The Press Continues Trying to Cancel Dave Chappelle and He Continues Winning

STUART RAMSON

News outlets have yet to figure out that Dave Chappelle does not play by their contrived rules.

In this season of open-hearted activity and forgiveness, it is nice to know that we can count on the media complex choosing to not participate. The ongoing saga of Dave Chappelle’s offenses to the senses of the press endures — only insomuch as the press refuses to concede that their position on his supposed aggressions has no traction. Going on two months now, the comedian has come under media fire, and for just as long he has remained unscathed.

Just last week, we covered how the initial uproar within the offices of Netflix over his recent special, widely reported across the media, ended up fizzling more than a bottle rocket lit during a tropical storm. The major players departed the company and their representation declined to discuss the result of the staged protests. Hardly the takedown of a black entertainer that had been the goal. Now, Politico weighs in with more attempts to scorch the comedian, and the results are rather laughable.

This latest attempt concerns Chappelle making an appearance at his high school, where he has been donating his funds and time for the student body. We are told that there was some of the expected pushback, but the reality is rather revealing, and the comedian responded with his characteristic style that is both amusing and exposes the outrage mob.

The political outlet reports that when Chappelle made a recent speaking appearance at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts he received, “a not-so-welcome homecoming.” The slanted coverage of this visit is worthy of a cheesy sit-com laugh track. Chappelle was making an appearance in connection with a new theater constructed on campus that was set to be named after him. The recent upheaval over his Netflix show created enough controversy that the naming has been put off until next Spring, but the comedian elected to address the students over the matter.

In a concert hall, he spoke to a crowd of nearly 600, and Politico focused entirely on the negative. Chappelle took the stage to a raucous reception of cheers and some boos — and the hourlong session went south from there, we’re told.Already you see the fractures in this supposedly damning report. The use of “we’re told” delivers sketchy verification, and then we see the usual practice in the press of focusing on the minority of cranks rather than the overwhelming numbers in support.

Hundreds of thousands may turn out for a pro-life march but it is the dozens of protestors who receive camera time and get their message on the airwaves. In a similar fashion, Chappelle receives mostly thunderous support from hundreds who turned out, but it is the handful of carping co-eds who are the focus of attention. Politico laughably tries making this an unsettling event for Chappelle.

If the self-proclaimed GOAT hoped to smooth things over amid the backlash over his jokes about transgender people, he was in for a surprise of his own.

The attempt to make this into some kind of jarring episode for Chappelle ignores basic facts. For one, he has faced a national maelstrom over his special, with the national press complex clearly taking sides against him, and he has not flinched. He has been unapologetic, and while he entertained the idea of meeting with some activists, he declared how he would not be summoned to do so. 

Dave Chappelle performs at Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket /Invision/AP)

The second reality is that Chappelle has been a touring comedian for decades. He has, by training and by experience, learned to deal with surly audience members. Everything from obnoxious drunks to racial retorts has been flung at him on stage. I am certain the comedian was not shaken by the petulant teenagers who hurled inexperienced attitude at him when they took to the microphone — something he invited to take place, it needs to be clarified.

But then Chappelle made an announcement following his visit that was a clear shot across the bow of those social scolds. On the subject of the naming of the theater, he challenged those who opposed it on the basis of offensiveness to put their wallets on the line. He said, in an Instagram post, he accepts the naming of the theater with honor, but then declared that if there were enough complainers willing to put up money for the school he would let that honor pass.

“If you object to my receiving this honor, I urge you to donate to the school noting your objection. If you are in favor of the theater being named ‘Chappelle’, I urge you to donate to the school, noting your approval. Whichever opinion donates the highest collective dollar amount, wins. If by April, those against the ‘Chappelle’ theater exceed the donations of those who are neutral or in favor of the theater being named ‘Chappelle’, I will gladly steal aside. If not, I will happily attend the naming ceremony. And if you don’t care enough to donate… please shut the f–k up, forever.”

This is a perfect response, because it puts the onus on those prone to voicing outrage absent any type of real activity. The outrage set has been shown rather frequently to be quite loud in their grievances but more than timid in their actions; their bark is always worse than their wetting themselves once challenged. 

Chappelle has set himself up with a win/win scenario here. If the hectoring hamsters do as expected, they will be rather outshone in the donations, and if they somehow manage to rally enough financial support, it will be a serious windfall for Dave’s beloved alma mater and he will smile in supposed defeat. Once again, he manages to show up the mewling media with the barest of effort.