I hate the term, “Comedy Nerd”. It is an insipid, bandwagon jumping bullshit phrase that I reject. I immediately assume anyone who calls themselves such knows very little about comedy, and it’s been proven true time and time again in conversation. If you don’t know who Greg Giraldo or Bill Hicks were, I can’t. Also, somehow, it’s become a cool thing like liking comic books (barf) and being super into Korean pop culture (I’m not 12, so no thanks).
Since I’ve been in pretty intense school for the last four years (doctorate if you’ve been under a rock), my interests have been focused elsewhere and so I’m not really up to date on the latest “hot” comics. I was never really interested in those types of people anyway, but I understand there are a lot of legitimately funny people coming up now that I mean to listen to.
That said, I don’t have Netflix, but have been hearing and reading about Dave Chappelle’s new special which is supposed to be a spit in the face of PC culture and the #MeToo movement. You know, movements where marginalized people are trying to speak up and fight back. He presents a well-worn argument about #MeToo going too far, and transpeople being overly sensitive, and also goes so far as to say the Jackson accusers were lying. I don’t know if you saw Leaving Neverland, but all of their supposed chicanery aside– these men are not lying. It never ceases to amaze me how much skepticism is shown to people who come forward regarding rape and incest. Anyhow, Chappelle defends Louis CK too, his friend. I think that some of you reading this will find his retort to the PC movement refreshing, but I am hoping to help you see why that is fucked up.
Do we want to be able to say what we please with out consequence? Yes. This is a free country, right? Yes. Well, sort of. However, when the marginalized and dispossessed come forward and say, this hurt me, or I could get killed going in to the wrong bathroom– as cis gendered people we should listen. And I think that’s what pissed me off so fucking much about Chappelle, is that he is just resting on his laurels talking about marginalized people and not doing his research. He talked to one trans person who called him out, and that’s it. If he had actually made an effort to do some research and reach out to people, I bet his routine would be different. Instead he chose to be defensive because he is no longer at the vanguard of new thinking about cultural difference. I really think that’s what it is. He used to be the guy everyone went to for the subtleties of race and racism, but now he’s on the outside looking in and it makes him uncomfortable. This attitude is indicative of people on the right and the left. I admit I am more inclined to agree with people on the left, as they are generally better educated and willing to listen to marginalized populations, but a huge problem is that neither side will listen to each other. It is a heartbreakingly simple solution because the right and the left both essentially want the same thing– the pursuit of happiness and all that garbage. They just have different ways of going about it. Instead, people are happy to spew rhetoric at each other and point fingers. Which is where we are today.
Getting back– the fact that Chappelle defends Louis CK, Aziz Ansari, R. Kelly, and Michael Jackson is absurd and possibly a hack attempt at being a shock comedian. But not a shock comedian for the sake of shocking, but simply an angry old out of touch guy shock comedian. Of course the #MeToo movement slashed and burned the careers of a few men, but they are millionaires (like Chappelle), so excuse me if I am holding the smallest fucking violin in the world that they are going to have trouble with their careers from here on in.
Don’t get me wrong. Being a comedy loving jerk, I adored Louis CK. I adored Chappelle. I enjoyed listening to MJ. Trapped In The Closet (R. Kelly) gave me hours of bewildered hipster joy. But now, perhaps because I’m a decent person? I am just disinterested. Not hateful, not doing it out of spite, but just disappointed and a bit bored. If I do get the urge to listen to MJ or Chappelle or Louis again, I will donate a dollar or two to the #MeToo movement or an organization that helps victims of sexual abuse or gender-based violence. I think that’s a good compromise.