(ANTIMEDIA) — On New Year’s Eve, Netflix debuted the last two installments of comedian Dave Chappelle’s stand up performances, which not only poked fun at national crises, including Hollywood’s sexual harassment scandals and Donald Trump’s presidency — but also took a serious, less comedic stance on systemic social problems.
In the first of two specials, “Equanimity,” Chappelle quickly dove into America’s newfound habit of extreme sensitivity and being offended.
“It’s too hard to entertain a country whose ears are so brittle,” he said. “Motherf*ckers are so sensitive the whole country has turned into bitch-ass n*ggas. Everything you say upsets somebody.”
“I don’t know why or how everybody got so goddam sensitive,” he said, recalling an incident where an audience member at one of his shows perceived him to be racist. He also discussed the backlash he received from the transgender community for jokes he made in his previous Netflix specials. He reaffirmed that he has no problem with transgender individuals (and simply finds them funny), going on to continue discussing the community and movement.
Chappelle said the reason the transgender rights movement has gained traction recently is “because white men want to do it. That’s right, I just said that. If it was just women that felt that way or black dudes or Mexican dudes being like ‘Hey y’all, we feel like girls inside, they’d be like, ‘Shut up n*gger, nobody asked you how you felt.’”
He also discussed the 2016 election, addressing a powerful demographic that elected Trump: poor white people. He discussed early voting at the polls in Ohio.
“[I] saw these goddamn pick-up trucks and tractors and sh*t. And then I walked up and I saw a long, long line of dusty white people. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these were the poor whites.”
After making jokes about them — as he does about literally everyone — he made a point of recognizing their humanity.
“I looked them right in their coal-smeared faces. And to my surprise, you know what I didn’t see?” he said. “I didn’t see one deplorable face in that group. I saw some angry faces and some determined faces, but they felt like decent folk.”
“I listened to them. I listened to them say naive, poor white people things. ‘Man Donald Trump’s gonna go to Washington, and he’s gonna fight for us.’ I’m standing there thinking in my mind, ‘You dumb mother f*cker.’ You are poor. He’s fighting for me.”
However, he also admitted to voting for Hillary Clinton.
“Yes, I voted for Hillary Clinton, of course I did. I voted for her because I liked what she said vastly better than what I liked what he said.”
“To be honest with you, at that point, that sh*t was like watching Darth Vader give the ‘I have a dream speech.’ That b*tch is mean as hell. She’d already Karate Kid swept Bernie Sanders legs from underneath him. Boy, it was hard voting for that sh*t.”
However, like many Americans who perpetuate the corrupt American two-party system, he justified his vote by claiming she was the “lesser evil.” He also expressed his support for Barack Obama on multiple occasions, unfortunately further demonstrating his adherence to mainstream ideology.
Nevertheless, he still offered classic Chappelle observations on Donald Trump. He called out some of his most outlandish and ill-conceived rhetoric:
“‘I’m gonna go to China, and I’m gonna get those jobs from China and bring them back here to America.’ For what n*gga? So iPhones can be $9,000?”
He discussed Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric toward North Korea and also addressed the infamous travel ban.
“Did he just say ‘figure out what’s going on’?” he said of Trump’s widely reported comments during the campaign.
“Who doesn’t know how to do basic math? Let’s count it out, okay. There’s been 17 mass shootings in the United States. Four of them were done by Muslims. None of those four Muslims were from any of the seven countries in your stupid-ass original ban. And since he brought it up, the other 13 shootings were done by the tiki torch whites.”
Though it’s difficult to discern which 17 shootings he was referencing, his point that most mass shootings are committed by white extremists has been widely documented.
He also made a point of calling out the media:
“And don’t believe the media either, because as all this shit is happening, the media is trying to make us believe that the extremities amongst us are the norm.”
He closed his set on a surprisingly stark note, discussing the gruesome 1955 murder of a young black teenager, Emmett Till, in Mississippi, and how the incident launched a broader conversation about racism in America that actually led to progress.
In the second installment, titled “The Bird Revelation,” filmed in Los Angeles, he tackled the rampant sexual harassment and abuse allegations in Hollywood.
“Everybody is raping like hotcakes,” he said, eventually adding, “I gotta tell you, Harvey Weinsten’s probably the first person that I ever looked at a photograph of and said, ‘Yeah, he rapes.’”
He took jabs at Brett Ratner and Kevin Spacey, discussing the latter’s first accuser and his burden of carrying Kevin Spacey’s then-secret homosexuality for decades:
“The saddest part is,” he joked, “if he were able to carry that secret for six more months, I would get to know how House of Cards ends.”
Acknowledging that all of the allegations have been terrible, he added the caveat that the case of Louis C.K. was “the only one that made me, like, laugh.” He challenged the tenacity of one woman who blamed C.K. for her decision to give up comedy.
“‘Louis C.K. masturbated in front of me, ruined my comedy dreams.’ Word? Well, then, I dare say, madam, you may have never had a dream. Come on man, that’s a brittle spirit.”
He then segued into a discussion of the FBI’s historical program to monitor and undermine activist groups:
“You know that this shit is like? It’s like COINTELPRO you know what that is? It’s the program the FBI had [under] J. Edgar Hoover. In this program, one of the many things they did was they would track the sexual habits of anyone they considered an enemy of the state. It’s a loop button. That’s why they’ve got all these f*ucking sex tapes with Martin Luther King f*cking bitches. But lucky for us, he actually had a dream.”
It is not entirely confirmable that COINTELPRO specifically monitored the sexual habits of activists, but it is absolutely clear that the FBI attempted to intimidate King with knowledge of his sexual activity and obtained footage of his sexual behavior as a result of their surveillance of him.
He then waxed serious:
“I’m held to a higher standard of accountability than these women. Don’t forget who I am. Don’t forget what I am. I am a black dude. And don’t ever forget how I got here. My ancestors were kidnapped. I don’t even know where the f*ck I’m from. They were put on the bottom of boats. They sailed them across the Atlantic. Many of them died. Only the strongest survived, and once they got here, they beat the humanity out of my people. They turned us into beasts of burdens, they made us do their work, and the irony is, hundreds of years later, they’re calling us lazy. We fought in the Civil War. We damn near freed ourselves.”
He discussed the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, eventually arriving at a joke that looped back to his initial comments about the Louis C.K. accuser with a “brittle spirit”:
“Now here we all are. A 400-year nightmare. It took us 400 years to figure out as a people that white people’s weakness the whole time was kneeling during the national anthem. That’s a brittle spirit.”
He went on to discuss Mike Pence being a snowflake at an NFL game, as well as why he left show business and the need for reconciliation rather than attacks when it comes to the ongoing sexual harassment issue.
Both specials are available to stream on Netflix.
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