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Dave Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones: Means To Offense

The truth will set you free. That’s a powerful biblical proverb. I also believe it’s true. It’s better to know the truth and face the repercussions than live in ignorance and not be aware. If something is controlling me and oppressing me I’d rather know about it because I don’t believe there’s bliss in ignorance. I think there’s frustration and avoidable mistakes that can come from ignorance. And as a black person in North America in the 21st century, I have to be aware of history, the oppression people in my hue have faced and how it continues today in many obvious and covert ways. In our internet era it’s clear that a lot of people feel the same way. A lot of people are aware of the effects of straight white male supremacy in the world and the distortion in the history books and the whole nine. A lot of people are calling themselves “woke”.

Woke has become a trend, but it’s not a bad trend inherently. People are becoming more aware of social issues and are aiming for a better, progressive and inclusive world. Ideally there’s nothing wrong with any of those beliefs. That’s what we should all be striving for. A world where everyone loves each other and no one is mean and there’s no racism or homophobia and anyone can love who they wanna love and be who they wanna be. That sounds amazing and there should be nothing wrong with the world moving towards those beliefs. But then you start remembering that people are people. People might have the best intentions in mind but there’s always those on the fringes. Those that take everything to the extremes and make everything a cult.

These people that joined wokeness because Scientology didn’t find them first. It’s these social justice keyboard tyrants hell bent on stopping everything “problematic”. Will this volatile vixen go out and protest? No, but she will unleash her verbal venom on you with a cancellation clapback on Twitter, responding to your aids joke from 2008. We live in an age of false activism. There’s a group of people that wants to help with every cause and assumes the only solution to the problems plaguing society is social media curation. As if silencing everyone who’s made an inappropriate joke or said something problematic online is what’s going to bring about world peace.

By curating morality and perfection digitally we’re just putting a bow on a piece of shit and lying to ourselves. But that’s the world we’re heading towards. Political correctness is now expected from regular people and entertainers while vulgarity is tolerated from politicians. Twitter will “do its thing” to Billy Bob the theatre usher from Minnesota but Canadian Prime Minister candidate Andrew Scheer can compare Gays to dogs and Donald Trump can grab women by the pussy and call African countries shit holes. Maybe if social media were an accurate reflection of life instead of a personalized curation then things wouldn’t feel so slanted. Social media and all liberal news said there was no way Trump could even have a chance in the elections, but he won.

But I understand where they’re coming from. As humans we’re the products of a lot of bullshit. People are just trying to mend mistakes of the past but we might be overcompensating. You can’t make jokes around supposed “woke” people because everything is problematic. “You should use correct pronouns and check your privileged, heteronormative, Eurocentric, cis gendered, mysoginistic, beastialistic views, you piece of shit.” And maybe I should, but all a niggas tryna do is fuck around some times. I like to joke around and speak my mind without the overarching fear that someone may misinterpret what I’m trying to say and label me a word I can’t pronounce. That’s how twitter used to be. I’ve had twitter since I was 11 years old. We’re a generation that grew up on the internet, but we’re also the generation that’s holding people accountable for what they said on the internet 10 years ago. That’s why Chappelle’s special dropped at the perfect time.

Dave Chappelle dropped one of the years funniest stand up specials with ‘Sticks and Stones’. Chappelles last special 'The Bird Revelations' was a masterpiece. This was Chappelle’s first special in nearly 2 years and it was highly anticipated. When it came out the special delivered. It was hilarious, it was profound at times, it was obscene and offensive, and it was perfect. It’s exactly what you would want from a Dave Chappelle special. It’s exactly what ‘Chappelle’s show’ was and it’s exactly what he’s been giving us for the last 20 years. He discussed race relations in America, he discussed cancel culture in depth and he talked about various social issues and the lgbt community.

Fans loved it and rated it a 99% on rotten tomatoes, critics hated it and gave it a 35% score on rotten tomatoes. One critic said “Sticks & Stones exists as a defiant design to intentionally offend large swaths of the audience Chappelle deems too thin-skinned and easily outraged.. while serving up simple, low-bar yucks to anyone yearning for validation of their anti-P.C. stance.” The discrepancy between the audience and the critics lies in the shift in culture. Dave Chappelle’s audience knows what to expect from Chappelle. The first episode of his Chappelle’s Show has a blind white supremacist who didn’t know he was black. This man was offensive from jump. But it was well thought out and genius, it wasn’t just offensive for the sake of being offensive. But the cultural shift doesn’t care. The critics don’t care about Dave’s stripes in acknowledging and standing up for social issues, they don’t care about him leaving 50 million dollars for integrity and they don’t care that as a comedian he has made fun of every group in the world.

Chappelle has made fun of every religion, every race, country, every stereotype and every celebrity. Nothing was off the table and that’s what made him special. And that’s what makes stand up specials, special. When comedians are able to take any taboo topic and go at it without fear of reprimanding and cancellation. It’s part of the gig. You can’t laugh at jokes until it gets to something related to you and then get offended. But our cultures sensitive. People are developing bitch nigga syndrome.

If this continues the next generation of comedians will be watered down hacks trying to say the right thing instead of the funny thing or the honest thing. We’d never have a Chris Rock, George Carlin, Louis CK or Bill Burr, or some of the profound things they’ve had to say, if they were always trying to say the right thing. Comedians are supposed to be able to go to the most taboo topics and find humour in it. Chappelle taking a defiant stand against the watering down of comedy and speaking as recklessly as possible was a stance for the future of comedy. Chappelle talked about our cancel culture like the virus it is and reminded us that stand up is supposed to be the safe haven for reckless talk. Long live Chappelle!

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