After an overwhelming amount of fan anticipation—and some controversy—surrounding Dave Chappelle’s announced appearance on Saturday Night Live, the big moment is finally here.
There were a lot of worries about whether Chappelle would even show up for the hosting gig, concerns that were so widespread that the show even made fun of them in promos. But Chappelle did indeed appear, and delivered a monologue that was in turns hysterically funny and poignant.
He began, of course, by talking about the election. He said that, while Donald Trump’s victory didn’t catch him that off guard, “it seemed like Hillary was doing well in the polls, but I know the whites,” he joked. He noted that white partisans on both sides were angered. “I haven’t seen whites this mad since the O.J. verdict,” he continued. “I’m not saying I’m enjoying it. I’m just saying I’ve never seen it before. I watched a white riot in Portland, Oregon on television the other night. The news said they did a million dollars’ worth of damage. Every black person was watching that like, ‘amateurs.'”
Chappelle continued by discussing mass shootings, which led him into talking about the Pulse nightclub shooting. He reminded the audience that, although initial reports claimed ISIS was involved in the shooting, what really happened was that the shooter “pledged allegiance to ISIS before he did what he did. That’s not the same as being in ISIS. That’s like, if I was going to have sex with a girl, and right before I did it, I screamed out ‘Wu-Tang!’ That don’t mean I’m in the Wu-Tang Clan! I’m just shouting Wu-Tang out.”
He went on to joke about Harambe; the difficulties of being rich and black (“your life becomes gentrified, like Brooklyn,” he said); the Black Lives Matter movement, and more.
Chappelle wound down by remembering a recent trip to the White House. He discussed the dearth of black visitors to the president’s home historically, and how moving it was to see a nearly all-black gathering at that same place.
“I saw how happy everybody was, these people who had been historically disenfranchised, and it made me hopeful, it made me feel proud to be an American, and it made me very happy about the prospects of our country,” he said.
The comedian concluded by wishing well for president-elect Trump, but with a caveat. “I’m wishing Donald Trump luck, and I’m going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one too.”