October 12, 2021

Chappelle makes yet another memorable exit

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Tinashe Kusema

IT took me a little over ten minutes to skim through and get caught up on the whole DaBaby controversy.

Apparently, the American rapper fell on stage, during a live performance, and, in a fit of rage, said some disparaging things about the LGBTQ community in the US.

This obviously caught the ire of social media, in particular Twitter, and the fear now is that the North Carolina native may have killed his own career.

The incident happened sometime in August, and only came to my attention after watching Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up special “The Closer”.

I did not know about for two simple reasons, the first being that, like Chappelle, I don’t believe in Twitter.

“It’s not a real place”.

Also, I don’t really care for DaBaby or his music.

However, both Chappelle and DaBaby have been trending again recently, and it’s all due to Chappelle’s special which is the subject of our review today.

Much like its title, this is the sixth and final special in Chappelle’s Netflix deal, and I recommend you watch the other five first if you haven’t already.

Their titles are “The Age of Spin”, “Deep in the Heart of Texas”, Equanimity”, “The Bird Revelation” (all 2017) and 2019’s “Sticks and Stones”.  

“The Closer” is a fitting and typical Dave Chappelle exit, as in its funny, a little ‘controversial and is likely to leave a lasting impression on all those fans of the man and the genre. 

In fact, there is a case to be made that Dave Chappelle could possibly be the Greatest of All Time, or GOAT if you like.

This special is a testament to that.

While humor is a huge component of the genre- as is timing, charisma and originality- what sets Chappelle apart from his contemporaries is his fierceness.

Not fierceness to be dark and controversial, Anthony Jesselnik is great at that.

No, Dave Chappelle’s fierceness comes in that he is brave enough to speak out and tackle issues that most people are too afraid to talk about.

Since the special aired on October 5, Chappelle himself has been trending with many using words like bigotry, aggressive and lewd to describe “The Closer”.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The special is 72 minutes of humor, education and awareness.

It, as he calls it, is a culmination of his Netflix body of work and tackles many topics like religion, sexual orientation and the pandemic itself.

However, it is his thoughts on women, race and the Me Too movement that he seems to be receiving the most flak for.

I am going to use two jokes he has used during these specials, one old and another more recent, to defend the man.

I think it was during one of his earlier works, “Age of Spin” it should be, in which he looks into the camera and tells the audience if they don’t like what he is saying “you clicked on my face”.

In “The Closer” he tells a story in which a woman followed him around while he was doing his shopping.

Stalking is more appropriate.

This woman then confronts and calls him out for “hating women”.

It is at this time that he asked her three important questions.

“Where did you see me?”

“Did you buy a ticket to a concert I did, or watch one of my specials on Netflix?”

“Or, did I follow you to your car and do my act?”

When she fails to answer any of these questions, he then tells her “Keep it in the comments section, this is real life”.

This joke alone captures the genius of Chappelle’s stand-up act.

While funnier than I wrote it, underneath the humor is a huge truth.

A truth about social media and the power it seems to be abusing.

Hashtags have become a tool of destruction for many celebrities and real people, with its users often coming from a point of ignorance.

No one really bothers to fact-check whatever they read, but everyone is always in a hurry to share, retweet and pass the message.

Admittedly, Chappelle has said some harsh things about women during both his career and the Netflix specials.

However, none of them have come from a point of hate as he puts it.

Like most stand-ups, there are open to interpretation and this was mine.

While the whole set is brilliant, and I hope to live long enough to see him perform again, I wish to harp on this social media thing a bit.

One of my biggest observations over the last year or so, during the pandemic mostly, is the way social media has been abused to spread misinformation.

First on the pandemic itself, with many spreading their ignorance about the pandemic itself, and most recently about vaccination.

The country has lagging behind because many don’t really believe or have any knowledge of the numerous vaccines available.

What they do possess is the many ignorant, and sometimes downright stupid conspiracy theories.

Chappelle’s stand-up is much more than humour.

He has used the gift God gave him to speak out about social injustice.

Those that don’t like his stand-up, message and opinions are free to change the channel, refuse to go to any of his shows or simply click on another face on Netflix.

At the time of writing this story, Chappelle was trending again with over 50 000 tweets but he will survive.

I pray he does survive, and then comes back bigger, stronger, and even better.

I will leave you with a few of my favourite tweets and comments from that that truly understand both the art and the man.

“Dave Chappelle is genius. His superpower is giving you the full context so that you get the overall message. And you remember that message because the punchline is so effective” @iamstillpunch.

“Apparently, The Woke ran out of “victims” in America. They’re now cancelling Dave Chappelle — for a *comedy* skit. Lighten up and stop taking yourselves so seriously. Censoring creative expression is right out of Stalin’s playbook. Cancel cancel culture”.@mrddmia

“Dave Chappelle is not afraid of being “cancelled” because he’s smart enough to know that social media is not the real world.” @True_Canuck1

“That Dave Chappelle special was the hardest I’ve laughed at anything in a long time.” @adam22

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