Dave Chappelle's 'SNL' opening monologue draws fire from Anti-Defamation League, claims he's 'vulgarizing' anti-Semitism

Dave Chappelle’s ‘SNL’ opening monologue draws fire from Anti-Defamation League, claims he’s ‘vulgarizing’ anti-Semitism

The national director of the Jewish civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation League tweeted his concerns about comedian Dave Chappelle’s opening monologue last night on Saturday night life.

Chappelle, a controversial comedian who has been accused of insensitivity in the past regarding his comments about trans people, Jews, black people and others, has done a long job of opening SNL regarding recent issues involving the rapper/entrepreneur Kanye West and basketball player Kyrie Irving.

“You shouldn’t expect @DaveChappelle serve as a moral compass for society, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not only standardize but popularize #antisemitismsaid a tweet from ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt today. Why are Jewish sensibilities denied or diminished at nearly every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause? »

At the start of his routine, Chappele unfolded a small piece of paper and read it, saying, “’I denounce anti-Semitism in all its forms. And I stand with my friends in the Jewish community. And that, Kanye, is how you save time.

Then it came to the meat of the bit. Chappelle noted that he had come to learn that there are “two words in the English language that you should never say together in order: ‘The’ and ‘Jews.'”

“I went to Hollywood and – nobody gets mad at me – I’m just telling you what I saw,” he said, adding a signature pause. “That’s a lot of Jews. As many. But that doesn’t mean anything! You know what I mean? Because there are a lot of black people in Ferguson, Missouri, that doesn’t mean we run the place.

He added that “the illusion that Jews run show business” is “not a crazy thing to think about”, but “it’s a crazy thing to say out loud”. He also said of West: “It’s a big deal, he broke the rules of show business. You know, the rules of perception. If they’re black, then it’s a gang. they’re Italian, it’s a crowd. If they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence and you should never talk about it.

Chappelle ended his long monologue by emphasizing his point.

“It shouldn’t be so scary to talk about anything,” he said. “It makes my job incredibly difficult. And to be honest with you, I’m sick of talking to a crowd like this. I love you to death and thank you for your support. And I hope they won’t take anything away from me… anyone they or they are.”

the front, a Jewish-focused nonprofit outlet, said Twitter’s reaction to Chappelle’s routine was mixed. He noted the The Jerusalem Post accused the comedian of ‘indulging in anti-Semitic tropes.” Adam Feldman, theater critic for Time Out New York, tweeted: “This Dave Chappelle SNL monologue probably did more to normalize anti-Semitism than anything Kanye said.” Screenwriter Amalia Levari tweeted, disapprovingly, “So cool that SNL gave Chappelle the stage to deliver a TED talk on how anti-Semitic dog whistles are good, actually.”

Wrote Rabbi Josh Yuter, an influencer on Jewish Twitter“If I understood Chappelle’s monologue correctly, the key point is that there are double standards about who can say what about whom. If my Twitter feed is any indication, everyone agrees this is a problem although there is widespread disagreement over the specifics.

Deadline has contacted NBC for comment.


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