Dave Chappelle is the free-thinking defender of free speech America needs. His latest Netflix comedy special, “Sticks and Stones,” has angered “woke” liberals. They should calm down and listen to him.
The great Lenny Bruce used to say you can make fun of god, as long as you make fun of the right god. In the late 1950s and early 60s, the wrong god was Kennedy’s God — the Vatican’s God. In turn, Bruce got in hot legal water for his Catholic jokes. Today, making fun of the pope is commonplace, and the wrong god is the one located inside the Koran. You pick the wrong god to goof on, and you could be finished.
This brings us to the courageous and hilarious Chappelle as he opens Sticks and Stones singing about the apocalypse — Prince’s monster hit “1999.” (The sky was all purple, there were people runnin’ everywhere. Tryin’ to run from the destruction, you know I didn’t even care.)
From there he weaves in tales of self-destruction, such as the tragic suicide of Anthony Bourdain, who “had the greatest job that show business ever produced.” He also tells the story of a genius he grew up with who romantically self-destructed at a young age.
Some of those watching Chappelle think he’s going after Trump. But he isn’t. Chappelle skewers the “woke” crowd as though they are not watching, and then declares he has just done an impression of everyone who keeps getting deliberately offended at everything — and he dares them to come at him now. “This is the worst time to be a celebrity,” he declares, because someone will dig up an old comment or tweet and kill your career. He dares them to do that to him, with the line from “1999” still hanging over the crowd: “Tryin’ to run from the destruction, you know that I don’t even care.”
Chappelle has offended everyone at some point. He dares you to be offended — and then offends you again. But this special isn’t just about offending for its own sake. Most comics do that. It’s also not about telling “jokes” that are really political affirmations and applause lines. Chappelle is far too clever for that. He deliberately and repeatedly offends to reclaim the right to offend, a right the left hacks away at every single day with woke speech policing.
Chappelle started his comedy career with no fear and has never found any. Ever since his film debut in the 1993 version of “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” Chappelle has gored sacred cows.
His latest special evokes a nursery rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But with the woke mafia and “cry bullies” using 10-year-old tweets to kill careers, words often do destroy lives.
Taking on the woke cry bullies isn’t the subtext of Sticks and Stones — it’s the only storyline, skillfully woven through jokes about Michael Jackson that aren’t really about Michael Jackson, and a riff on abortion that deftly crushes the logic of the “my body, my choice” crowd.
He nails the cry bullies for canceling Kevin Hart’s chance to host the Oscars, and then skewers Hart for apologizing. He rips “the alphabet people” — LGBTQ people — and shows how mocking them normalizes them. Most subversively, Chappelle never goes after Trump.
In the 65 minutes he stands there alone on stage, Dave Chappelle plants his flag, squares his jaw and fights to save the First Amendment. Time, and our resistance to progressive woke outrage, will tell whether Chappelle’s party is over.
A.J. Rice is the CEO of Publius PR. He has produced or promoted Laura Ingraham, David Bossie, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Monica Crowley, Corey Lewandowski, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Steve Hilton, Anthony Scaramucci, Pastor Paula White and many others.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.