OFF THE BLOCK
I spent several hours tonight watching reruns of the Dave Chappelle Show. Every time I pulled up the laptop to start writing tonight’s blog, I got trapped into another episode. It was then that I remembered everyone talking about his latest SNL monologue. So, of course, I had to indulge.
The Not So-Funny Truth
Chappelle has been a master of making people uncomfortable. It is something quite peculiar about truth and how it makes us uneasy. Comedians, especially Chappelle, possess an amazing quality that allows them to suggest this truth while wrapping it in humor but still causing you to walk away contemplating what they just said. Undoubtedly, this latest monologue produced the very same effect that I just spoke on.
There’s no denying the racial overtone of the previous four years while Trump has been at the helm. Chappelle mentions this great divide, but leaves us with a task. Not just a task of voting in a new president. But the task of figuring out how to find happiness in times that seem so bleak. I suppose you might figure this is the sole purpose of a comedian, but I may be looking a little deeper. After watching his 16 minute monologue I was left urging myself to figure out my own happiness in spite of the trappings of a society that sometimes appears not to care. Not to care how I am doing, where I am headed or even that I exist. How difficult is that? How difficult is it to exist in a world that not only doesn’t want you to exist, but conjures up elaborate plans to convince you that your existence is indeed useless? I laughed at his jokes and cringed at his pain. The pain that perhaps can only be felt by being a black person in America.
Saturday Night Live
I watched the monologue twice. Similarly I’d watched his previous stand-up, 8:46, back to back as well. I have always been intrigued by the mind and words of Chappelle and while he makes me laugh, he certainly additionally makes me think. There is something about the hard uncomfortable truth that makes people squirm and become somewhat dismissive, but it is not until we confront those things that life can truly take a turn for the better. He opened up the monologue talking about his great grandfather who had been a slave for 10 years before being freed. He made mention of how he became a great man in his community who was steadfast in education, the freedom of black people and his connection to Jesus. With that being said, he wondered what he would say to him in this moment. I think of things like that often. I would like to think that I move in such a manner that the ones who have come and gone before me are proud to see the maneuvering I have done to realize whatever dreams I set forth as goals. All while trying to escape the anchors of being black in America. So, I agree with Chappelle, we must find away to move forward in spite of our anchors. In spite of our president. In spite of it all. The reality is that we have lost touch with humanity. Race, economics, politics and bureaucracy have made all of us forget the very basic ideal of unity. It’s time to get back on track.