"We shouldn't expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society's moral compass, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not just normalize but popularize #antisemitism," Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Twitter. "Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?"
In his monologue during the Nov. 12 episode, the controversial comedian denounced anti-Semitism in a prepared statement that referenced Kanye West, who has been accused of espousing bigoted tropes about Jewish people. "I denounce anti-Semitism in all its forms and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community," Chappelle said. "And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time."
We shouldn't expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society's moral compass, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not just normalize but popularize #antisemitism. Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) November 13, 2022
In the English language, Chappelle said, there are two words "you should never say together in a sequence: 'The' and 'Jews,'" he continued in the monologue. He added that West "broke the show business rules." Chappelle said, "You know, the rules of perception. If they're Black, it's a gang. If they're Italian, it's a mob. If they're Jewish, it's a coincidence and you should never speak about it."
"I've been to Hollywood and — no one get mad at me — I'm just telling you what I saw," the comedian said. "It's a lot of Jews. Like a lot. But that doesn't mean anything. You know what I mean? Because there are a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Miss., it doesn't mean we run the place."
Will Heath/NBC Dave Chappelle hosts 'Saturday Night Live'
Chappelle added that it "shouldn't be this scary to talk about anything. It's making my job incredibly difficult. And to be honest with you, I'm sick of talking to a crowd like this. I love you to death and I thank you for your support. And I hope they don't take anything away from me. Whoever they are."
Reps for Chappelle and SNL didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment about the blowback to the monologue.
In EW's recap of the episode, former SNL cast member Gary Kroeger weighed in on Chappelle's monologue. "I've learned to never try and predict a Chappelle monologue," said Kroeger. "His gift, like only a few others, is his clarity. That doesn't mean — i.e., trans issues — that his perspective is the only truth, but it is his truth and he illustrates issues in a way that we simultaneously recognize and also may have denied. He is a genuine comedic monologuist. He is topical without the constraints of being 'topical.'"
He added, "I don't look for things I approve of or don't approve of. Comedy is a personal taste, and satire has personal parameters. There will always be things one person likes and another hates. There will always be things one person finds offensive and another doesn't. I like comedy to stand apart, as best it can."
Chappelle has been criticized for his 2021 Netflix stand-up special The Closer, wherein he made jokes about the transgender community. Advocacy groups and members of the LGBTQ+ community condemned his rhetoric and Netflix employees staged a walkout in protest of the release. SNL cast members have also reportedly been upset with the decision to welcome back Chappelle as host.
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