Chappelle’s Final Show Is A Magic Act

I would have preferred this be a show about a baseball player played by Chappelle who pitches in the 9th inning

In 2018, I reviewed two of Chappelle’s Netflix specials. My point in that article was that Dave Chappelle — not necessarily an activist but — a black man who seems like he has a problem with racism, is shooting himself in the foot by going on a crusade against “political correctness,” or the more modern term “cancel culture.”

The reason why I felt that he’s shooting himself in the foot is because a critique of racism in America is essentially a critique against the status quo. America is a country that is built off of race-based slavery and race-based genocide and it hasn’t necessarily reversed the course of its roots. You can see what I mean by that by looking at the constant modern public executions of black people all over television and social media. There are many names we know simply because we know them as victims of state-sanctioned murder: George Floyd, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, the list goes on.

Hopefully at this point in this writing we’ve established that: America is racist in its roots and racist today. So a challenge to racism is a challenge to the status quo of America. Following? Good.

Now here’s the next point I intended to go to with my original article: These ideas of “Cancel culture” and “political correctness” are tools oft-used by the right to censor people who challenge the status-quo — sometimes people who challenge the status quo by their very own existence. One error I maybe made in the original article is that I didn’t provide enough evidence of that.

Not to say that it’s hard to find evidence of that! There’s a plethora of articles, books, interviews, whatever you could imagine that argue that “cancel culture” has made it hard to be a white man.

Joe Rogan once said…it’ll eventually get to a point where straight White men aren’t allowed to talk because it’s your privilege to express yourself when other people of color have been silenced throughout history,”

Fox News superstar Tucker Carlson once clamored for… not someone who’s like a Klansman or anything, but someone who’s totally unbound by P.C. rules, who will just say whatever the hell he wants

Former President George H.W. Bush once started a speech withThe notion of ‘political correctness’ has ignited controversy across the land” and followed up that statement with “…And although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism, sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudices with new ones.

President H.W. Bush laid it out perfectly: people who call out oppression, you are the true oppressor. That’s what the base of these anti-PC and anti-cancel culture crusades are. It never started as a genuine concern to put a stop to mob mentality or whatever slippery slope these figures come up with. It’s a demented reversal of reality.

I’m serious. As the book “The Myth of Political Correctness” accurately points out, one of the people who helped popularize the crusade against “political correctness” — Dinesh D’Souza, — wrote an article outing his gay classmates. One of those classmates reportedly considered suicide. Is that not cancel culture?

Why isn’t ProfessorWatchlist, a site ran by right-wing group Turning Point USA to monitor leftist professors cancel culture? Were the bipartisan attacks on Ilhan Omar for criticizing Israel cancel culture or political correctness? Did any of the anti-PC crusade people defend her there?

It’s a scam! None of this rhetoric benefits oppressed people at all. So I wonder why someone like Dave Chappelle would perpetuate the scam. And why so comedians in general do. I don’t think I actually wonder that. Chappelle is probably just a liberal with right wing tendencies. Those aren’t rare.

Jerry Seinfeld perpetuating the myth makes sense. Accountability for dating a 17 year old at the age of 38 doesn’t sound great. I get why Obama went on a crusade against cancel culture. He’s a war criminal and probably doesn’t want to take accountability for it. But why are we listening to cowards moan about it all the time? I do not care about your burning aversion to accountability.

But anyway, I watched the new Dave Chappelle special. I didn’t really care to at first. I didn’t want to get bored hearing Chappelle narcissistically defend his cowardice in convoluted ways all over again, but the dialogue around this special was a bit different from the other ones. Some people were saying that Chappelle is criticizing white members of the LGBTQ community this time. And so I watched.

It was…mostly what I predicted it would be. Averse to accountability. Again. Plain lazy at times. Evoked a few laughs but not enough to be worth sitting there for an hour.

When I say lazy, I just mean…stuff you can debunk in a few minutes. And I know Chappelle’s not writing a college paper when he’s writing his jokes, but man, this is Mr. 60 million dollars.

Lazily writing jokes about DaBaby killing a black man in Wal-Mart and getting off just fine but facing consequences for being homophobic. It’s such a lazy comparison to make because DaBaby was defending his family from a person with a gun in the former incident. In the latter incident, I don’t think he was defending his family from a gay guy with a gun by alluding to gay people having aids.

Oh, I have a clever joke idea. What if I said a really homophobic man like Mike Pence is secretly gay? No one’s ever done that one before. Groan.

So later it goes deeper into the nuance people were talking about. He goes on to tell a story about getting into an altercation with a gay white man and the gay white man calls the police. Chappelle says “And this, this thing I am describing is a major issue that I have with that community. Gay people are minorities, until they need to be White again.”

And this, this thing I am describing is a major issue that I have with that community. Gay people are minorities, until they need to be White again.

It’s a magic trick. The most important aspect of a magic trick is redirection. Chappelle wants you to think that his point is that members of the LGBTQ community can be racist.

But it’s just another tool to reach his ultimate goal as a modern comedian — avoid accountability by making an oppressed group look like the real bullies.

Right after making his point about it actually being about white members of the LGBTQ community, peep this: he defends transphobic Harry Potter author JK Rowling. He then declares he too is a TERF because gender as he understands it is a FACT or whatever.

But wait, Chappelle. I thought this was about how white LGBTQ people can be racist. Why did white woman JK Rowling get brought into this? Transphobic and probably racist white woman JK Rowling who wrote a black character in her lil book universe with SHACKLE in his name. I’m just saying.

I genuinely feel like Chappelle is strategically throwing “white” in front of his critique to justify it. He did it with women too. He did a weak little point about why as a man he thinks women mishandled the MeToo movement, and he threw “white” in front of these women he was criticizing. Ignoring the fact a black woman started that movement. It’s just a convenient crutch to just say “well I mean the white ones.”

Anyway, you might think I’m being overly critical. But I think it’s important. I have a metaphor to drive my point home. Say you’re in a battle and you have to eliminate your enemy. But you don’t have any weapons like a gun or a sword or spear or anything on you. You might just start grabbing whatever is near you to use as a weapon. Like, a nearby rock or something.

That’s a metaphor for how Chappelle’s elimination target is accountability and the nearby rock that he didn’t originally show up to the battle with is his invocation of whiteness. It’s just him doing whatever it takes to win, not a genuine approach. I’m calling bullshit on his claim that he’s been criticizing specifically the white LGBTQ and white women all along. Because he doesn’t even consistently do that in this special.

But the most fucked up part in my opinion was the end. Chappelle begins talking about a trans friend who loves his jokes, including the ones he makes about the LGBTQ community. She always laughs, she respects his art, and she was a comedian too, although one of much lesser experience.

It was fine. It gave me vibes of Paula Deen getting in trouble for saying the n word and then having Steve Harvey on her show to make up for it, but still. I enjoyed the little anecdote about how he would let her open for him and he would give her tips to become better.

But then he says his friend defended him on twitter from the accusations of transphobia. And she received backlash too. And from here, Chappelle goes really low. Lower than I thought he could go.

He talks about how his trans friend killed herself. And implied it may have been because of all the backlash from the trans community. Essentially saying “my trans friend’s death might be the trans community’s fault.”

That was fucked. I honestly couldn’t believe he went in that direction. It wasn’t a joke. It was a serious point he was trying to make. And that goes back to what I was always getting at. Chappelle is on a crusade to avoid accountability. These type of crusades often reverse reality.

And Chappelle ended his — for now — final special making the trans community the oppressors that led to his trans friend’s death.

Thanks for reading.

Bonus: Look at this fucking stupid defense of Chappelle’s special by Bill Maher

“New rule: I’m a fucking idiot”



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store