Dave Chappelle Bridging the Gap or Hurting the Marginalized
“The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live At the Hollywood Palladium” and “Deep In The Heart Of Texas: Live At Austin City Limits”
These new Netflix stand-up comedy shows were recently introduced as Dave Chapelle’s brand new Netflix exclusives. Read more to find out the general attitudes on these new titles. Beware of one or two spoilers.
There are only a couple of mentions of actual material from these new acts. You can expect more or less an in-depth look at a stark contrast to differing viewpoints, as well as, mixed reviews on Chappelle’s general antics. These reviews are assessed as very subjective viewpoints selected from top search results populated by Google’s search engine, Facebook inquiries, and general feedback from various outlets.
The Salt Trap: A 13 Year Hiatus
About 13 years ago in 2004, Dave Chappelle walked away from a multi-million dollar show. He described his experience as being likened unto the way a baboon is caught by an African Bushman using a salt trap. He related himself to the baboon who reaches into a salt trap.
What happens is the baboon gets a hand full of salt but is not able to pull its hand back out of the hole because it is full of salt. He felt that he was stuck in a place where he had it all but wasn’t able to be himself in this environment so explains the beginning of his hiatus.
Finding Himself in Random Places:
He undoubtedly ended up escaping from the spotlight to get his bearings back. During that period, he popped up around the U.S. in random places. It was shortly after I had moved from Tupelo, Mississippi to Long Beach, California when he showed up at my old roommate’s Club in Tupelo. This was sometime in 2012.
My old roommate, Joey Gassaway, ran one of the most happening clubs in town at the time when Chappelle popped in unannounced. He had the opportunity to hang out and talk with Chappelle for a little bit in his office. My old bandmate got some pictures with him too.
You have to understand something about small town life if you’re not familiar with that sort of lifestyle. It’s not too often that a big name celebrity like that comes to a city where it’s still small enough that just about everyone knows everyone else in almost a tri-state area.
That was really a big deal. When that happened, I remember the news of Chapelle showing up in little old Tupelo, MS flooding my feed. He popped up into places like that randomly for a while.
Evil Knievel: Fearlessness in the Face of Supremacy
It has been over a decade ago now since Chappelle premiered as an irreverent comedy star announcing “The Dave Chappelle Show.” In one article, the author compared him to Evil Knievil for his fearlessness in going beyond boundaries with his bold commentaries and sketches on race and racism.
He demonstrated this type of fearlessness through sketches like the one with Clayton Bigsby, the black white supremacist. This sketch was based on a blind black man who was a white supremacist. The kicker is that he hates black people with a passion, but the irony is that he is actually black. He just doesn’t know he is black because he is blind.
Sketches like this, are difficult to take offense to because they are so ridiculous. At the same time, it’s just about as ridiculous as the notion of the existence of a white supremacist in the first place.
One of his most popular sketches involved Charlie Murphy, Eddie Murphy’s brother, telling stories about how he used to hang out with Rick James in the sketch, “Charlie Murphy’s ‘True Hollywood Story.'” It was so popular, that for a while, seeing a meme or hearing someone make reference to that sketch was unavoidable.
Bridging the Gap and Making Fun of Ridiculous Stereotypes:
Many people have credited Dave Chappelle for bridging a gap between white and black people with his humor because a lot of his sketches seem to include material that both white and black people can relate to in a sense. It’s something that both white and black people are allowed to laugh at.
It’s something that those of all ethnic backgrounds felt like they could freely laugh at. At least that is how it seems that a lot of his fans feel. He is not being quite so warmly received everywhere, though.
For example, critics are not happy with the way that he has portrayed marginalized groups of people. According to the author of another popular article found on Google’s search engine, Chappelle does not do an adequate job of being mindful of intersectionality. Intersectionality infers the ability of an individual to be mindful of how they relate to other individuals.
Intersectionality and Consideration for Marginalized Groups:
This author claims that he fails to be mindful of the struggles of marginalized individuals. They feel that he fails to include characters or the type of jokes that represent a viewpoint from anyone other than a straight black male.
They go on to use examples of various sketches such as “Election Night” from SNL, in which they include characters that represent white men, white women, and black men but fail to include either of the black female cast members.
However, it was reported here that Chappelle is credited for helping SNL to receive its highest ratings of the season by appearing on the show during the time this sketch aired. Considering the high ratings, it appears that there are enough viewers who are willing to overlook this issue.
The author goes on to point out that they feel that by making fun of homosexuals, transexuals, rape culture, and more offensive topics he has alienated marginalized individuals. They feel that he has in fact contributed to their marginalization.
The author of this article feels that since these marginalized individuals have been given more of a voice as of late, that it is the main reason why he is experiencing so much backlash from critics.
Backlash from LGBT Activist Groups:
The author of another popular article seemed to back up the sentiments of the previous article by echoing this viewpoint that over the last decade LGBT Activists have become more vocal. They pointed out that LGBT activists were especially angered by a specific joke that he made.
They mentioned how Chappelle made fun of transsexuals by questioning what LGBTQ stood for, specifically the Q. He said it is because the Q is a vowel, which can sometimes mean “Y” as in “why would you do that?” He was referring to having the surgery to become transsexual. Many activists are accusing him of being transphobic now.
A Beloved Comedian Returns: Considering Anticipation and Expectation Versus Reality
In another sort of mixed reception of Dave Chappelle’s new show, the author of another popular article goes on and on about how much he loves Chappelle but then admits that he, too, believes that he lacks intersectionality. He also explained how he expected a little bit more of a twist from him. He mentioned that he kept waiting for the punchline that never came.
It seems to me that the author of this article was probably more-so disappointed that it seemed like he was beating a dead horse, rehashing old material, and relying on cheap jokes to entertain the audience. In other words, instead of providing the element of surprise that so many had counted on, that gave him his edge, the author felt like he was getting cheated.
The author of this article admitted that he still laughed throughout the new show. I wonder if maybe this author didn’t just hype it up for himself to the point where he ended up being disappointed because he expected so much more. I am inclined to think that because the author of this article was only about 12 years old when The Chappelle Show first came out, maybe Chappelle’s comedy has stayed the same but this particular author’s tastes may have changed a little.
Surprise Stand-Up Show in WEHO: Announcing The Big Return With an All-star Crowd
You might not know, but WEHO stands for West Hollywood in Los Angeles, California. On Monday, March 20’th, that was where Dave Chappelle celebrated the release of his new show on Netflix. It was a small gathering. Only 85 were in attendance. Among them were star-studded guests and popular musical acts along with surprise guest, Stevie Wonder, on harmonica.
Chappelle had a few things to say about the show, himself. He seemed to be a little apprehensive about how his new show would be received. He explained that he knew he had some jokes about the transgendered individuals that, though were not meant to be taken with malicious intent, he knew would undoubtedly offend. He seemed to be a little concerned that he might get trolled much like Amy Schumer, with unusually low ratings.
When requesting feedback from those who had seen his new act, from my personal friends’ list, I got a raving response. The responses were mostly from straight men of varying ethnicities. None of them were women and none of them were black, though. However, out of about 10 different people, not a single person had anything bad to say about it.
It seemed like they all agreed that since he is a comedian, especially one with a reputation for pushing the limits with crude jokes, they voiced that of course critics would be hard on him. Lots of comedians make fun of societal norms and from their own personal viewpoint, if not from the viewpoint of whatever character they are attempting to portray on stage.
What many people also seem to agree about is the fact that he is pretty consistent within the realm of what he can be expected to offer. He has always managed to get people stirred up, but for as bent out of shape as a lot of people seem to be over some of his crude remarks, he still has an audience that keeps coming back for more to see what he has up his sleeve next.
He has left many people in suspense for a long time and the way some of his fans have received him seems to have to do with the way they have hyped him up in their minds. Some were satisfied. They got what they expected. Others hyped it up so much that they might not have been satisfied regardless of how cutting edge his material may have really been.
I asked Ronald Mitchell, a producer friend of mine who is a straight black male with a reputation for being thoroughly educated on black history, what his take on the new Chappelle series was. He summed it up by saying, “They say that Comedy is the resolution of paradox, and he exemplifies that sentiment in his work and life. I personally feel he’s a man of great integrity for not selling his soul for money.”
He mentioned how they tried to force Chappelle to wear a dress but he refused. He also mentioned how it was important for him to be there for his father on his deathbed, but because of the demands of executives who produced his show, he was unable to do so.
He calls his new material “cynical” but “grounded in reality.” He compared him to some of the other historically great comedians who have passed stating, “I feel he ranks up there with the likes of Richard Pryor, Red Fox, and Paul Mooney and I feel the genuine concern he has for concerning race in this Country. I’m not in love with all of his works, but the authenticity he brings to bear on the craft of Comedy cannot be denied!”
General Feedback from Other Various Places on the Web
Feedback from varying sources on the Internet, shows evidence that Chappelle’s audience was mainly composed of straight men of a variety of different ethnic backgrounds. It also seems as though all different races, sexes, and people of different orientations have found humor in the original sketches that took over the net when the infamous sketch with Charlie Murphy, Rick James, and Prince became popularized.
There will always be critics who do not receive a comedic act well. The very reasons why particular groups of people become upset are often the same reasons for the successes of that act. In fact, we have seen similar feedback from public figures, such as, not only Amy Schumer, but also Tosh.O.
Any act that is particularly offensive or that pushes boundaries to the point where they go beyond what is socially acceptable, seems to have a certain appeal. What seems to make Chappelle’s appeal slightly different from comedy that it’s praised simply for being offensive is his ability to poke fun at societal issues such as racism in a way that many people, white, black or otherwise are inclined to justify and accept it.
Societal Issues and Discomfort: Why Racial Comedy is a Challenge
Many people believe that because he is a black man, it is safer for him to poke fun at himself and people who can identify with him. Otherwise, if he were a white man poking fun of racial tensions, he might not be received quite so warmly based on the fact that over the last century there have been so many cases of severe social injustices against the black community.
Although some would undoubtedly debate these ideals, many also believe that racism is still deeply embedded in our institutions. Regardless of what anyone believes the fact that there have been such horribly wretched things that have happened, even just considering what has been documented in our recent history, to the black community it makes racism a sensitive subject for just about anyone to touch regardless of who they are.
What Sticks Out the Most?
It appears that what has stuck out to many people about Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix series is the way he so unapologetically made fun of the trans community.
Kendall Jenner was at his secret stand-up party in West Hollywood and he even warned her that he made fun of her dad, but not with “malicious intent.” This shows that even he knew that he may have gone a little far especially considering the state of our current political environment.
Regardless of what negative backlash he may have received from various groups or individuals, numbers appear to show that whatever he is doing, or has done is definitely working for him. Now that you have caught a small glimpse of a varying personal opinions regarding general attitudes toward Chappelle’s past and current techniques you should have a decent idea of what the general public is saying.
How do Major Critics Feel he is Measuring Up?
To find out more about what some of the major publications are saying in regards to his new Netflix series visit this link. Have you seen the new series? Be sure to leave a comment below to let us know what your personal opinion is.
Do you think he is hurting or helping? Do you think he is brilliant or do you think he is being insensitive? Do you think he has changed for the better, stayed the same, or do you think his material is lacking? Once again, let us know in the comments below.