By Danielle Wallace, Tyler McCarthy
Published August 27, 2019
Comedian Dave Chappelle addressed the so-called “cancel culture” during his new Netflix stand-up special, released Monday, where he claims celebrities like Michael Jackson, Louis C.K., and Kevin Hart have all been the victims, to varying degrees, of today’s “celebrity hunting season."
"This is the worst time ever to be a celebrity," Chappelle said in the special “Sticks & Stones,” which is the comedian’s fifth special in the past two years. "You’re gonna be finished. Everyone’s doomed,” he added.
The comedian waded into sensitive topics, including allegations of rape and molestation by alleged victims who have just recently stepped forward.
Chappelle tried to make light of the allegations against Michael Jackson by pointing out that the pop icon has been dead for 10 years and still faces new child abuse allegations.
"I don’t believe these motherf--kers… I don’t think he did it, but you know what? Even if he did do it… you know what I mean? I mean, it’s Michael Jackson," Chappelle joked.
The 46-year-old comedian also insinuated that Jackson’s alleged child victims must have enjoyed being sexually assaulted since Jackson was famous, saying, "You know how good it must have felt to go to school the next day after that sh--?”
There was renewed interest in the allegations against Jackson after HBO released its popular documentary "Leaving Neverland," in which accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck alleged that the late singer sexually molested them when they were young boys in the 1980s and 1990s.
Chapelle then switched gears to say he does believe the allegations against R. Kelly because the R&B singer is known for both his music career and his sex tapes. In July, Kelly, 52, was arrested in Illinois on several charges, including child pornography, after prosecutors in several states accused him of using his fame to recruit young women and girls into illegal sexual activity.
"This guy makes more sex tapes than he does music. He's like the DJ Khaled of sex tapes," Chappelle said before calling out DJ Khaled's famous slogan, "Another one!"
Chappelle defended comedian Louis C.K., who allegedly masturbated in front of female comedians, joking “Louis C.K. was a very good friend of mine before he died in that terrible masturbation accident." He also went to bat for “poor Kevin Hart” who lost his dream Oscars hosting gig after old tweets surfaced in which the stand-up star used language considered to be homophobic.
"I don’t know what you know about Kevin, but I know that Kevin Hart is damn near perfect," Chappelle said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "As close to perfect as anybody I’ve ever seen. In fact, Kevin is precisely four tweets shy of being perfect."
A representative for Chappelle told Fox News that mere excerpts from the special shouldn't be taken out of context.
"Most of the press doesn't get it," the representative for the comedian said. "Kevin Fallon from The Daily Beast gets it.
The representative was referencing an article in which the writer explains that Chappelle is aware of the controversy he's courting with his words and does so purposely with the goal of making the viewer question their instincts to "cancel" someone over their words.
Viewers of "Sticks & Stones" shared a mixed bag of reactions on social media, with some cringing at the content.
"Does Dave Chappelle tell joke[s] anymore or is it just him spouting unpopular opinions?" one user asked.
"People think there are bad reviews of Dave Chappelle stand up is because they’re “triggered” and not because it’s just honestly not funny," another commented.
"Dave Chappelle's kinda trash isn't he? Laughed once, cringed like 20 times. Politics aside it's all just stupid identity jokes and "ugh I hate when people don't like bad things uuuuuggghhggfggg," a third noted.
However, despite the handful of people who seemed upset at the topics covered in Chappelle's special, a majority of Twitter users were quick to take to the platform to defend the comedian's shock-value humor.
"Dave Chappelle making fun of cancel culture and basically saying 'come get me you miserable f---s. Imma give you all the ammo'. I loved every minute of it," one user said.
"Dave Chappelle’s entire career was built on being offensive. For those of you that hate watched it, exactly what type of content were you expecting from him?" someone else asked of the backlash.
"Please dont watch Dave Chappelle if you’re easily offended," someone else quipped.