After watching two of the comedy shows performed by Dave Chappelle, The Bird Revelation and Equanimity, I felt pretty offended. I think what made it worse too, was that Chappelle stated how easily people get offended these days, as if current issues featured in the media weren’t already difficult to talk about, he had to disrespect everyone who doesn’t take controversial issues lightly. From the shows, I got the feeling that Chappelle was advocating using language and upholding ideas that are just wrong. For example, in his show, The Bird Revelation, he talks about how the women who were assaulted by famous actors could have just walked away, said no, or hung up the phone, when in reality, assault, and all the things leading up to assault are much more complicated that what Chappelle makes them out to be.
Chappelle’s show was not funny. He didn’t make many jokes that were relatable to people; instead, he simply put down and made fun of individuals who may have experienced horrific acts of violence. He also shames members of the LGBTQ community and doesn’t care how this reflects on himself. He even goes so far as to acknowledge that the LGBTQ community actually really dislikes him. I don’t blame them for it either, I think Chappelle is undermining the progress the LGBTQ community has made for themselves. In Jamie Loftus’ article, Dave Chappelle Can’t Shock Jock His Way Out of the #MeToo Movement, he references a quote of Chappelle’s: “Everything is funny until it happens to you” as his opener to the show on Netflix. I felt that he was using this as a way to justify his “jokes” and soften the blow of offending people. This is not appropriate for any topic revolving around assault. Even if Chappelle was trying to start a conversation about the issues at hand surrounding the alleged assaults by famous actors in Hollywood, he was not doing so with class or in a way that was affective at all. I got the sense that he was endorsing the archaic view that it is the woman’s fault she was assaulted, like when he said “you could have just waked away.” In Jason Zinoman’s article, Dave Chappelle Stumbles into the #MeToo Movement, he agrees that the assaults by men in Hollywood are belittled be Chappelle. I believe this could be potentially dangerous to women and victims because Chappelle does not use his influence to support better treatment of women, instead, he just makes a joke.
In her article, Kevin Spacey Deserves to be Scorned, But Can I Still Watch House of Cards?, Hanna Parkinsons talks about how it is easy to separate art from the artist. I think this is true in many mediums, like paintings, but in standup comedy, I think it is more difficult. In art works like paintings, I think that their meanings are often ambiguous, which allows the viewer to come to their own interpretations and emotional responses to the piece, whereas in comedy, I would assume that the comedian is being very representative of how he or she sees the world around him or her and it’s not up for interpretation. In Dave Chappelle’s Netflix Special, he talks about other famous actor’s behavior and doesn’t condemn it, which I feel is very inappropriate. I am surprised that even though Netflix fired two actors from successful shows, they still put Dave Chappelle’s show up for viewers to watch. Is there any hint of hypocrisy in this?