The Most Insidious Viral Marketing In The World


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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73 Responses

  1. LTL FTC says:

    What most disappointed me about these reviews is how same-safety criticism has become these days. Yeah, he’s rich. Yeah, he punches down, as if he hasn’t had a pathetic crackhead character for years. Maybe he should be chided for failing to get the memo that there’s a much longer list of things we don’t joke about now. The most critically lauded comedian of the last two years got famous from a show in which she made a big deal of dropping the laughs in favor of berating the audience and high theory. That’s a safe thing to praise, which matters to the underpaid writers who churn this stuff out and always one step ahead of cancellation.

    The narrow censorious politics of the campus ate criticism. It was always there, but now little else remains. It’s all “is X allowed to say Y,” demographic bean counting and table scraps for things like … performance, drama and pacing.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LTL FTC says:

      The turmoil dialog going on in the critic’s head:

      “I have to condemn this.”
      “But it’s funny.”
      “But I have to condemn this.”
      “But it’s funny.”
      “But I have to condemn this.”
      “But it’s funny.”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        And, yeah, you can see up there where I said to myself “if you don’t hint that there’s stuff in there that you disapprove of, you’re going to create drama”.

        So I put it in there. In an effort to avoid drama.

        And the excerpt used by the tweet promoting the post?

        And now *I* am part of the viral marketing!Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

          (Note: I’m not complaining. If I were complaining, I’d take this to private email and express my concerns. This isn’t that.)Report

          • LTL FTC in reply to Jaybird says:

            It’s amazing just how small the audience for all these endless caveats is. 99.9% of the population is going to know from a pre-woke-style review that Chappelle will target just about everybody got mockery and hyperbole. If that’s not for you, that’s not a knock on him, just watch something else.

            But for just a few loudmouths who the media seems afraid to ignore, failing to issue-spot is essentially signing on to the least charitable interpretations of the whole thing.Report

    • Brent F in reply to LTL FTC says:

      There’s a wider issue about criticism I think. So much of modern criticism is about what the political implications of the work are. Not just in lay discussions about the work, but in professional and semi-professional criticism by critics who should have the training and expertise needed to analyse a work deeply and they devote the bulk of their column space to political implications.

      The opportunity cost of this is there ends up being precious little analysis about the work as a work of art. In this case, Dave Chappelle is one at the elite tier of performers in his medium, an all time great. Given the opportunity to produce whatever he wanted, it sounds like he produced something acceptibly good but not near his prime performance. IMO, Discussion by somebody who really knows comedy on a technical level of why that is would be edifying, interesting, and worth 10 minutes spent reading. Instead the discourse is mainly cheap clickbait about how it relates to the latest culture war obsessions. It would be one thing if that’s what the clickbait factories were producing, but higher prestiege outlets are typically obsessed about this mode of criticism above others, which leads me to think its related to an academic obsession with politics of art over technique.Report

      • Jesse in reply to Brent F says:

        Except part of the point people are making about Chappelle is that he’s making random guy on Reddit tier “I identify as a attack helicopter” jokes.Report

        • Brent F in reply to Jesse says:

          That sounds like a pretty weak joke. Maybe the discourse would be improved with a breakdown of why the joke didn’t work as a joke in comparison to Chappelles’s usual skill rather than a pile on about it being offensive.Report

          • veronica d in reply to Brent F says:

            Or we could choose not to do that.

            Perhaps we can break down why “them coloreds sure do like fried chicken and watermelon” isn’t fucking funny anymore. We could write paragraphs on that.

            Or we choose not to write paragraphs on that.

            The reason the helicopter joke isn’t funny is it mocks trans people. That’s it. That’s the whole thing.

            “But why isn’t that okay?”

            Do I need to explain why fried chicken and watermelon jokes aren’t okay?

            “But what about {hypothetical fried chicken and watermelon joke that’s actually funny somehow}.”

            Sure, hypotheticals. But this ain’t hypothetical. It’s what happened.Report

  2. Fish says:

    To tie into your Mindless Diversions post…I, too, am pretty much all alone over here. I, too, have a handful of tasks that I need to accomplish today (it’s all stuff that I decided should be done instead of stuff that I’ve been tasked to do because nobody is in fucking charge over here but I digress…).

    I may or may not be watching Chapelle’s new special right now while I do the things.Report

  3. I watched it and thought it was both offensive and pretty funny. It’s consistent with everything he’s been doing throughout his career.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Siegel says:

      I’ve watched it about halfway and had to stop for sleep, but I intend to finish it.

      But I agree, it’s rude, it’s offensive, but it’s funny.

      I hate the idea of sterile, or PC comedy. A big part of what makes things funny is the shock value. And yes, one can go too far mining content for shock value, but that is a personal taste kinda thing.

      A comedian needs to maintain a certain aloofness about the topic they are talking about. If they care too much about whatever it is, they transition from funny to frothing. I thought Chappell was doing a pretty good job maintaining that aloofness.Report

  4. veronica d says:

    I’m just never going to be okay with crass bigotry as humor, even if it’s “clever.”

    After all, I no doubt could produce a “clever” social commentary that includes watermelon jokes and how the n-word rolls of the tongue — and by the way, the jokes must be cliche, since all of Chappelle’s trans jokes are (so far as I know) cliche garbage barely past the “I identify as an attack helicopter” level of bullshit. But anyway, sure, I could do that? Should I?

    Like, fuck that guy.

    Am I offended?

    Whatever. Fuck off. That’s not the point.

    Why do we enjoy mocking vulnerable people? Why is bigotry funny? Why are we cruel in that way?

    “But Veronica, you’re scolding me!!! Waaaaaaa!”

    Fuck off, you big baby. Cut it out. Grow up.

    You might call it moralistic scolding, but mostly I’m calling out your raw dipshittery. It’s fucking childish.

    The world has too many wannabe edgelords. It’s not cool. It’s not actually “edgy,” because any sadsack chan-nerd can say dark and terrible things. Wanna listen to the edgiest black metal preaching rape, war, and death? They sell it on Amazon. After that, what else is there?

    You can make it your image!

    Which, fine for a teenager. Aren’t we fucking grownups now?

    Being a “rebel” has passed from cool to being utterly fucking typical.

    “But back in the day you could be really edgy!!!”

    But most of you weren’t. At best you were boring-ass, low-key homophobes and racists.

    “But I liked Rocky Horror!”

    Fine. So did I. I like the songs.

    You wanna be edgy now? Try being earnest.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

      Netflix also has the Hannah Gadsby special, Nanette, available.

      And good news! She’s got a special coming out next year!Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

      Yeah, his LGBTQ bit didn’t land with me, because it was just so cliche. I wasn’t offended (mainly because I refuse to be offended for other demographics), but it wasn’t edgy, or that funny. It’s like he doesn’t actually know any LGBTQ people, and was working off stereotypes from movies that are 20 years old (case in point, his characterization of Trans people was Drag Queen, which is not Trans, but was how most people thought of Trans, 20 years ago).

      To contrast, last week I was in Vegas and saw Cirque du Soleil Zumanity, and the MC was making some very funny, very risque (the show is burlesque) LGBTQ jokes, that landed quite well. Gotta know who you are talking about, and who your audience is.Report

    • LTL FTC in reply to veronica d says:

      It’s not that you’re not allowed to call the special childish and the people who like it dipshits. Be my guest, however childish it may be to call someone a dipshit in the first place, especially over a Netflix special. The problem comes when critics and cultural decision makers give themselves over fully to the scolds, with their ever-growing list of thou-shalt-nots and endless supply of vitriol for wrongthink-y cultural ephemera.

      The rebel or edgy type today isn’t some earnest *ism-hunter making sure art doesn’t hurt someone. That’s the safest option, dominant all over the cultural world. It’s autopilot.

      The edgy rebel is the guy who keeps doing what he wants to do in the face of scolds and their cultural power.Report

  5. InMD says:

    I can’t decide if it’s worth my time or not. I’m not a big stand up fan. Even with my priors on this type of issue I kind of hate being pandered to. Indeed, one of my biggest gripes with the kind of thing it sounds like he’s griping about is the pandering.

    Of course I also found his tv show to be very hit or miss (blasphemy for my generation, I know). My favorite Chapelle is when he gets into the sublimely ridiculous (Sir-Smokes-A-Lot in Half Baked, or the Prince sketch). Maybe I’ll just defer it to my wife. One of the best things about marriage is letting her make the hard decisions about entertainment consumption.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

      I’d say that the only parts of the show that rely on his facial expressions are in the parts of the show that aren’t particularly funny. So minimizing the window and then listening to it while you play a game that doesn’t rely on sound (like Slay the Spire!) might be on the table.Report

      • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

        Maybe we’ll do that. We’ve got our fantasy football draft going on this weekend which could be conducive.Report

      • Fish in reply to Jaybird says:

        Darkest Dungeon probably works for this, too…but then you’d miss out on your Ancestor’s voiceover (“Remember: Triumphant pride precipitates a dizzying fall!”)Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah, on a purely aesthetic level, one thing I noticed is that as he’s filled out into glorious middle age… he just doesn’t “look” as funny as he used to… his signature boyish goofy grin is gone gone gone. It took me a little bit to adjust to the *lack* of physicality that he used to employ.

        Partly I think he’s still adapting to “The New Dave” because, like an old pitcher learning to pitch, he can’t rely on the old heater anymore.Report

  6. Damon says:

    The clip shown here I thought was funny. I’ll probably watch the show one day. His skit with Wayne Brady was “da bomb” back in the day. He’s offensive. Meh so what. “I don’t care”. I don’t care that others care. Turn it off. Stuff taken to the logical absurdity IS funny. Frankly, obsessing about stuff that a lot of people obsess about these days is tedious and, in the long run, irrelevant. My not agreeing with someone’s life choices doesn’t mean I have to voice my disagreement to them. Sadly most other people seem to think getting up in my business because they OBJECT to something about me is their right. It’s not.Report

  7. Fish says:

    Finished (but not the tasks because things that I thought were fixed keep cropping back up grrrrr…..). It’s everything you’d expect from Dave Chappelle: Some laugh-out-loud funny stuff; some stuff that misses; and just like Jaybird said, plenty of stuff to make you feel just a bit uncomfortable (which I hear is something that art is supposed to do, right?). Chappelle himself even points some of this stuff out (or maybe it’s a “get out of jail free” card he deploys) when he says, “You’ll all have to figure this out for yourselves,” which he says a couple of times. The LGBTQ stuff is pretty tame (“attack helicopter”-brand stuff, as Veronica points out) but I can certainly understand why some might find it offensive.

    I agree with what Veronica says. I also think Dave Chappelle is funny. I don’t know how to reconcile any of this. To be human is to be internally inconsistent and constantly conflicted.Report

    • Fish in reply to Fish says:

      (Oooh! Fixed the worky-stuff! A mysterious combination of stopping and restarting firewalld and network and everything is fine. Now the only question remaining is WWWWWHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!)Report

  8. Chip Daniels says:

    I remember in the late 70’s SNL had a hilarious skit called “Ask Elvis” where they had a medium ask the ghost of Elvis questions from viewers. And of course, every answer involved advice to consume mass quantities of drugs and food, har har.
    The ghost of Elvis was played by John Belushi who was maybe just a couple years from dying of a drug overdose himself.

    Oddly, SNL never reprised the skit as “Ask Belushi”.

    Like Mel Brooks said, “Comedy is when you fall down a manhole and die; Tragedy is when I get a paper cut.”

    I don’t know, I’ve just lost the appetite for cruel humor maybe because there is so much actual cruelty around. Schitt’s Creek is kind of the speed I’m at now, where all the barbs are blunted and there is a tone of respect and kindness under the mockery.Report

  9. greginak says:

    Whenever i here about someone like a comic who is shocking or offensive i wonder which way they are being shocking/offensive. You can shock someone by showing a truth through humor that people won’t admit or couldn’t see. That is shocking. Carlin did that and so did Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles. The other kind of shock is to just be wildly impolite or disrespectful to people. That can be funny though it usually requires not caring that you are disrespecting people. The people who disrespected usually aren’t worth much in those cases. The first kind of shock is really powerful, the other is somewhere between meh and that was a decent laugh.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

      In my opinion, this special has a buttload of both kinds of shocking/offensive. A double buttload, if you will.

      There will be stuff in the show that will make you say “that show would have been *SO* strong without that particular bit!”

      There’s also the stuff in the show that would have made the show that strong without that particular aforementioned bit.Report

  10. Marchmaine says:

    I can’t say I *wouldn’t* have watched the Chapplle special, but I can say I’ve watched it already because of the stuff other people said.

    I guess I mostly agree with you in that there are quite a few bits that seem like clunkers, a few that I still don’t get what he was going for, and a few that were pretty insighful… sometimes darkly so. My out-group perspective is that all the good/bad/ugly bits were aimed at your in-group. My oxen were mostly ignored, yours got gored. But, that didn’t make the jokes funny for me (the ones that weren’t funny, that is), it just meant that I could see why y’all felt betrayed. Its not supposed to work this way.

    Michael Jackson bit… no payoff, basically offensive.
    Abortion bit… not a joke we Catholics could possibly make, but shit… that one hit hard.
    Reverse Racism bit(s)… Mostly funny and uncomfortable for right and left alike.

    I guess I wanted to comment against the idea that folks on the Right liked the special because it was hitting part of the Left’s orthodoxy… this *isn’t* a conservative critique or show… its something else. Maybe it feels like defection to some, but its closer to that than an external critique. As I say, most of my oxen emerged intact… maybe some collateral goring… but I felt like an outsider watching an insider turf war… and in the world of stand-up comedy, that’s pretty rare.

    For pure execution of a one-man show, I’d give it a “B” with the caveat that some bits are unredeemable, even from a comedy perspective.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      The Michael Jackson stuff was the stuff that I found most indefensible. The abortion issue was one that was well-kicked around by Every Single Cis-Het White Male who took Women’s Studies in the 90’s.

      The one that I found most insightful was his bit on talking with Standards and Practices. “Oh. So that’s why he includes so much LGBTQ stuff in his set.”

      I imagine that, some day, some comedian will have a bit about how Pride is the best goddamn thing to ever happen to White Supremacy. And the right people will be offended. And the wrong people will write posts about how they didn’t find it funny but you should see the bit anyway.

      The stuff that had me the most was the opening bit about Anthony Bourdain and comparing him to his friend and the stuff about the Opiate Epidemic and the stuff at the end.

      Looking back at it now, it felt like all of the material in the show was disjointed… Like it came from three different shows. Two of the shows that he lifted stuff from were pretty good. The third? Meh.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah… the standards and policies one was good… the punch line dawned on me mid-way through the bit, but then the fact that it took until mid-way for it to occur to me was what made it more than just a joke. By the time he turns around to tell what’s her name what’s what… you’re on the punch line and it lands like a punch.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I think the Jackson bits were important to start with to establish that he had no line, as opposed to drawing his “do not cross” line slightly differently from yours. “What is the most indefensible thing I can possibly defend? Michael Jackson and little boys. So let’s go for it.”

      That freed the entire stage for him to dance on, and that’s almost certainly why it kicked off the performance instead of being somewhere in the middle of it. If you take it out, the audience would spend the show trying to discern where his lines were drawn, trying to figure out where he stood on each issue.

      So I regard his opening as structural, more of a literary device to set the stage for what follows. Plus, there ain’t no such thing as a free trip to Hawaii.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to George Turner says:

        No. It doesn’t do that at all. The audience is still always trying to discern where the lines were drawn and still trying to figure out where he stood… so if the point is to stop that, then it fails as a device. If he’s trying to move himself outside the lines so he can critique the in-group… then he needs a new device.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I suspect that a serious (but also quite funny) critique could be made of “SJWs” without attacking transgender people. For one thing, it’s the wrong target.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to veronica d says:

            Likely it doesn’t change your thoughts on the matter, but Renee from Standards and Practices isn’t a “SJW” she’s respectable like us. Or, if I wanted to push some buttons I’d say she’s the median professional suburban woman who reliably votes democratic for the right reasons, supports all the right causes and has a house in an appropriate zip code. She thinks Dave is a N****r.

            [This bit is the pre-cursor to the bit you are discussing up thread… maybe tangentially related, but if we don’t see it as a Race bit, then, well, he wins. Starts at about the 20min mark if you’d like to rewatch]Report

  11. Aaron David says:

    I haven’t seen it yet, and though I probably will at some point, I am notorious for not being in the zeitgeist. So, that said, two thoughts on YOUR review. 1. Much of the art of standup comes from the actual delivery. The awkward pause, the grimace, most of all the timing. To get the most out of it, and this is where it actually differs from philosophy, it needs to be presented, as it is an art, not a science. It is kinda like being told that to get the most out of jazz, you need to read a book. If that is what it takes, and not a visceral reaction than it is a dead art form. And 2. The left is losing the cultural war. Badly. Oh, they are winning the battles, but much like Vietnam, that isn’t the important part.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

      Responding to #1:
      That is because the majority of stand-up comedy is crap that relies on the charisma of the speaker rather than on the quality of the material being delivered. Hey, don’t get me wrong. It can be fun to watch a charismatic person spin straw into gold. But the moment the charismatic person stops spinning, the gold wisps away leaving the straw.

      2. I dunno. Maybe. I do feel a vibe similar to the last days of the televangelists. It felt like their version of Christianity was ascendant and they would have their hand on the tiller forever… and, of course, that feeling has since subsided. I *DO* think that we, as a society, are growing resistant to a lot of the social control tools that worked really well there for a while… but the culture war seems to be something that ain’t never going to end and so losing it isn’t really possible. But, yes, it does feel like we’re on the cusp of something.Report

      • Fish in reply to Jaybird says:

        “That is because the majority of stand-up comedy is crap that relies on the charisma of the speaker rather than on the quality of the material being delivered.”

        A comic is successful because his material, his delivery, and his stage presence all come together to make a bit work. You can’t separate the material from the delivery system. They’re a whole and must be considered as such. You can’t take Stephen Wright’s jokes and hand them to George Carlin and expect the same laughs. Wright’s jokes are funny because the content fits his deadpan delivery style. Carlin’s jokes are funny because the content fits his loud ranty shouty finger-pointing “you’re-laughing-now-but-it’ll-be-your-turn-next” style.

        The deck is also stacked in favor of the comic at a show, too. People come to a comedy show primed to laugh, and this helps some jokes land that otherwise maybe wouldn’t. Some of the absolute WORST gigs a comic can get include opening for a band because the audience isn’t there to laugh. They’re there to listen to music and head-bang and dance and sing along.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Fish says:

          You can’t separate the material from the delivery system.

          I daresay you can. A good comedic bit is like a good poem. We’ve all read books or poems and thought “OH MY GOSH THIS IS AWESOME” and then heard the artist who created it speak and found ourselves saying “wait what” and disappointed that the voice we imagined in our head is not the voice of the artist who created it.

          It’s nasally. They have a thick accent and not one of the sexy ones. Like upstate Michigan kinda accents. They say “melk” and “pellow” and “eye-talian”.

          But the poems are still good.

          If a joke is awesome when The Right Comedian delivers it but it lies flat on the page, then it’s not a good joke. It’s a crappy joke that The Right Comedian turns into a good bit.

          There’s comedy out there that is truly transcendent. (Read Lysistrata! It’s still good!)

          And really good comedy is really, really hard.

          There’s no shame in only having jokes that are only good when only The Right Comedian tells them.Report

    • Jesse in reply to Aaron David says:

      The Left is losing the culture war so badly that the next generation is voting 70-30 Democratic.

      The only people arguing the “Left” is losing the Culture War badly are Boomer/Gen X dudes like you who desperately want those damn SJW’s off their TV screen and leftists who want another reason to punch people slightly to their center.

      What You Think – Pewdiepie proves the edgelords are winning
      Reality – Every actual poll of younger people.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

      And 2. The left is losing the cultural war. Badly. Oh, they are winning the battles, but much like Vietnam, that isn’t the important part.

      I guess I have to ask if you’re equating electoral politics and culture here, since it seems pretty clear – obvious, almost – that the left is winning the culture war (most of the left’s views on major issues enjoy majority support nationally and within most states) but losers elections, and I think a non-negligible part of the latter is a result of structural issues like gerrymandering and voter suppression. I mean, polling consistently shows that even self-identified conservatives support policy positions advocated by the left but which are consistently opposed by the GOP Congresscritters they elect to represent them. Which suggests a third option here: that the left isn’t losing the culture war, but the Party-branding war.Report

      • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

        The left is losing the culture if the only thing a person can see is the most abrasive SJW’s. However there is a successful business model for keeping the Olds scared of SJW’s. Not that some fraction of every strident group doesn’t have unpleasant people, but that is all some see. I see young people now strongly against homophobia and racism. They are gravitating towards trying to respect people. This is young people i talk to, not just caricatures.Report

        • Jesse in reply to greginak says:

          Yup – the irony is, if I had to guess, the biggest audience of all the ‘young’ conservatives like Charlie Kirk and Ben Shapiro are…older Boomers. Meanwhile, the people under 40 willing to vote Republican seem to be rich people, extremely socially conservative people, and loser dudes.

          For every ‘shock jock’ style SJW’s taken down style video on Youtube, there’s a dozen different cooking, makeup, or other types of videos being made by a diverse group of folks that slowly move people even outside the largest urban areas more to the left.

          A teenage girl in rural Nebraska watching makeup tips from a lesbian in Seattle that talks about her girlfriend is probably going to be slightly more liberal, than that same girl growing up in rural Nebraska in 1998.

          Obviously, it’s not perfect, and there are studies showing how the extreme right can cause trouble on YT, but in general, the shitty people on Youtube or Twitter can make individual peoples life hell, but they can’t effect politics that much.Report

      • InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

        Maybe this is a stupid distinction but sometimes I think we’re in transition from what we used to call a culture war to something that might be called a values war. To me it seems like the left decisively won the culture war as defined circa late 20th century. We’ve got sexual liberation, divorce, women in education and the work force, gay marriage, social acceptance of casual marijuana use, the decline of overt Christianity in the public sphere, availability of abortion. Yea there’s periodic and real push back (particularly on abortion) but I just don’t see the cat ever being put back in the bag on most of this stuff.

        The flash points seem to be more over what should be valued in the new world where people are free to do things that previously they couldn’t or which would’ve been much harder. All of it is made even stranger by the commodification of everything in late stage capitalism.

        I’ve said before I think the left won the culture war but the right won the economic war. I wonder if that weird juxtaposition isn’t the source of a lot of our fights, and why they don’t line up along the lines they used to.Report

        • greginak in reply to InMD says:

          Sort of tangential but framing what you are talking about as a “war” is part of the problem. Wars are about destroying the enemy and making them surrender. Our cultural disagreements aren’t that until you start framing them that way. It was Pat frickin Buchanan who started using that phrase and if that isn’t damning enough to see the toxicity involved i’m not sure what is. But seeing culture and change as a war is a big part of the problem.Report

        • veronica d in reply to InMD says:

          Yeah, I’m not sure if it’s a values “war” as much as a war on nihilism.

          But how do you fight against nihilism? Does that even make sense?

          But yeah, values. Those seem important.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

        The left’s big mistake is winning anything, because every time they win an issue they lose that issue as a political tool. In fact, much of Washington revolves around that conundrum, since many politicians with winning issues at the ballot box would prefer that those issues don’t actually get solved, because then they’ll get voted out of office because all they’d be left with is a redundant position on yesterday’s problems.

        We have youth who are desperately trying to fight Jim Crow, and they’re stared out by respected black community leaders who wonder if they ever read past 1968 in their history books. We have young feminist leaders who seem to be desperately asserting that women can be more than secretaries and receptionists, because if their cause is already won then they don’t have a cause to fight for.

        As Republicans can attest, you can only campaign on ending Southern slavery and defeating the Confederacy or Jim Crow for so long before you need some new material.

        And then there are the complexities of the youth vote where kids rebel against the stifling cultural norms being shoved down their throats. Virtually none of those stale and oppressive norms are currently conservative.Report

  12. Jesse says:

    I mean, when it comes to Chapelle, my basic argument is do you want to watch an aging multimillionaire regurgitate his jokes from 2004 while also bitching about how the kids don’t get real comedy? Do you want to watch a guy get real prickly about the slur directed at him but then totally not get why one not directed at him is bad? Do you want to watch a grown-ass man mock child sexual abuse and tell victims that they stop whining and feel grateful that their abuser was rich?

    A guy being funny by being an asshole is funnier when you’re pretty sure he’s not actually an asshole. That’s why somebody like Anthony Jeselnik isn’t “cancelled” despite saying some really harsh things, while old comedians are continually complaining about those damn kids.Report

    • veronica d in reply to Jesse says:

      A guy being funny by being an asshole is funnier when you’re pretty sure he’s not actually an asshole.

      For some reason, this reminds me of the career trajectory of Louis C.K.Report

      • Jesse in reply to veronica d says:

        I mean, yup – a guy joking about how actually, “women should be afraid of men because we’re basically all possible rapists” is less funny when it turns out that guy committed sexual assault.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Jesse says:

      It’s not like he was telling Wayne Williams jokes to an Atlanta crowd. Now that would be rough!

      Back in the early 2000’s everybody was telling Michael Jackson jokes, even little kids. I’ve heard probably three to four hundred of them, at least.Report

  13. FortyTwo says:

    I saw Dave Chappelle live after the election. It was cathartic and extremely funny, but he skirts the line of unconfortable. It’s what good comedians, or stand up philosophers, do. He is a bit harsh on transgender issues, so I sympathize with veronica as well.Report

  14. Nikhil says:

    I want to put a fine point on what I’ve seen some commenters hint at: not all distaste for offensive comedy is because the critic is offended. In my case, if the comedy is going to be offensive, it should actually be novel and clever. Chappelle’s classic sketches weren’t PC, and sometimes did punch down, but they *were* at least unique twists on a theme. (Thinking of the Clayton Bigsby and Racial Draft sketches in particular.) Even the silly Wayne Brady sketch was toying with the racially complicated idea that Brady acts “too white”.

    The alphabet people bit is a great example of comedy that doesn’t necessarily offend me—it’s just making me cringe without any payoff, like an awkward relative at Thanksgiving. It’s the same reason I loathe most political humor, regardless of ideology: every joke to be made about a politician is made in the first 15 minutes of their election, and I have to listen to those same three jokes for 4-8 years*. If I wanted worn out bits about “actually, sexual assault is kinda funny” and “non-heteronormative people are just being ridiculous”, I’d go see Andrew Dice Clay (HE’S BACK, somehow). But it’s just thoroughly disappointing from someone as good as Chappelle.

    * – Obama was the exception, and was actually pretty good for comedy. He forced non-racist comics to find an angle that wasn’t a dumb, half-baked stereotype, because that would go downhill REALLY fast.Report

    • Frank Benlin in reply to Nikhil says:

      Comedians gave Obama a pass for eight years. Consider that he has his mother-in-law living with him in the White House and it was never used as a point of humor.Report

  15. Jaybird says:

    As of right now, this special has a score of 0% at Rotten Tomatoes. (This is probably likely to change at some point when the scores are refreshed and the audience score is tallied… but that’s what it is right now. 0%.)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      They’ve updated the scores.

      It’s now got a score of 17% among real critics (6 reviews… it had 5 reviews when I posted that two days ago).

      The audience score (which it didn’t have yet two days ago) is 99% (from 764 reviews).Report