Jon Stewart Defends SNL’s Dave Chappelle Monologue in Detail Against Accusations of Anti-Semitism

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Dave Chappelle’s “Saturday Night Live” monologue blew up the internet after his episode aired on November 12. Of course, as in any comedy program of Chappelle, the theme of the comic caused a negative reaction, since he was accused of spreading anti-Semitism. Although the backlash was fierce, many fans and celebrities came to his defense. One of those who spoke out on behalf of the polarizing comedian was his friend and fellow comedian Jon Stewart. Stewart took the time to defend the Grammy winner’s monologue from accusations of anti-Semitism.

Jon Stewart Defends Dave Chappelle's SNL Monologue, Spars with Colbert over  Kanye, Kyrie: Watch

The “Trouble with Jon Stewart” host took a moment to defend his good friend while attending the “Late Show” with Stephen Colbert. Colbert began the conversation with a question about the controversy surrounding the Jewish community after the actions and statements of Kanye West and basketball star Kyrie Irving. In the end, Stewart talked about the negative reaction Chappelle received after his last comedy episode. The comedian interrupted his response after the scandalous SNL monologue, saying:

Now everyone is obviously calling and saying: “Have you seen Dave on SNL?” I’m like, “Yeah, we’re very good friends, and I’m always watching.” [They say] “He normalized anti-Semitism with his monologue. And I’m like, “I don’t know if you’ve been in the comment sections or in those news articles, but it’s damn normal.” Like anti-Semitism, you know, it’s incredibly normal. But I will say one thing: I do not believe that censorship and punishment are a way to put an end to anti—Semitism or not to achieve understanding. I don’t believe it, and I think it’s the wrong approach for us.

Anti-Semitism has existed in the corners of the Internet for many years. Social media alone has amplified the voices against the Jewish community. Like much of Chappelle’s post-election monologue, the comic seemed to be trying to turn the mirror back on the US and its prejudices. His track record of controversial comments about the transgender community already included some of them, but Stewart was right in his approach to censoring and punishing those perceived as inciting hatred, rather than creating an open dialogue.

Soon the conversation turned to Stewart addressing stereotypes associated with the Jewish community. The former Daily Show host felt that Internet conspiracies and other small pockets were unwinding, that Jews controlled banks, Hollywood and the media. Stewart said the backlash Chappelle has faced is restrictive, especially given that comedy reflects society.:

I think reflexively calling things anti-Semitism is as simplistic as some of the things they might say. This immediately ends the conversation… Comedy is reductive. I think part of what we’re playing with is tropes because everyone has biases in their lives and in the way they look at things, and comics rely on those biases as shorthand for our material. Even the locust comics play with tropes to a certain extent.

Jon Stewart even shared that there was a special moment in Dave Chappelle’s monologue that he remembered, because it was associated with the comedian’s disappointment that he could not talk about sensitive topics in modern culture.

Dave said something in an SNL monologue that I also found constructive. He said, “It shouldn’t be so hard to talk about these things.”

Even before last week’s episode aired, the comedian’s latest appearance on SNL caused controversy. There were reports that the show’s staff writers boycotted Schapelle’s return to the Rockefeller Center, 30 because of his recent transgender issues in his special comedy performances and stand-up tours. But the outspoken comedian has appeared on SNL several times since Election Day in 2016. The jokes of Chappelle’s Show star caused so much concern that he reportedly delivered a fake monologue during rehearsal to curb any censorship.

If you want to move beyond his polarizing routine, Dave Chappelle’s SNL episode is currently available on a Peacock subscription. Saturday Night Live is taking a break from airing new episodes until December 3, when Keke Palmer will host with Grammy-winning singer SZA as a musical guest. In the meantime, check out our TV program for 2022.

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