[Screenshot from The Kennedy Center, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwyeYmXjD1A&feature=emb_logo]
There’s a new First Amendment video in town, and you might wanna check it out.
Dave Chappelle’s laid out freedom of speech, and it’s something perhaps whole lot of people badly need to hear.
During his October acceptance of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, Dave went deep:
“I like not knowing what’s going to happen. I like making memories. Sometimes I do all this crazy s*** around my colleagues just so they can tell their friends I did it. Rather than talk about myself, just briefly, I want to just talk about my genre. Stand-up comedy is an incredibly American genre. I don’t think any other country can produce this many comedians. Unbeknownst to many people in this audience, I don’t think there’s an opinion that exists in this country that is not represented in a comedy club by somebody. Each and every one of you has a chance of being in the room.”
To Dave, the standup community is diversity (of thought) in action:
“We watch you guys fight. But when we’re together, we talk it out. I know comics that are very racist, and I watch ‘em on stage, and everyone’s laughing. I’m like, ‘That motherf***** means it.’ Don’t get mad at ‘em. Don’t hate ‘em. We go upstairs and have a beer, and sometimes I even appreciate the artistry that they paint their racist opinions with.”
He then laid out the whole idea of comedy, to which I also referred here among other places:
“Man, it’s not that serious.”
If you’re taking a joke seriously, then you’ve missed the fact that it’s…a joke.
As I’ve indicated before, perhaps I’m missing the outrage gene; but I just don’t get it.
How about everyone think and speak and do as they see fit? And everyone give everybody room?
If anyone’s being made to endorse any particular point of view, then we’ve lost the idea of America.
And the idea…is liberty.
Dave pointed out:
“The First Amendment is first for a reason.”
And then, to his credit:
“The Second Amendment is just in case the first one doesn’t work out.”
Chappelle noted the tension in the country — something that needs to go far away:
“We gotta let some air out of the ball, man. The country’s getting a little tight. It doesn’t feel like it’s ever felt in my lifetime. So tonight, I am honored that my colleagues are here in comedy and in music. And I want everybody in America right now to look at me. Look at me smoking indoors. I didn’t ask anybody; I just did it; what are they gonna do? Kick me out before I get the prize? This is called leverage.”
‘Til recently, there was an idea in this country: We will fight for each other’s freedoms.
In the 90’s, Jerry Springer turned to a man from the KKK and explained that, though he despised the man’s rhetoric, he would “fight to the death” for his right to spout it.
How are we now in a place where we need the Springer show to remind us how it’s supposed to be?
Well, we actually don’t; thankfully, we’ve got Dave:
“There’s something so true about this genre when done correctly: That I will fight anybody that gets in a true practitioner of this art form’s way because I know you’re wrong. This is the truth and you are obstructing it. I’m not talking about the content; I’m talking about the art form, do you understand? Do we have an agreement?”
Having said all that, he ended on a (career) high note:
“And what I really wanted to say tonight, and I’m glad I get the platform to do it: I’m gay. I am gay and I can’t wait to see what this does for my career being gay like this.”
Enjoy the full video above.
And I have a question for you: I believe the pendulum will swing from this wokest moment to an expanded liberty onstage. But will it ever reach the heights of freedom found in yesteryear? Is it possible? If so, how do we get there?
I look forward to hearing from all of you.
Finally, how about a little unity, that came at the tale end of a touching story Dave relayed about his mother:
“I’m not afraid of any of you. When it comes word to word, I will gab with the best of ’em. Just so I can chill and be me. And that’s why I love my art form. ‘Cause I understand every practitioner of it. Whether I agree with them or not, I know where they’re coming from. They wanna be heard. They got something to say. There’s something they noticed. They just wanna be misunderstood.”
That’s all of us. If only all of us were willing to listen.
Relevant RedState links in this article: here.
See 3 more pieces from me:
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.