It really wouldn’t be a new year without some form of controversial outrage to debate online. The culprit this time seems to be Dave Chappelle and his second Netflix special released on New Year’s Eve. The Bird Revelation opens with Chappelle saying the funniest things to say are mean and his take on the C.K. accusations apparently fall into that category for some. While discussing Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and more, the comedian talks about C.K. and his take on the accusations:
“Louis was like the turning point. All these allegations were terrible — I shouldn’t say this — but his allegations were the only ones that made me laugh. When you think about it, he’s jerking off — he’s surprising people. I picture all the comics in comedy reading it like, ‘Word!’ It’s terrible, I’m sorry ladies, you’re right. At the same time, Jesus Christ, they took everything from Louis. It might be disproportionate, I can’t tell.”
But as Entertainment Weekly points out, it is the moments where Chappelle takes aim at the accusers that are causing trouble:
“Show business is just harder than that. Them women sounded like, I hate to say it, they sounded weak…One of these ladies was like, ‘Louis C.K. was masturbating while I was on the phone with him.’ Bitch, you don’t know how to hang up the phone? How the hell are you going to survive in show business if this is an actual obstacle to your dreams? I know Louis is wrong, I’m just saying, I’m held to a higher standard of accountability than these women are.”
While this is certainly not the best comment to make, it seems to be another example of the ongoing debate over what is acceptable from comedy. Chappelle opens his show with a statement essentially saying he is going to be mean and offensive, making outrage seem a little odd. It is also part of a segment that doesn’t hold back on other targets, dropping a few sharp barbs about Harvey Weinstein:
“I’ve got to tell you, Harvey Weinstein is probably the first person that I’ve ever looked at a photograph of and said, ‘Yeah, he rapes,’”
Given the sensitive nature of the current sexual harassment environment, it will be interesting to see the reactions to Chappelle and other comedians as it becomes a part of their acts.