Dave Chapelle returns with a Netflix Special that will entertain and offend writes Phumlani S Langa.
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones
Available on Netflix SA
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Dave Chappelle is one comedian who has stuck to his brand despite changes in the social and comedic landscape. Some have cleaned up their acts, sanitised them dramatically.
Not Chappelle. In his latest set, no one is spared from catching smoke, and it comes as no surprise that it’s left many hot under the collar.
In Sticks & Stones he veers dramatically between clever and offensive, and sometimes he’s guilty of doing more of the latter. He takes shots at everything and everyone, and does so in the way he would’ve circa the years of Def Comedy Jam.
Much of his material consists of unadulterated insults, and some are even daringly funny and intelligently constructed.
But there are also a few jarring scripts and blatant bashing. Sticks & Stones is going to offend you – whether you’re black, white, Asian, a woman, a man – it doesn’t matter.
He opens up his set by making light of the heinous child molestation charges against Michael Jackson – revealed in documentary Leaving Neverland. His take on it?
“I know more than half the people in this room have been molested in their lives. But it wasn’t no goddamn Michael Jackson, was it? This kid had his dick sucked by the King of Pop. All we get is awkward Thanksgivings for the rest of our lives.”
Later, he lets loose with a joke about disgraced Empire actor Jussie Smollett and his fake modern-day lynching.
Heinous hilarity, he purposefully calls him Juicy throughout and absolutely mocks the brother. Rightfully so.
Last week American comedian Steve Harvey told me that it has become so difficult to tell a joke without upsetting someone.
He isn’t lying, and Chappelle seems to go full steam ahead by doing what can either be perceived as looking to shock or perhaps daring his audience to laugh at themselves.
There were moments in this special that I can get behind, but there were others that I’m shocked that Netflix gave the go-ahead to.