If you are yet to check out Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, Sticks and Stones, I urge you to do so because it is fucking hilarious. I know the media have had a field day with this one, but if you are a Dave Chappelle fan, or just a fan of stand-up comedy who isn’t overly sensitive, I implore you to watch it. I cried laughing from almost beginning to end, and I honestly hope he does a world tour at some point soon so that I can watch him live.
Funnily enough, I actually saw the feedback from the media before I was able to check out the special for myself yesterday. I decided to watch it and draw my own opinion before reading the various reviews and articles about it. A wise decision on my part, in hindsight. It’s the same old story really. People are becoming more and more hypersensitive to absolutely everything, particularly comedy, and we are hastily nearing the point where nobody will be able to say “Hello” without offending anybody. If you are familiar with Dave Chappelle and his content, you will know how hysterical he is. I mean, his his analogy of the LGBTQ community being passengers in a car travelling along roads of oppression and suffering, had me literally rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off. If you are a fan, you should also be aware that Dave Chappelle has never given a fuck. So the shock and outrage at his jokes in 2019 had me more surprised than anything he said in that hour long special.
The main outrage stems from the jokes he made about the accusers in Leaving Neverland, the Michael Jackson documentary which was aired on HBO in January this year. Dave ultimately says that he didn’t believe the allegations from James Safechuck and Wade Robson (neither do I, but that’s a story for another day), and that the documentary on a whole was an uncomfortable watch. I’m with him so far. He also went onto say that he did not believe them, but even if MJ did do it…”you know what I mean?”, were Dave’s exact words along with a shoulder shrug. He elaborated by saying half the people in that room had been assaulted and all they get is awkward Thanksgivings for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, Robson and Safechuck got their dicks sucked by the King of Pop, so all their sexual experiences could only go up from there. Dave finished the bit by stating “those kids have to learn that there’s no such thing as a free trip to Hawaii”.
Now obviously, this is where it got controversial and this is the exact moment in all stand-up comedy routines which has me wondering why people who are blatantly sensitive to this kind of humour still insist on watching it. I mean, it is so fucking obvious to anyone with a brain that these are meant to be jokes, i.e. statements which aren’t meant to be taken seriously! Hence why it is placed in the genre of comedy! I completely understand that other victims of sexual assault may not find that funny. However it is an option which everyone can choose to entertain or choose not too. Furthermore, it is very clear that Dave Chappelle’s point was not that little boys should be grateful to be molested by Michael Jackson. That should have been made blindingly obvious when Dave described himself as a victim blamer, and said if someone had told him about Michael Jackson’s allegations, his response would be “Well, what were those children wearing at the time?” I mean, come on people. Are we that dumb, or did we really miss the fact that this was clearly taking the piss out of the insensitive assholes who do make those comments when facing real situations of paedophilia and sexual assault. Because judges have indeed said those exact word in court when dealing with such cases.
As far as Dave saying he didn’t believe Robson or Safechuck, like I said, I don’t either. I mean, I just think it’s very funny how many things were skipped out of that completely one-sided documentary, which didn’t deem it necessary to interview anyone other than the boys and their families. Such as the fact that Wade Robson was still seeking a job with Michael Jackson’s company right up until he did the HBO documentary and filed the lawsuit. Or the fact that he was also in a seven-year relationship with Brandi Jackson, the daughter of Jackie Jackson and one of Michael’s nieces. Brandi is adamant that she was with Wade the majority of the time he was with Michael, and most of the time when he was in Neverland. I also find it extremely difficult to believe that the FBI did a 10 year investigation on a guilty man of MJ’s stature and were unable to find anything. I mean, the American government is definitely not known for being easy going on black men, regardless of whether he was the King of Pop. You really think they found proof of him molesting little white boys and just let him carry on because he knew how to moonwalk? I doubt it somehow. Oh, and let’s not forget some of the architects who built Neverland making statements to verify that some of the artefacts and rooms which Safechuck and Robson described had not even been built yet during the years they confirmed they had visited. Obviously, as Michael Jackson is not alive to speak for himself, we will most likely never know the real truth about what happened. Therefore I’m not going to completely persecute the boys and call them liars, because at the end of the day, I don’t know. However, things definitely seem fishy to me and clearly to Dave as well. As there is no evidence, he is more than within his rights to say that he doesn’t believe the boys and their account of the story.
Dave also touches on the drama that occurred earlier in the year with Kevin Hart and The Oscars. I’ve actually written a little something on this as well in a previous post, if you care about my opinion on that. He also talks about the #MeToo movement and what the asks what the real motives of some of the accusers are, being asked to appear in the R Kelly documentary and tells the hilarious anecdote I mentioned earlier on the LGBTQ community. I’m not even going to elaborate on that, because it won’t be funny coming from me. Like I said, check out the special. With regards to the R Kelly part, I’m even more confused about the media and their insistence on dragging Chappelle for this. All he said was that Dream Hampton asked him to appear in Surviving R Kelly, the documentary which was aired on Lifetime earlier in January. David was simply stating that the reason for his refusal was that “he doesn’t know this nigga at all”. Fair enough. I don’t see what the problem is, I’ve always been taught not to speak on what you don’t know. Particularly when it comes to a situation of this magnitude. Dave also said he thinks that the R Kelly situation is different because he’s “pretty sure he did that shit”. As are we all, Dave. He also spoke a lot about gun control, and how the government need to focus on those issues which are seriously affecting America. He even jokingly suggested that if every African American registered to get a gun, the laws would probably change pretty hastily then. Good idea, Dave. I think it’s funny that this particularly bit wasn’t touched mentioned in most of these reviews, don’t you?
Anyway, my point for this lengthy one is just to ponder on the media today and their love of making a lot of noise. I mean, this is comedy we’re talking about. The root of what a lot of comedians have to offer has always been shock value. Several individuals and articles were asking themselves why Dave had to resort to this kind of humour, and that it was getting boring. Firstly, because he fucking wants to! Secondly, if it is so boring, again does this not beget the question, why did you watch it!? I mean, nobody is forcing you to. As comedian Andrew Schulz wisely mentioned on The Brilliant Idiots podcast, where he sits with Charlamagne as a co-host, comedy is an art. A lot of that art relies on making light of issues that come out of a very dark place. If you were to research the back story of most comedians, you will discover that a lot of them experienced some terrible things and grew up in areas where they saw a lot of shit you wouldn’t want your children to see. Dave Chappelle is one of those comedians, as is Kevin Hart. Again, you can find my take on Kevin’s autobiography in one of my earlier posts. This means that they are not simply being obnoxious and laughing at the pain of others for the sake of it. A lot of the time, making jokes out of these kind of situations is what got them to a positive and uplifting state of mind. They are not laughing at the victims; they are simply trying to say what most of us think, but will not say. It’s easy to make jokes out of situations filled with positivity and light, as Andrew Schulz also mentioned. Some comedians don’t promote material with so much edge and rawness, but some do. However, we as individuals are the only ones in control of what we choose to watch or listen to. As Dave Chappelle also mentioned in his special, “If you’re watching this on Netflix, remember bitch, you clicked on my face.”