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Inside Beat

As 'SNL' platforms Dave Chappelle, nobody's laughing

Even if Dave Chappelle's "Saturday Night Live" performance was good, he shouldn't have been given the platform in the first place.  – Photo by @nbcsnl / Twitter

Live from New York, it’s Dave Chappelle! Again.

On November 5, "Saturday Night Live" announced Chappelle as the host for the November 12 show, with musical guest Black Star. Upon the announcement, the show’s Instagram comments immediately began to blow up with outrage from fans.

This was Chappelle’s third time hosting the late-night comedy show. His last time hosting before Saturday was the day after President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was elected into office on November 7, 2020. While the ratings that night skyrocketed, the audience's reaction didn’t seem to match the energy of the statistics.

Daniel Fienberg wrote about the 2020 episode, "Chappelle took the stage with admitted nervousness and then delivered what has become a patented blend of unique, uncomfortably personal truth-telling and canned audacity-for-the-sake-of-audacity just because he likes watching people squirm" in a review for The Hollywood Reporter.

This kind of comedy style has become Chappelle’s trademark. Seemingly tasteless jokes that don’t land, only for Chappelle to then blame the audience for not understanding his comedic stylings and supposed genius. Or even worse, criticizing them for succumbing to the woke nature of today’s society.

Has Chappelle ever stopped to realize that perhaps the reason why people weren’t laughing at his jokes was that they weren’t funny? Or because they were blatantly offensive?

It seems he hasn’t because in 2021, nearly a year after that "SNL" appearance, Chappelle released his stand-up special, "Dave Chappelle: The Closer" for Netflix. The release incited immediate backlash from the transgender community. They called out the special for "amplifying overtly transphobic and anti-scientific views about gender and trans identity," according to Vox.

Instead of responding directly to those calling him out and taking the opportunity to learn, Chappelle took the stage in Nashville, Tennesse, saying, "To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me."

It’s clear that Chappelle had no intention of educating himself or taking a step back to reassess his place in the world of comedy. For in the same performance in Nashville, he called lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby "not funny."

“Dave Chappelle: The Closer” has caused havoc for Netflix — eliciting walkouts from employees at locations all around the world and various complaints about the destructive and divisive nature of Chappelle’s comedy.

Why those at "SNL" thought that Chappelle would be a good choice for host given his recent misdoings, I'm truly not sure. His comedy doesn’t seem to have a place anymore as he is seemingly unwilling to step forth into the future like the rest of us. He sticks true to jokes and language that severely date him compared to the rest of his contemporaries.

The show’s support of Chappelle is disappointing, especially when staff writers are said to be boycotting this past week’s episode (though Chappelle's camp denied this) due to Chappelle’s blatant history of transphobia and homophobia.

There are perhaps thousands of other people I would personally rather see hosting the show this past Saturday other than Chappelle. Up-and-coming comedian Catherine Cohen, actor Miles Teller, recent Emmy winner Quinta Brunson, former "SNL" cast member Bill Hader, hell, why not let John Mulaney host for a sixth time!

"SNL" has the unique opportunity to give their hosts one of the biggest platforms in the world week after week and the privilege to let them speak live in front of the entire nation. This week, the show missed a valuable chance to let someone with a new voice and a modern voice take the stage. Instead, they allowed a known homophobe and transphobe to have a platform to add antisemitic rhetoric to his repertoire of problematic behavior.

When 11:30 p.m. hit the clock on NBC this past Saturday, I changed the channel.

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