Dave Chappelle’s SNL Monologue

A quadrennial tradition.

For the second time in a row, comedian Dave Chappelle hosted Saturday Night Live the episode immediately following an election involving Donald Trump. Last time out, he was surprisingly conciliatory. This time, he was rather cutting.

Variety (“Dave Chappelle Pitches the ‘Kindness Conspiracy’ in SNL Monologue“):

Dave Chappelle returned to host Saturday Night Live last night for the first time since his post-election gig in 2016, and though this time around the mood was decidedly happier, Chappelle did not come to play. He started the monologue with an anecdote about his great-grandfather, who was a slave for ten years and devoted his life to “education, the freedom of Black people, and Jesus Christ.” Though he wishes he could see his great-grandfather now, Chappelle wondered how he would feel about Chappelle’s Show streaming on Netflix and HBO Max without royalties. Chappelle also explained his gratitude for the COVID-19 pandemic, noting, “Do you guys remember what life was like before COVID? It was a mass shooting every week, Thank god for COVID. Something had to lock these murderous whites up, keep them in the house.”

In addition to addressing Trump (“You racist, hilarious son of a bitch”) Chappelle devoted a considerable chunk of the monologue to addressing Trump voters and anti-maskers. “Don’t want to wear your mask? Try wearing the mask I’ve been wearing all these years,” he said. “I can’t even tell something true unless it has a punchline behind it. You guys aren’t ready. You don’t know how to survive yourselves. Black people, we’re the only ones who know how to survive this.” Chappelle has a potential solution, however, for white people who “want to help.” “My plan is called the kindness conspiracy,” Chappelle revealed. “Random acts of kindness for Black people. Do something nice for a Black person just because they’re Black, and you’ve got to make sure they don’t deserve it. The same way all them years they did terrible things to Black people just because they’re Black and they didn’t deserve it.”

Here’s the video:

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, Humor, Popular Culture, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. EddieInCA says:

    It was brilliant. As much as white America doesn’t want to hear it. It needed to be said and it needs to be said daily.

  2. de stijl says:

    That man walked away from millions because he felt he was being used.

    Chappelle is a god damned hero.

    Great music documentarian too.

    Mos Def is one of my favorite people. Great actor too.

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    Chappelle stands alongside George Carlin in my mind as a philosopher-comedian. I admire Seinfeld or Chris Rock for their craft, but they don’t have the ability to make me laugh while reassessing my world view.

  4. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    When Trump was touting the US Space Force I was flashing back to M A R S Mars, bitches bit.

    The entirety of the Black Bush skit is my favorite comedy this century. Yellow cake absurdity played straight. The Stankonia call out in the roll call of “the coalition of the willing”.

    So brilliant.

    Afrika Bambaataa and John Lydon’s (aka Time Zone) World Destruction is epic.

  5. Scott F. says:

    If you haven’t already, please check out Chapelle’s response to the George Floyd murder on Netflix ‘8:46.’ It cuts to the bone.

  6. Jay L Gischer says:

    That was really good. It amazes me to hear this. I think though, honestly, he owes as much or more to Richard Pryor as to George Carlin.

    What I really like about this routine is that Chapelle is able to hold on to both the idea that white people – lower class white people – are struggling and suffering and declining, AND that they are racist. And he put that into a punch line.

    Instead of finding solutions, and trying to do things that might help those struggling people, Trump scapegoated – Chinese, Black People, educated white people, liberals, Muslims, and Mexicans. He blamed them, he denounced them, he “battled” them mostly with rhetoric.

    None of this help those struggling people, who, it must be said, are not doing very well at helping themselves. I don’t know that I blame anyone for walking away, it’s a tough, long-term problem, which will probably mostly be thankless. Still, I think we need to figure out a way to even tweak things in a slightly better direction.

  7. de stijl says:

    @Scott F.:

    The line or two beyond the 8:46 that hits is why cops cannot figure out why a the death of a fellow cop engenders so much feeling and action amongst them and utterly cannot see that that also applies to a larger community.

    George Floyd was murdered. Over many minutes.

    Cruelly so. And law snd order folks are astonished at protests and riots and calls for defunding. Want their cake and it it too. It befuddles me. Empathy is a good trait. Siding with murderous authoritarians is a bad trait.

    For every 1 that dies they beat down 1000 or more and charged em for resisting arrest.

    I knew this when I was 16 and it is still true 42 years later. I am sad and exhausted. This country needs to figure this out. All the tools are there do it. JFC, bah! We have to find a way.

    Law and order cuts two ways.

  8. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Agreed. Chappelle is easily the most significant comic of his generation. Rock may well be funnier—and he does some social commentary. Even Bill Burr. But in terms of sheer insight, I don’t think it’s a close call. The only competition, really, was Louis C.K. and, well, he sort of disqualified himself.