Sticks and Stones expressed his exhaustion with the mechanics of public shaming.
As a comedian, Dave Chappelle has been one thing and that is consistent.
The iconoclast, has consistently offended and in between laughs given commentary on the socio-political landscape in the world. His latest comedy special, Sticks and Stones is no different.
What is different is the cultural climate.
Presently, the cancel culture has steered dialogue in a more politically correct and safe way. But Dave won’t have it. He picked the most controversial topics and discussed them and as a comedian would, made jokes about them.
Michael Jackson, R Kelly, Abortion, and gun control he rips through all of them. Awkward laughs and moments of silence color the special as the audience struggle with some of his humor. As Chappelle makes fun, he raises serious concerns as to how society seems to change goal posts on sexual, moral, and, political fronts.
He wants to crucify the cancel culture, which dictates that you get “cancelled,” if you do not agree with the “norm,” which at present is, pro-abortion, anti gun laws, pro LGTBTQ rights and the #METOO movement. All of which are empowering and protecting communities and people groups.
Having a dissenting or differing view doesn’t seem to be welcome and that seems to be what Chappelle is tackling.
In the 60’s comedian Lenny Bruce was arrested several times for using edgy material in his comedy sets, and in 2019 we are a long way from there but Chappelle feels like society wants to go back there.
He rants about how audiences are getting increasingly sensitive and how no one can say anything nowadays.
Diversity would imply that different people would laugh at different things and conversely different things would offend different people. Chappelle wants to outline that, as a comedian he will speak power to his truth and his narrative sometimes sticks and sometimes doesn’t. Sticks and Stones expressed his exhaustion with the mechanics of public shaming.
The backlash that Chappelle has gotten since reminds us although we have made strides when it comes to the freedom of speech, care must be exercised not to offend minority groups. For the Blacks who chuckled it s certain the laughter would have been missing had a white comedian, say Ricky Gervais made fun of the #BlackLivesMatter movement with the same vigor.
Sticks and Stones has received a 99 percent score from regular viewers while only 17 percent approval from mainstream media reviewers. The almost 80 percent gap shows that despite the public outrage, his message is well received. So while mainstream media cry to shoot the messenger.
He maintains that sticks and stones can break his bones, and despite the outrage or applause, words will never move Chappelle.