Comedian Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, is one of the greatest hours of comedy I have ever seen — which is saying a lot. As much as I enjoyed his legendary sketch show from 15 years ago (which I only recently caught up with), I had not been all that impressed with his Netflix specials.
Granted, coming up with an hour of solid stand-up material is probably one of the hardest jobs in the world of show business, and very few can pull it off on a regular basis. Bill Cosby and George Carlin were the Ted Williams of this feat, the closest to enjoying a perfect record. Even The Mighty Richard Pryor had his Here and Now.
Chappelle’s done it. Sticks & Stones is a rarity: a perfect piece of art… Nothing could be improved upon, nothing need be touched up. Every brush stroke is exactly where it should be.
And what makes a stand up routine perfect is something that goes beyond the funny… There are probably at least 12 cylinders that must fire: solid jokes, timing, tone, knowing your audience, dealing with hecklers, insight, truth… But the most important one is having a theme, an overarching idea that sends the audience home thinking about something more than the punch-lines.
Throughout the hour, Chappelle does dozens of bits, but if you’re paying attention, all of them are woven together by one common idea, and that is Chappelle’s demand for his right to enjoy free and unfettered artistic expression.
Dave Chappelle wants to talk about what he wants to talk about, which is a God-given right that had been slowly melting away, starting in the late-eighties with the puritan jihads against Sam Kinison and Andrew Dice Clay. But as of late, in this new blacklisting era of ours, that right is almost entirely gone, and Chappelle is done sitting in the back of the satire bus.
Sometimes he comes right out and says this; the subtext becomes text, and that’s fine…
But even when he’s not saying it, he’s still saying it.
When Chappelle jokes about how great it would be to be molested by Michael Jackson, he is not arguing that it would be great to be molested by Michael Jackson, what he’s saying is, Fuck you, I’m going to joke about the most forbidden thing to joke about because fuck you and fuck you this is America, I’m an American and did I mention fuck you?
I don’t know about you, but while I was laughing at the Michael Jackson jokes I also felt a sense of liberation, as did my wife, who had no idea who Chappelle was, and kept saying, “This guy is fearless.” At least twice, without even thinking, we were so into the show, we both clapped.
My GOD, is there a more beautiful sight than a truly free man being truly free?
My favorite part was a story Chappelle told about a meeting with standards and practices when he was doing The Chappelle Show.
They told him that under no circumstance could he ever use the word “faggot” in a sketch.
He was fine with that, but he did have a question (paraphrasing)…
“How come I can’t say ‘faggot,’ but I can say ‘nigger’ as much as I want?”
“Because you’re not gay,” he was told.
“Okay,” he replied. “But I’m also not a nigger.”
Not only is that funny and insightful, but do you see what he’s doing there… He’s exposing what has slowly been happening in this country.
Think about this…
In popular culture and in the news media, we now have first and second class citizens. There are some groups of people who can be crucified in pop culture, annihilated by comedians, satirized relentlessly with a mile-wide mean streak, and depicted as “a problem” in the news media. That’s us. We’re the second class citizens.
The first class citizens are those you are never allowed to satirize, never allowed to mock or criticize — and this is true for one reason and reason only: they hold all the power in Hollywood and in the media.
Chappelle refers to them as “the alphabet people” aka LGBT, and in the most devastating way a comedian can (truth and insight) he lets these fascists have it. Not because they’re LGBT, not because of what they do with their sex organs, but because they’re thin-skinned fascists.
He also lets the audience have it, you and I, those of us who try to blacklist and cancel people through our social media accounts.
He also lets his friend and fellow comedian Kevin Hart have it for eventually caving to the fascists, for apologizing after he said he wouldn’t over decade old jokes about his fears about his son growing up a homosexual.
Chappelle doesn’t just free himself by doing what he is supposed to do, he also liberates himself by REFUSING to do what he IS supposed to do…
There’s not a single joke about President Trump.
And in the post-credit sequence, a Q&A with the audience, when he’s asked what he will do if Trump wins a second term, all he says is. “Get a big tax break.”
Look around… Look at every late night-show, every Comedy Central show, every award show… You are supposed to blast Trump because this proves you are one with the elite tribe, this assures the tribe that you are okay, one of us, with the program, another mindless minion who won’t make waves, who won’t trigger anyone.
White people take a beating from Chappelle… Of course we do. And the bit is brilliant because there’s truth to it. Uncomfortable truth, but truth nonetheless.
When black people were being ravaged by crack in the eighties, white America was all, Build more prisons! Lock ’em up! They should have just said NO!
Now that it’s white people being ravaged by opioids, white America is all, OHMYGAWD, a health crisis!
How is that not true?
But again, look at what Chappelle is saying, look at what he’s doing — declaring his liberation by roasting yet another sacred cow — the Opioid Crisis.
On the issue of abortion, while he believes it’s up to the woman, he called abortion what it is — killing and said that if a woman can “kill” the child he wants the right to “abandon” it if she does decide to keep it; “My money, my choice.”
Overall, though, what Dave Chappelle knows is that the Alphabet People are, by far, the most powerful in his particular vocation, in the entertainment business, and that they and their left-wing allies are abusing this power through straight-up blacklists — all in an effort to protect their oh-so above-it-all selves from criticism. What makes Chappelle especially effective, though, is that he doesn’t respond with anger or even a hint of hate or bitterness His weapons are wit, humor, logic, human nature, a fierce intelligence, and best of all, REASON.
Forgive me if this sounds like a bit much, but what Chappelle is also doing — with a lot of help from Ricky Gervais (who deserves the same praise for his brilliant and hysterically funny and brave Netflix special Humanity) — could save America.
The far-left and their media allies are deliberately and relentlessly looking to shrink the Overton Window, the range of what we are allowed to openly discuss and debate, in the same way the villains in Orwell’s 1984 shrunk the dictionary.
This country cannot survive without open and honest debate, without clear language (i.e., “illegal alien” v. “undocumented immigrant”), and cannot function as a true democracy that protects the rights of the smallest and most vulnerable minority — the individual — if we are fighting the Pronouns Nazis, and the “Shut up, you’re racist” Nazis.
We cannot survive as a free democracy if the far-left fascists who infest Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the media are allowed to disappear us rather than debate us on the merits.
And we certainly cannot survive if We The People join in, if we fall into the trap, if our attitude is, Well, they got Roseanne so I’m going to get The Hunt.
This shit has to stop.
Our society desperately needs a free speech revolution, and if the Obama-loving Chappelle and the Christian-mocking Gervais want to lead it, I’ll follow them straight into hell.