adidas, and they were offended, Chappelle added. I suppose the pupil outperformed the teacher.
Chappelle, an African-American who frequently parodies the Black community while also making fun of white people’s overt and covert racism, walked a similarly fine line when analyzing West’s antisemitism.
He added a trademark pause before saying, “I’ve been to Hollywood and — no one gets furious at me — I’m just telling you what I observed.”
“There are many Jews. He hastily added, “But that doesn’t mean anything! “to the anxious laughter of the crowd in the NBC studio in Manhattan.
You get what I’m saying? Ferguson, Missouri, has a large Black population, but that does not mean we control it.