Dave Chappelle wasted no time as host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live this week, delving headfirst into the Kanye West controversy during his opening monologue. In his signature fashion, the comedian embraced controversy by addressing Ye’s anti-semitic comments and walking right up to the line with a few of his own Jewish jokes.
“It shouldn’t be this scary to talk. About anything,” he said.
Chappelle opened Saturday’s show by reading a humorous statement: “I denounce anti-semitism in all its forms – and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community. And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.”
He added: “I’ve probably been doing this 35 years now. And early in my career, I learned that there are two words in the English language words you should never say together in sequence. And those words are: ‘The’ and ‘Jews.’ Never heard someone do good after they say that.”
Chappelle didn’t condemn West during his monologue but didn’t excuse his remarks either.
“I don’t think Kanye is crazy, at all. He’s possibly not well,” he said. “I’ve been to Hollywood — this is just what I saw. It’s a lot of Jews. Like a lot. But that doesn’t mean anything. There’s a lot of black people in Ferguson, Missouri, doesn’t mean they run the place… You might go out in Hollywood and you might start connecting some kind of lines and you might adopt the delusion that Jews run show business.”
He added: “It’s not a crazy thing to think. But it’s a crazy thing to say out loud.”
Chappelle also joked about West losing corporate partners: “Ironically, Adidas was founded by Nazis and they were offended. The student has passed the teacher.”
He concluded: “It shouldn’t be this scary to talk. About anything. It’s made by job incredibly difficult. I’m getting sick of talking to a crowd like this. I love you to death and I thank you for your support. I hope they don’t take anything away from me. Whoever they are.”