In the chaotic aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, few entertainment figures struck a calmer note than Dave Chappelle, who urged America in an “SNL” monologue to “give Trump a chance.” More recently, while promoting a series of standup performances at Radio City Music Hall by appearing on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Chappelle revised his assessment of Trump by calling him “a bad DJ at a good party.”
However, in the August 12 edition of his 14-night residency at Radio City, Chappelle had a much more extreme assessment of the president in light of reports about the chaotic white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Tonight is different from all other nights because there’s a racist apocalypse going on in Charlottesville,” Chappelle said. He referred to his line from the Colbert interview and said he wanted to update it. “Fuck Donald Trump,” Chappelle said. “All this nigga can play is old white people music.” The crowd reacted with an extended standing ovation.
He added, “Everything he does wrong embarrasses me.”
Chappelle’s stand-up was preceded by several openers from “SNL,” including Lesli Jones and “Weekend Update” co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che. Many of them referenced Trump, including Che, who joked, “If Trump was the president of some other country, he’d be hilarious.”
As usual, Chappelle excelled at the kind of racially-tinged humor that has been the cornerstone of his career, and joked that he loved white people because the room would be nearly empty if none of them showed up. But several of his jokes referred to the specific political climate, including an extended bit about Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military (for which the comedian has already been criticized) and another one where he compared his experience voting for Hillary Clinton to a very lewd bedroom incident. He also talked about the aftermath of his “SNL” monologue, when much of the media characterized him as a Trump supporter while he was on the road.
Even as much of Chappelle’s routine for the evening recycled material from other nights, he regularly came back to the issue of Trump. “He should resign,” Chappelle said. He’s making America hate itself.” Later, he revised the assessment with another reference to recent headlines: “If Trump doesn’t quit, Omarosa should.”
At the end of the evening, Chappelle brought all the comedians who had performed earlier in the evening back to the stage and issued an ultimatum to the president, referring to his failure to condemn the white supremacists in Charlottesville. “Trump, you better renounce these motherfuckers by Monday,” Chappelle said.
Chappelle is performing at Radio City Music Hall through August 24.