Chappelle relies on controversy, shock factor to regain relevancy among fans


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Despite controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle,”Sticks and Stones” received an audience rating of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Dave Chappelle strikes up a lot of controversy in his newest Netflix Special “Sticks and Stones” by making jokes about hot button topics such as school shootings, the #MeToo movement and the LGBTQ+ community — particularly the trans community.

Throughout the multiple decades of Chappelle’s career, he has been known to make questionable jokes that are either borderline offensive or just questionably funny. Although many of his jokes are known for being controversial, Chappelle is a  respected comic who has a large following, and this is why: In 2016, Netflix agreed to give Chappelle $60 million for five Netflix comedy specials. 

However, in his third Netflix special, “Sticks and Stones,” Chappelle has again caused a lot of controversies. “Sticks and Stones” is filled with irony due to the fact that throughout the special, Chappelle says how “thin-skinned” people have become today due to cancel culture. Now, after the special came out, thousands of articles have been published discussing if Dave Chappelle should or should not be canceled because of his offensive and crossing- the-line jokes. 

Jokes that caused the most controversies circled around peoples’ reasoning for school shootings, defending his friend Louis C.K. for his #MeToo allegations, and his attempt to compare questioning one’s gender to questioning race when joking about the trans community. 

The thing about comedy is that guidelines are made to be pushed and explored for the sake of laughter. Chappelle attempting to joke about Michael Jackson and the recent allegations regarding pedophilia seems to be j too far.

Chappelle addresses how his jokes will probably offend people because offending people is not new information for him. He even tells  Netflix viewers that they “clicked on his face,” insinuating that they knew what they were getting into when they decided to watch the special. 

The way Chappelle chooses to joke about certain topics feels like the way a family relative who is not with the times would try to joke and discuss politics at Thanksgiving. It could be funny, but it just lacks a complete understanding of the communities he is poking fun at. Chappelle has an unapologetic nature when it comes to the jokes he makes.

He knows that making those kinds of jokes bring in views to his Netflix special. Although many are discussing whether to “cancel” Dave Chappelle for the jokes he made, this is definitely not the last time we will hear about Chappelle making controversial jokes. 

The ultimate thing to take away from Chapelle’s Netflix special is to show how much comedy has evolved within the past decades. Comedy can be about shocking and dark jokes. However, comedy has become more mindful of the audience and their experiences. This means that Chappelle may not lose many fans from his special, but could be losing potential new fans due to his controversial jokes.