Dave Chappelle SNL Monologue Ignores Anti-Trans Scandal, Mocks Kanye

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Taking main stage at NBC’s Studio 8H on Saturday night, comedian Dave Chappelle used his monologue as host of this week’s “Saturday Night Live” to speak on current events, but declined to discuss anything related to recent anti-trans jokes he told which drew controversy.

Chappelle generated anger last year after the October release of “The Closer,” which included harmful remarks from the 49-year-old comedian about the transgender community and prompted immediate reaction from Netflix staffers. This included a staged walkout from transgender Netflix employees and allies after the streamer’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos defended Chappelle’s harmful jokes as artistic expression, supporting his “creative freedom.”

Instead, Chappelle spent the first stretch of his monologue commenting on rapper Kanye West’s recent antisemitic remarks, opening by saying, “I wanted to read a statement I prepared: I renounce antisemitism in all its forms and stand with my friends in the Jewish community. And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.” He then proceeded to mock Kanye’s antisemitism messages, as well as Kyrie Irving’s recent antisemitic tweet scandal and apology.

Chappelle also made a few jokes that made the audience gasp, including, “I’ve been to Hollywood and this is what I saw: It’s a lot of Jews, it’s a lot. But that doesn’t mean anything. There’s a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Missouri, but that doesn’t mean we run the place.”

West and Chappelle have crossed creative paths before, more particularly during the early aughts of West’s rap career, in which the musician appeared on the Comedy Central series “Chappelle’s Show” as a musical guest. West also performed during an event that Chappelle threw in New York in 2004, which was turned into the documentary film “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.”

This was Chappelle’s third hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live,” and all three gigs came the same week as a contentious national election. It appears as if series creator and showrunner Lorne Michaels has etched the standup as “SNL’s” immediate post-election host for major moments in the country’s political history. Following Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, Chappelle hosted the show for the first time, with the standup’s monologue underscoring his worry about the country’s future but also imploring audiences to give Trump’s presidency a chance. Four years later, during the show’s COVID-impacted season, Chappelle hosted for the second time following a presidential election that saw current President Joe Biden unseat Trump from the presidency.

In terms of this year’s election, he mocked Herschel Walker and the so-called “End of the Trump Era.”

Later in the episode, there was a barbershop-themed sketch that also discussed current events, including more on West, Walker, the election, and pop culture obsessions like “Yellowstone” and Netflix’s “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.”

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