Cannot Cancel Comedy ft. Chappelle

Modern day metrics will show that vanity is often involved with social media. People choose to post their highlights and those who successfully tap into a niche receive subscribers. As far as what I subscribe to, nobody can decide that but myself. The same goes for belief systems and word choice. Nobody can control words except the person uttering them.

Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac & D.L. Hughley

Nothing can replace kindness and even the smallest gesture can change the trajectory of someone’s day. It is majorly important to be courteous, polite, thoughtful and to keep quiet if you don’t have something positive to say. 

Polarization Drives a Cultural Wedge

With that, fundamental beliefs should not be dictated by any higher power. Yet, in the world of comedy those who rely upon sponsors often have to tip-toe around topics. Fact of the matter is, people who hesitate, overapologize or appear nervous are not likable. Comedy is an art form and just like hip-hop (even moreso) it should remain untouchable and unadulterated.

“It is the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”

George Carlin

Dave Chappelle fanned the flames as he does so well in the finale of his Netflix stand up. Many individuals of the transgender community grew furious at his remarks and several Netflix employees walked out.

Just like lyrics cannot be taken literally, comments intended to create laughs cannot be taken seriously. It is difficult to tell your truth and please an ideological audience at the same time.

Absurd By Design

The basis of the Chappelle comments were tasteless, no doubt. But, if you are familiar with this legend and his work, he is divisive, shocking, offensive and controversial by nature. Does that mean he wishes harm upon transgender individuals? No, it means he is poking fun at flaws in human nature. And since he is subscription based rather than sponsor-driven he can say what he pleases without fear of being, “Cancelled.”

Comedy is very similar to a societal Rorschach test. It determines what people can and should tolerate. Clearly, our current society does not have very thick skin. Many times, people will get fired up from a headline or soundbyte. Without taking the time to hear the entire clip in context, they only hear what sets them off and performative outrage occurs as a result.

Agree to Disagree

A sense of humor is just like a sense of taste. You either like or you dislike something based upon that sense. It is not deeper than that. In a capitalistic society, everyone has free will and the choice to watch or boycott whatever they wish. 

What many fail to understand is that there is a difference between being offended and being targeted. Something can be funny without you agreeing with it. Unfortunately, healthy disagreement and reflective discourse is lacking majorly in America. 

Some believe words that cause emotional damage are harmful. The reception of those words and how they are internalized reflects upon the person hearing them not the person speaking the words.

Don Rickles and Clint Eastwood on the set of Kelly’s Heroes

Nobody can control how you react to something except yourself. Therefore, comedic expressions cannot be considered harmful because their perceived effects are entirely imaginary. Yes, the words may sting and make you upset but the extent of that despair only goes as far as you let it.

Some might argue that statements similar to Chappelle’s will lead to increased violence upon that demographic. That is the same flimsy argument that people make when they claim violent video games or movies cause violent action. The only person capable of making someone do something is that person themselves.


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