Sunday night, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock performed at the Chase Center in San Francisco. As you're well aware, this is Silicon Valley, America’s tech hub. Since Chappelle sees himself as a rockstar, he brought a special guest on the stage—the same way Drake would invite Future to pop out of the shadows and perform a couple of songs if he had a tour stop in Atlanta. “Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world,” Chappelle said, and out came… Elon Musk.
Twitter’s newest owner was greeted with a chorus of boos because most normal people who at least tangentially pay attention to the news do not like that man. This is just another example of the fact that this version of Chappelle isn’t the same one you probably fell in love with in the 2000s. He doesn’t speak truth to power anymore—now he craves it and has become one with it.
On that stage, Chappelle defended Musk amongst the jeering and made a couple of off-the-cuff jokes, most of them unfunny. There was a callback to the “I’m rich, b*tch!” Chappelle’s Show bit, which was erroneously reported by Gizmodo as “someone in the stadium’s sound department honking a horn of some sort” with the intent to drown out the noise. Chapelle said the boos must’ve come from the throats of the thousands of people Musk (probably illegally) fired.
“That’s the sound of pending civil unrest. I can’t wait to see what store you decimate next, motherf**ker. You shut the f**k up,” he said. “There’s something better you can do, booing is not the best thing you can do. Try it n*gga, to make it what you want it to be. I am your ally.”
Chappelle is no ally to you. That’s an empty carcass of a platitude. The way he speaks to the audience with such a patronizing tone because they dare show displeasure at the appearance of the “richest man in the world” shows he is really only an ally to the rich and powerful. He evokes the protests we see in the wake of extrajudicial murders of Black men to defend a petty, tyrannical man because he has more in common with that rich d**k than he does with you.
This isn’t the same man who left Chappelle’s Show on principle. Too many of us need to come to terms with that reality.
Every time Chappelle is swept up in a scandal for his tasteless jokes about trans people, there’s often a legion of Black men who come to his defense. There are basically two reasons for this. The first of which is, if you too are anti-trans, then those jokes likely resonate with you. The other is because folks still revere the brave choice he made almost two decades ago to walk away from a massive payday in the name of integrity, and now we want to express support for another Black man facing public rebuke. If you stop for a second you may realize you can’t see the forest for the trees and you may discover we ain’t his tribe no more. Elon Musk is his tribe. And on that note, I can’t wait to see what store you decimate next, motherf**kers.