What separates the Dave Chappelles, Norm MacDonalds, and Ricky Gervaises of the world from the sellouts we see floundering in late-night comedy shows? In a word, courage.
Real comedy — the good stuff — is by nature transgressive. It makes true observations and bold assertions that push the boundaries of what it is socially acceptable to say.
For a long time, this ‘transgressive’ instinct expressed itself in stand-up comedy that leaned into the r-rated and even x-rated content. But when you do that long enough, it becomes mainstreamed. When that happens, it’s no longer mainstream OR funny.
The shills of late-night like Kimmel compensated by going political — to the point that he infamously took talking points from Chuck Schumer and worked them into his monologue. Colbert dropped homosexual slurs about Trump and Putin. (But he paid no price for that because it was an approved target).
None of that takes the least little bit of courage. Dave Chappelle, on the other hand, flies straight into the heart of the storm, and is rewarded for his courage with legions of fans.
How many other people do you know of who have the courage to slap the LGBT people with a blackface reference?
Here he is weighing into the canceling of J.K. Rawling with what could only be called a spectacularly spicey take on the issue.
“They cancelled @jk_rowling, they started calling her a TERF. I didn't even know what that was, but I know that trans people make up words to win arguments… I'm team TERF.”
— Women's Voices (@WomenReadWomen) October 7, 2021
Making up words to win arguments? He’s not wrong.
And that tactic is not limited to Trans, either. After all, Larry Elder found himself being called the ‘black face of white supremacy’. They don’t even care if what they are saying makes sense, so long as they can score points in a political shoving match.
He’s not writing as a conservative or a liberal. He’s writing as a comedian… and his set will cover enough ground that everybody will have their chance to be offended by SOMETHING he’s saying.
And isn’t that the point?
Isn’t that why we buy tickets for shows like his… to hear someone say out loud — with top-shelf comedic timing and story-telling ability, no less — answering questions most everyday joes don’t even have the courage to ASK out loud?
You don’t have to agree with a comic’s points to be challenged beyond your own well-worn narrow thinking. You just have to let your guard down enough to be taken off-guard by a joke or two.
Jesus did something similar with his parables. They seemed like harmless enough stories, until they snuck up on you and overturned the assumptions on which you had built your life.
Check out ClashRadio for more wit and wisdom from ClashDaily’s Big Dawg. While you’re at it, here’s his latest book:
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