Don Lemon Critiques Dave Chappelle Monologue on SNL

Posted By on December 21, 2022

CNNs Don Lemon wondered if there was any point to Dave Chappelles jokes about anti-semitism when the comedian hosted Saturday Night Live over the weekend.

CNN This Morning took time on Monday to discuss Chappelles monologue, where he riffed on the recent anti-Semitism controversies of Kanye West and Kyrie Irving. Chappelle is no stranger to controversy, so his monologue included some edgier comedy as he poked fun at common tropes of anti-Semitism while speaking broadly about cancellation and societys reluctance to broach sensitive topics.

Since the monologue was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, Lemon turned to Audie Cornish for her thoughts, and she argued that Chappelles tangent was constructed to play-act out the idea of cancellation. This led to Lemon asking if it would be hypocritical to get offended by Chappelles comments about Jews if people arent offended by his jokes about trans people and others.

Heres how Cornish made sense of it:

I dont want to police how people hear things because people have the right to be offended and jokes always have a person who is a victim of the joke. That is a fact. Comedians are struggling with the fact that the victims can now speak out and back so theyre accountable for the laughter. But you know, Chappellehes on a pedestal in terms of his position in the culture. SNL puts him after big elections and his show was known basically for straddling the line with spiky commentary on race, et cetera. I think the problem right now is that hes sort of dragging into the limelight a kind of black strain of anti-Semitism from the 90s, but hes not reckoning with it with the same precision that he does with, say, Trump voters.

Cornish eventually arrived at the point that Chappelle, at this moment, didnt exhibit the same kind of social responsibility he felt in the past when people laughed at his material on touchy subjects. As a result, Lemon questioned, Is it culturally productive?

Cornish answered by suggesting a different question of some ironic detachment at play: Is [Chappelle] exposing some cultural truth to your ear, or is he white-washing, echoing, amplifying toxic ideas and laundering them through his own reputation as a comedian?

Is he excusing what Kanye West or Kyrie said or did? Lemon followed up.

I almost think thats not the point, said Cornish. For the jokes, its easy for us to focus on those things, but were reckoning with anti-semitism more broadly in the culture. And this is a very specific cultural platform, and I think how we hear it is in that contextReally its about, are we back to a point its okay to talk in the manner in every sector of life and not expect there to be a social penalty.

Watch above via CNN.

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Don Lemon Critiques Dave Chappelle Monologue on SNL

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