But Chappelle’s comments about “the Jews” failed to draw laughs from many viewers, with the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) accusing him of “popularising” antisemitism.
The group’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted on Sunday: “We shouldn’t expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society’s moral compass, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not just normalize but popularize #antisemitism.Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?”
Chappelle began his monologue in an ostensibly respectful way, saying: “I denounce antisemitism in all its forms and stand with my friends in the Jewish community.”
However, it turned out he then had a punchline to deliver: “And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.”
The stand-up comic continued: “I’ve probably been doing this for 35 years now and early in my career I learned there are two words in the English language you should never say together in sequence.
“Those words are ‘The’ and ‘Jews,’” he said. “I never heard someone do good after they said that.”
He went on to say that he has a lot of Jewish friends so is not “freaked out by your culture”.
But, he then joked: “Why do some of your people dress like Run-DMC?”
Chappelle’s controversial quips, which continued over the course of his 15-minute sketch, invited a stream of fury on Twitter, with Time Out’s New York theatre editor Adam Feldman suggesting: “That Dave Chappelle SNL monologue probably did more to normalize anti-Semitism than anything Kanye said.”
One group even compiled all his offensive remarks into a two-minute clip:
\u201cFor those who didn't see @DaveChappelle's antisemitic monologue on @nbcsnl earlier tonight, and who don't want to watch all 15 minutes, we have edited out all of the parts that many are rightly condemning as antisemitic. Here is all the hate in 2 minutes:\u201d
Here’s what other critics had to say about his performance:
\u201cYou can't tell me there isn't rampant anti Jewish sentiment in the US when Dave Chapelle goes on SNL and does an antisemitic rant for an audience of millions of people about how "it's ok to think Jewish people run the media, just don't say it out loud?" Who's the audience here?\u201d
— Joan Zahra Dark \u2728 \u062c\u0648\u0627\u0646 \u0632 \u0647\u0631 \u0627\u0621 \u062f\u0627\u0631\u0643 \ud83d\udc00 (@Joan Zahra Dark \u2728 \u062c\u0648\u0627\u0646 \u0632 \u0647\u0631 \u0627\u0621 \u062f\u0627\u0631\u0643 \ud83d\udc00)
\u201cDave Chappelle\u2019s SNL skit was a meticulous & calculated move to desensitize the population from antisemitism, getting society to laugh at Jewish traumas/struggles, and normalizing historic tropes by manipulating the average person\u2019s pain and redirecting their reactions onto Jews.\u201d
\u201cThe only lesson #DaveChapelle seems to have learned is that it's perfectly fine to be an antisemite, bigot, LGTBQIA-phobe just as long as you don't say it out loud. His ignorance is incredibly disappointing. Shame on him & @nbcsnl for giving him a platform to encourage hate.\u201d
— Scott Lowell (he/him/his) (@Scott Lowell (he/him/his))
Meanwhile, others sprung to his defence:
\u201cThe Dave Chapelle monologue on @snl tonight was the classic stand up he is known for .. current events, timely and funny..\u201d
\u201cDave Chapelle is the best comedian in the world. If you don\u2019t believe that, you either don\u2019t know what comedy is or you are exactly what he is talking about. Maybe there is a third choice, but I\u2019m sure it\u2019s not as important.\u201d