In what has essentially become a biannual tradition, Dave Chappelle returned to “Saturday Night Live” to host its post-election episode. The comedian previously hosted the show on the Saturdays after the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, making headlines for his lengthy monologues that saw him begging people to calm down about politics.
While one could probably make the case that American politics have gotten slightly less toxic without Donald Trump running for office (at least currently), Chappelle remains as divisive as ever. The comedian has become a culture war lightning rod in recent years for a series of Netflix specials that featured jokes about the transgender community that many flagged as transphobic. Chappelle devoted the majority of his most recent special, “The Closer,” to refuting those claims and attempting to add nuance, but it did little to convince the people who accuse him of perpetuating harmful tropes.
But anyone hoping that the controversy-courting comedian would wade back into the cancel culture discourse on Saturday was bound to be disappointed by the monologue, as Chappelle steered clear of the transgender jokes that have come to define his public persona in recent years. Instead, he largely stuck to current events, beginning by skewering Kanye West for his antisemitic remarks and refusal to make seemingly obvious PR fixes.
“Before I start tonight, I wanted to read a brief statement that I prepared: I renounce antisemitism in all its forms, and stand with my friends in the Jewish community,” he said. “And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.”
He also discussed the midterm elections, calling Georgia senate candidate Herschel Walker “observably stupid” and expressing doubt that Republican voters will move on from Donald Trump after many of the former president’s chosen candidates lost their elections on Tuesday. He attributed Trump’s popularity to the fact that he’s “an honest liar,” and Chappelle cited his experience living in rural Ohio “with the poor white people” as evidence of his credibility on the subject.
While many were relieved to see that Chappelle was no longer fixating on trans people, not everyone was satisfied with the monologue. Several prominent cultural commenters were offended by the performance, expressing concern about how casually he laughed off the recent surge of anti-semitism.
That Dave Chappelle SNL monologue probably did more to normalize anti-Semitism than anything Kanye said
— Adam Feldman (@FeldmanAdam) November 13, 2022
You can watch Chappelle’s entire monologue below: