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Dave Chappelle Knows The Whites

I’ve been out of the “Saturday Night Live” habit for years now but they’ve done really well with the election cycle, as they always have.

Kate McKinnon’s cold open was very well done. I kept waiting for the joke lyrics; they didn’t come. Quite a few in my Twitter feed found it sacrilegious for reasons I don’t understand.

Dave Chappelle’s monologue was terrific. Also rather profane; they don’t have to bleep it on YouTube. He manages to capture both the anxiety of people of color in the wake of the Trump victory and yet sound a hopeful note.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. MBunge says:

    You don’t understand why people would object to…

    1. Hijacking someone else’s death to make Hillary into some kind of martyr?
    2. A comedy program deliberately deciding to not be funny in one of the most comedy rich environments of all time.

    Just compare it to the Chappelle monologue where he manages to be both funny, political and self-aware enough to know that there’s more to this story than “Trump is the most horrible person ever, and so are all you idiots who voted for him!”

    Mike

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  2. McKinnon (as Hillary) was singing ‘Hallelujah‘, probably the best known song by the late Leonard Cohen who passed away just a day or so after the election. I can appreciate why his fans would be annoyed that they’d use it to try to score some kind of political point, or make a joke.

    I too was hoping for a good cold open take on the election outcome, and I expected SNL would also do something to mark Cohen’s passing. Combining the two seemed kind of inappropriate to me.

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  3. Liberal Capitalist says:

    She has a beautiful singing voice. We never expect a clown to have depth.

    I see it as poignant, We stand on the brink of dramatic change. The words are a fitting coda.

    You cannot deny that both parties have been shaken to the core by the outcome of the election.

    And, of course, those that need to have a sense of outrage will be outraged.

    sigh.

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  4. michael reynolds says:

    A) If SNL used a Leonard Cohen song they did it with permission of the rights holder. Now, that may not be Cohen’s family, but then again it might be. And in any case: money was paid for rights used, and the owner of the song could easily have said ‘no.’

    B) Chapelle is still an awfully good stand-up.

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  5. Davebo says:

    @MBunge:

    I’m totally unsurprised that your take on it was “making Hillary into some kind of martyr”.

    Obviously that not at all what I took from the opening.

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  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    I kept waiting for the joke lyrics

    I found the “I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you” line rather ironic given the context.

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  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Trump has already walked back about half of his promises. And you’re still on about Hillary’s lies.

    I’d actually feel sorry for people like you if you didn’t do such a good job making yourself so easy to despise.

    What do you think you won, aside from the nasty pleasure of terrifying black, brown and Muslim American children?

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  8. @michael reynolds:

    My understanding is that as long as you pay the ASCAP or BMI (depending on which agency the work is registered with) fee, then you can use the song without permission. This is why musicians are generally powerless to stop a politician disagree with from using their music during a campaign, as long as the campaign has paid the appropriate fee they don’t need permission. Although, most of the the time, the practice seems to be that they stop using it if the musician complains because they just end up getting bad press for pissing off a celebrity who usually has access to a bigger microphone.

    But, yea, you’re right there would be appropriate compensation to Cohen’s estate or whomever the rights holder(s) are. I think the point more is that a lot of Cohen’s fans were annoyed at SNL for seeming to politicize his death.

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  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m not as sure about performance rights as I am with my own little bugaboo: reprinting lyrics. You would not believe how hard it is to get permission to use two lousy lines of a song in a book. My publishers take a very restricted approach to ‘fair use.’

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  10. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    He is, by the way, the most horrible person ever, and yes, you idiots voted for him. And yeah, like the signs say, “Your vote was a hate crime.”

    You people have done a very bad thing.

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  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You’re so binary in you thinking. If someone lies that there is a treasure buried 100 miles to the east, you start digging a hole 100 miles to the west.

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  12. MBunge says:

    @Davebo:

    I don’t care what you think. I was trying to explain why people might have had a problem with the SNL open to someone who stated that he didn’t understand it. That it didn’t bother you is irrelevant. It apparently did bother some people. Those people exist. They are real. Their feelings are just as important as yours.

    Maybe they objected to it because they are just racist, sexist, xenophobic, fascistic, hateful idiots who can’t stand Hillary. Or maybe, just maybe, they are fans of a great musician who were unhappy to see a tribute to him conflated with an implicitly political message.

    And just because the truth actually does matter, what other purpose was there to have McKinnon do that dressed as Hillary if not to present Hillary as an object of sympathy?

    Mike

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  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    But, yea, you’re right there would be appropriate compensation to Cohen’s estate or whomever the rights holder(s) are.

    Should there? It’s been 88 years since Disney came up with Mickey Mouse, and he’s long past caring if he gets compensated for it. Should people be guaranteed an eternity of rents on our cultural heritage owing to an increasingly attenuated familial relationship to Disney?

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  14. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What do you think you won

    I didn’t win anything. It’s all a game of three-card Monty; there’s was never anything to win.

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  15. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s time to pull your head out of your butt, Reynolds. You are smarter than this. Maybe not as smart as I thought you were, but smarter than this.

    First, I didn’t vote for Trump, you arrogant clown. I found him to be an unacceptable candidate, like most of the others who comment here. And don’t tell me that a vote for anyone other than Hillary was a vote for Trump because even if that childish, asinine logic were legitimate, it was still your candidate’s job to get people to vote for her. That failure is her responsibility, no one else’s, and it’s just as much your responsibility for nominating such a terrible candidate when polls were telling you months before the first primary vote was cast that the American people DID NOT want to vote for Hillary.

    And if you think you are entitled to look down your nose at Trump voters, at least they knew how to pick a winner.

    Mike

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  16. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    1. Hijacking someone else’s death to make Hillary into some kind of martyr?

    Performing a song by a recently departed artist is not exactly “hijacking someone else’s death,” is it, Mike?

    I guess we should all buckle up for some right-wing political correctness, guys. It’s already here.

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  17. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    A vote for anyone but Hillary was a vote for Trump. Look at the totals, look at the states, and don’t give me bullshit excuses about voting your convictions. There is not a PoC or gay person who wants to hear some white guy puffing himself up for having contributed to this stain on American history.

    As for getting people to vote for her, whatever criticisms can be leveled at her campaign (and I’ve got a list) the fact is she did get more people to vote for her. 2 million more.

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  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t know why we even bother holding elections. I mean everyone knows the only legitimate vote is to vote for the Democratic candidate. We should just turn the DNC chair into something like the Nechung Oracle and every 4 years they can just tell us who the current incarnation of the President is.

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  19. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    I guess we should all buckle up for some right-wing political correctness, guys. It’s already here.

    It’s been here for a while. Witness the responses from many on the right to someone saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

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  20. Mr. Bluster says:

    I’m up on the tightwire
    One side’s ice and one is fire
    Its a circus game with you and me
    I’m up on the tightrope
    One side’s hate and one is hope
    But the tophat on my head is all you see
    And the wire seems to be
    The only place for me
    A comedy of errors
    And I’m falling

    Thank You Leon Russel RIP
    http://abc7news.com/entertainment/legendary-musician-leon-russell-has-died-at-74/1604999/

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  21. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @michael reynolds: He is, by the way, the most horrible person ever

    Trump’s worse than Stalin? Nero? Hitler? McVeigh? George W. Bush? Ted Bundy? Mao?

    Get thee to Hobbiton, stat.

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  22. Mr. Bluster says:

    And the Oracle says: The candidate who receives the most votes shall be the President…

    Oh wait. That would be some other country.

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  23. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge: “. Or maybe, just maybe, they are fans of a great musician who were unhappy to see a tribute to him conflated with an implicitly political message.”

    I’m not sure you can really call yourself a fan if you have never actually listened to the lyrics. Cohen wrote a lot of implicitly political songs, and a fair number of explicitly political ones as well.

    Can you image the outrage had their Baldwin Trump been singing “Everybody Knows” as the cold opening?

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  24. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: I think Trump’s policies will kill more people than Ted Bundy did.

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  25. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    Witness the responses from many on the right to someone saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

    Over the next 4-8 years, right wing political correctness is going to make the annual War On Christmas look like a game of checkers.

    Like we’ve been reminded plenty of times since Tuesday, payback’s a bitch.

    Also, just had to comment on this:
    @MBunge:

    That it didn’t bother you is irrelevant. It apparently did bother some people. Those people exist. They are real. Their feelings are just as important as yours.

    I have no doubt those people exist and their feelings are real, but I’m not willing to grant their feelings the same importance as mine, and not because I’m some kind of narcissistic jerk.

    It’s because feelings are not facts.

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  26. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @MBunge:

    theyTrump voters) knew how to pick a winner

    Trump won a election, whether he is a “winner” remains to be seen.

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  27. Andrew says:

    @Mikey:

    All Holidays Matter.

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  28. bill says:

    look at the bright side, now all comedians -regardless of race, color,sex, sexual orientation,etc. can actually make jokes about the president and not be crucified by the thin skinned msm and their cry baby ilk.
    chapelle is good but he’s better in skits.
    the “election watching” skit was good, but still pandering to those who can’r get over the race bs.

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  29. An Interested Party says:

    …make jokes about the president and not be crucified by the thin skinned msm and their cry baby ilk.

    BWWHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I doubt that very seriously, considering that the soon to be president is one of the most thin-skinned people on this planet…I mean, talk about a cry baby…I’m going to buy Twitter stock, as our soon to be commander in chief will be sending out tweets every other hour for however long he remains president, especially about people who are just so mean to him…

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  30. Michael Robinson says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I don’t know why we even bother holding elections. I mean everyone knows the only legitimate vote is to vote for the Democratic candidate.

    A very long list of senior, respected Republicans are on record with their view that Trump is singularly unsuited to serve as President of the United States.

    The lack of confidence in the man from his own party is unprecedented, and anyone who thinks this is just about Democrats vs. Republicans has simply not been paying attention.

    A very large proportion of Trump voters cast their vote with the deliberate intention to damage to the established institutions of American governance, and now they’re going to get their wish.

    This isn’t Democrats against Republicans, this is Americans against America.

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  31. Michael Robinson says:

    @An Interested Party:

    soon to be commander in chief will be sending out tweets every other hour for however long he remains president, especially about people who are just so mean to him

    Not strictly accurate. He sleeps two hours a night. But pretty close.

    9 hours ago:

    Wow, the @nytimes is losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the “Trump phenomena”

    10 hours ago:

    The @nytimes sent a letter to their subscribers apologizing for their BAD coverage of me. I wonder if it will change – doubt it?

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  32. sglover says:

    Y’know, I’ve always liked Chappelle, but honestly as soon as I heard “we know the whites” I couldn’t keep watching.

    NOT because I’m offended. Not even close. I can’t watch because all week I have been seeing many, many Dems studiously avoid any genuine examination of why we’re facing at least four God-awful years. And all of the self-stroking rationalizations begin with the same kind of logic that Chappelle is now using for laughs.

    Yeah, sure, there are bigots, and they flocked to Trump’s camp. Three years from now, five years from now, they’re going to regret that (though they’ll find somebody else to blame by then). But America DID NOT suddenly change last Tuesday. It DID NOT spawn a colony of millions of Brownshirts.in 2016.

    Trump won for one simple reason: The brain-dead Democratic Party — which is little more than a fund-raising organization that plays on people’s good intentions — fielded a horrible political incompetent who is widely disliked. And she is disliked for many, many good reasons. Nobody gives a damn if she’s a woman or not. She’s disliked and distrusted because she’s always done or said anything to get what she wants, and because she’s always done the work of warmongers and oligarchs. She’s practically the textbook example of a very wealthy, connected opportunist.

    Before you start whining about horrible redneck bigots and misogynists (and alienating lots of working people while you do it), explain some simple facts to me:

    How is it that instead of putting together a decent get-out-the-vote organization, Clinton spent much of the summer with the hugely popular crowd at Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup, sucking up dollars?

    How is that she never used all those dollars — she had lots and lots of dollars — to build a decent get-out-the-vote organization?

    How is it that this “experienced” candidate didn’t even an put together a get-out-the-vote organization in Philly, to ensure that she won Pennsylvania? For God’s sake, HOW DOES A DEM NOT CARRY PHILLY BY A HUGE MARGIN?!?! And of course, the same incompetent (but well-funded!) “organization” repeated the same shabby performance in lots of states.

    Clinton’s not a goddam victim here. Not even close. Her self-indulgence and self-seeking and epic cluelessness has made all the rest of America a victim, now. And the rotten, incompetent Democratic Party was the tool she used to do it. Don’t kid yourself that this hasn’t been brewing for decades, now. Dems have been throwing working people to the economic wolves since Slick Willy first started “feeling your pain”.

    Oh, and by the way Dems — there are now all kinds of “innovative” police and surveillance measures that YOU thought were just fabulous when Obama was busy expanding them. Now they’re in Trump’s hands. Maybe possibly it’s time to start thinking about **principles** instead of personalities?

    Sorry for the MANSPLAINING, by the way.

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  33. sglover says:

    @Michael Robinson:

    A very long list of senior, respected Republicans are on record with their view that Trump is singularly unsuited to serve as President of the United States.

    Yes — and isn’t it amusing (in a black humor kind of way) to watch so many of them scuttling back to lick his boots, now? It almost makes one wonder if those earlier Republican demonstrations of High Morality were, um, less than sincere…..

    Looking at the cast of characters around Trump, it looks like the very **best** case we can hope for is a repeat of the years of Bush the Lesser — but with even **less** judgment and **less** restraint. And maybe with a lengthy grudge list as well…..

    We’re in for another big show of Republican hypocrisy when they suddenly, magically discover that balanced budgets and “fiscal sanity” really aren’t all that important. They’re going to open the spigots and puff up a bubble. If they spend it on infrastructure and spend it WISELY, in a forward-looking manner, it’ll be a good thing. But these are Republicans we’re talking about, after all. I expect that we’ll just throw around a lot of asphalt and line the pockets of various well-connected “entrepreneurs”.

    Gotta give the devil his due, though: The man did put down TWO thoroughly rotten political dynasties. That is actually no small public service.

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  34. An Interested Party says:

    HOW DOES A DEM NOT CARRY PHILLY BY A HUGE MARGIN?!?!

    Umm, she did…the problem for her in Pennsylvania wasn’t Philadelphia…

    Dems have been throwing working people to the economic wolves since Slick Willy first started “feeling your pain”.

    Oh yes, and Republicans have just done so much more for those people…in 2020 Trump will really have to talk about the Mexican rapists because he won’t be bringing back all those jobs…those people who are pissed this year will be even more pissed in four years, if not sooner…

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  35. sglover says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Oh yes, and Republicans have just done so much more for those people…

    You do understand, don’t you, that I never ever claimed that Republicans are going to do anything good for working people? I’m pretty sure I clearly said pretty much the opposite.

    I’m saying that DEMS haven’t done all that much for working people either. For decades, now. And Clinton is the poster child for that.

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  36. sglover says:

    @An Interested Party: Actually, I stand corrected about Philly. Thanks for the numbers. Last time I looked, Dems barely eked out majorities in Philly and the surrounding counties.

    But Clinton still ran an incredibly lousy campaign, and it’s not like she was squeezed for resources. Trump didn’t win. She lost. Big.

    P.S. PLEASE don’t tell me how she won the popular vote, and how horrible and anti-democratic (small ‘d’) the electoral college is. Everybody in the solar system knows all that. For now the electoral college is part of the game. If the national Democratic Party doesn’t like it — and by now you’d think they’d have a clue about how it works against them — when are they going to do a damn thing about it?

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  37. An Interested Party says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Trump’s America

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  38. t says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbj7vx1Acps

    “just sprinkle some crack on him, let’s get out of here”

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  39. Mikey says:

    @sglover:

    For now the electoral college is part of the game. If the national Democratic Party doesn’t like it — and by now you’d think they’d have a clue about how it works against them — when are they going to do a damn thing about it?

    What do you suppose they can do when there’s literally no chance of even getting past the initial process of the necessary Constitutional amendment?

    When you figure out how they can get it done–how they can draft an amendment, get it passed through a Congress that’s been nothing but obstructionist for the better part of a decade, then get a bunch of states that currently enjoy a disproportionate strength in their Presidential votes to ratify it and thereby eliminate that strength, YOU can run for office and get it done.

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  40. al-Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    And if you think you are entitled to look down your nose at Trump voters, at least they knew how to pick a winner.

    Sort of …
    Trump, 47.2% (60,540,896) Clinton, 47.8% (61,336,066)

    also, I’m not sure how current these totals are, the margin could be wider for HRC

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