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Roxane Gay Nails Dave Chappelle in New York Times

We generally have the same debates about comedy over and over. Let’s address those upfront: Art should be made without restriction. Free speech reigns supreme. Sometimes good art should make us uncomfortable, and sometimes bad people can make good art. Comedians, in particular, are going to punch up and down and side-to-side.

Also true: Comedy is not above criticism, even if the most famous, wildly wealthy comedians will keep insulting those who question them. It’s just laughs, right? Lighten up. All criticism is forestalled with this setup, in which when you object to anything a comedian says, you’re the problem. You’re the one who’s narrow-minded or “brittle” or humorless.

“Shut up,” Dave Chappelle recalls telling a woman who had the gall to challenge his comedy, using a sexist slur and laughing at how witty he is, as if he’s the first man to ever deliver such an original, funny line. “Before I kill you and put you in the trunk. Ain’t nobody around here.” The audience cheers, before Mr. Chappelle explains that he didn’t in fact threaten the woman: “I felt that way, but that’s not what I said. I was more clever than that.”

Mr. Chappelle spends much of “The Closer,” his latest comedy special for Netflix, cleverly deflecting criticism. The set is a 72-minute display of the comedian’s own brittleness. The self-proclaimed “GOAT” (greatest of all time) of stand-up delivers five or six lucid moments of brilliance, surrounded by a joyless tirade of incoherent and seething rage, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia.

If there is brilliance in “The Closer,” it’s that Mr. Chappelle makes obvious but elegant rhetorical moves that frame any objections to his work as unreasonable. He’s just being “brutally honest.” He’s just saying the quiet part out loud. He’s just stating “facts.” He’s just making us think. But when an entire comedy set is designed as a series of strategic moves to say whatever you want and insulate yourself from valid criticism, I’m not sure you’re really making comedy.

Throughout the special, Mr. Chappelle is singularly fixated on the L.G.B.T.Q. community, as he has been in recent years. He reaches for every low-hanging piece of fruit and munches on it gratuitously. Many of Mr. Chappelle’s rants are extraordinarily dated, the kind of comedy you might expect from a conservative boomer, agog at the idea of homosexuality. At times, his voice lowers to a hoarse whisper, preparing us for a grand stroke of wisdom — but it never comes. Every once in a while, he remarks that, oh, boy, he’s in trouble now, like a mischievous little boy who just can’t help himself.

by Anonymousreply 31October 15, 2021 6:00 PM

[quote]“Shut up,” Dave Chappelle recalls telling a woman who had the gall to challenge his comedy...“Before I kill you and put you in the trunk. Ain’t nobody around here.” The audience cheers, before Mr. Chappelle explains that he didn’t in fact threaten the woman: “I felt that way, but that’s not what I said. I was more clever than that.”

That's pathetic. It reminds me of the one Lisa Lampanelli stand-up I saw, where it was "chink" this and "kike" that and then every single joke, every single one, was "Oh, we're just joking, right? We're just having fun! It's just fun and we don't mean it, we all love each other!" It's insufferable.

by Anonymousreply 1October 15, 2021 5:02 AM

I always go to Roxane Gay to fulfil my comedy needs.

by Anonymousreply 2October 15, 2021 5:06 AM

She sees herself as the universe's moral conscience.

She has been appointed by God to tell everyone else what is Right, and what is Wrong.

by Anonymousreply 3October 15, 2021 5:10 AM

So fed up with the trans Taliban.

by Anonymousreply 4October 15, 2021 5:13 AM

Are you sure you don’t mean say on Dave chapelle OP.

by Anonymousreply 5October 15, 2021 5:14 AM

I didn't like Chapelle's recent special either but miss Roxanne Gay critiquing comedy is like a blind person critiquing paintings, or like an anorexic person writing for the Michelin Guide.

by Anonymousreply 6October 15, 2021 5:14 AM

*sat on Dave Chappelle

by Anonymousreply 7October 15, 2021 5:14 AM

[quote]misogyny, homophobia and transphobia.

Her "review" in a nutshell. All other words are superfluous. Roxanne could just write those three words in lieu of every crappy article the idiots and the NYT pay her for, because that's the gist of her entire creative output. There are credible reasons to dislike Chapelle's new special: his preachy tone and the fact that he has no new material, but Gay's insights are shallow, and worst of all, she's a bad writer.

by Anonymousreply 8October 15, 2021 5:22 AM

[quote] or like an anorexic person writing for the Michelin Guide.

You mean, like me?

by Anonymousreply 9October 15, 2021 5:28 AM

Why has the idiot who posted this separated the article into three separate threads?

Does he think each portion of her editorial is worth an entire separate thread???

by Anonymousreply 10October 15, 2021 5:45 AM

Whenever I need a chuckle, Roxane Gay's my go-to for fun!

by Anonymousreply 11October 15, 2021 5:48 AM

Roxane always makes me laugh, but at her, not with her.

by Anonymousreply 12October 15, 2021 12:30 PM

Can I just compromise and dislike both of them?

by Anonymousreply 13October 15, 2021 12:45 PM

It's pretty rich for Roxane to call someone "joyless".

by Anonymousreply 14October 15, 2021 12:46 PM

I saw the Chapelle special last night. I was surprised at how bad it was, but Roxanne being considered an intellectual is truly a sign of the times. I read her NYT piece after watching it and truly, they both stunk.

by Anonymousreply 15October 15, 2021 1:33 PM

I’m with Roxane on this one. Chapelle’s either got some unresolved issues with homosexuality that keep making their way into his act, or he’s purposely dwelling on this stuff to court his audience of frat boys who think they’re edgy because they like him.

by Anonymousreply 16October 15, 2021 1:36 PM

If black people want to make the achievements that gay people have made, then stop acting like niggers. We stopped acting like faggots and finally got some respect. It's hard but can be done.

by Anonymousreply 17October 15, 2021 2:34 PM

A sista callin' out a brotha.


by Anonymousreply 18October 15, 2021 2:53 PM

The special was meh. I agree about that - there were moments of "lucid brilliance" but most of it wasn't.

I'm sick of hearing about his special and him. He has his views and he's putting them out there - which is perfectly fine. He's getting a lot of blowback - which is also fine.

by Anonymousreply 19October 15, 2021 3:13 PM

Nothing would bring me more joy than for Roxane to sit on Dave Chappelle and smother him to death.

by Anonymousreply 20October 15, 2021 3:22 PM

The amount of time he dedicated to trans in his show indicates his unresolved feelings for them and / or his deep, unresolvable disdain for them. He definitely has turned into Old Man Dave. Youth can make anger and misanthropy look edgy but once one ages into it, the charm fades. I am a fan of Chapelle but this was not very imaginative, insightful or intelligent. He came out swinging to protect the Old Guard and it was a little grasping at straws. I remain a fan, however, and believe the show should not be pulled.

by Anonymousreply 21October 15, 2021 3:30 PM

R21 Well put. I find a lot of the trans stuff exhausting at times, but the trans haters seem even more exhausting.

by Anonymousreply 22October 15, 2021 4:04 PM

This is catnip to Roxane.

by Anonymousreply 23October 15, 2021 4:56 PM

Not surpassingly Gay has no critique of Chappelle's obvious megalomania. He called himself GOAT(greatest of all time), and implied that he was somehow a hero for his brave stance on LGBT and doing a comedy special during a pandemic. Look, there are ways to joke about the gays but Chappelle masquerading as some underdog while being a rich celebrity is obnoxious. It's the same as the rich white ladies who think they're Mother Theresa for screeching about trans people on Facebook. Roxanne Gay does not pick up on this at all because she sees no problem with being an arrogant bloviating gasbag.

by Anonymousreply 24October 15, 2021 5:00 PM

Oh MY, R17.

by Anonymousreply 25October 15, 2021 5:00 PM

He equally railed against Jews and white women but I guess only the Trans are allowed their agency to be outwardly offended.

by Anonymousreply 26October 15, 2021 5:13 PM

I rimmed Roxane after she ate takis and 4 bean burritos!

by Anonymousreply 27October 15, 2021 5:26 PM

I don't know what's happened to Dave Chappelle and why he seems to be espousing the conservative side of things. Didn't he invent a blind black character who was a Klan leader? Doesn't he know he can't play both sides and not get called out?

by Anonymousreply 28October 15, 2021 5:42 PM

R28 He's always been this way. He's got a strain of black nationalism that's evident even in his early work.

by Anonymousreply 29October 15, 2021 5:45 PM

[quote]Nothing would bring me more joy than for Roxane to sit on Dave Chappelle and smother him to death.


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by Anonymousreply 30October 15, 2021 5:51 PM

r1- This woman followed him around the store and then out in the parking lot to confront him.

I laughed a lot which weirdly is how I judge comedians. He's honest. I disagree with him on Kevin Hart and other things but I don't look to him to be role model. For that I look to Richard Simmons! Make a bunch of money and then never talk to anyone again. " Is he dead? I heard he's dead"

by Anonymousreply 31October 15, 2021 6:00 PM
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