Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

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Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by tomokun » Wed Jan 3, 15:28 2018

Comedy is... crazy difficult. I also personally believe it is CRAZY important and needs to be unrestricted because the role of comedy is to force us to question that which we believe is true. If it isn't attacking the things we think are sacred or inviolable, then to my mind its not doing what its "supposed" to do.

This does not mean that everyone must watch or find all forms of comedy entertaining... just that it must be allowed to "exist".

That's where I'm starting off this OP, so that it's clear that when I'm advocating for comedy, I'm not advocating against anything else.

Personally, I found Dave Chapelle's new stand-up to be absolutely amazing. It was hilarious, thought-provoking, honest, and did I say hilarious? Dude's seriously funny.

Of course, it was also extremely controversial, as anyone who has seen the headlines will tell you.

I am of course, very interested to hear the opinions of others on this forum. I personally think he did a great job of challenging what is "right" and "fair" by reasonably muddying the waters... but clearly not everyone would agree, and I'm curious as to the reasons why.

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by geldofc » Wed Jan 3, 19:19 2018

I haven't watched it. I'm pretty sure he made fun of abuse victims recently. Telling someone she must not have had big dreams because she was traumatized by a strange dude masturbating in front of her isn't cutting edge comedy, it's edge lord trite horse shit.
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Skeezy » Thu Jan 4, 8:10 2018

I haven't seen it yet but he is one of my favorite comedians. Definitely going to watch it soon.

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by DarkOne » Thu Jan 4, 8:33 2018

I'm not sure to which Stand Up you are referring (probably one of the two that came out in the last week), but the last one from him I saw (which was sometime in early 2017) kind of left a bad taste... I don't recall exactly what it was that turned me off, but I did disengage shortly after it started. I'm not particularly touchy, especially when it comes to humor. And I'm in the camp that thinks there IS room for rape jokes, for example, when the joke targets the perpetrators and promotion of rape culture. But something about Chapelle's brand of humor in that particular special fell flat with me. Also tons of homophobic under- and overtones. Eh, don't need those either. Are there genius jokes in his bits? Absolutely. But overall, he hasn't done much for me lately.

Also, I'm sure any joke that starts with "Not to victim-blame, but..." is nothing BUT victim-blaming.

My reaction to DC's early 2017 specials were not as visceral or outraged as the opinion in the article below, but I can't say I disagree with much of what she writes when she doesnt find DC as funny as everyone else seems to find him.
https://theestablishment.co/dave-chappe ... fc9f8c7a41
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Storage and Disposal » Thu Jan 4, 8:40 2018

tomokun wrote:
Wed Jan 3, 15:28 2018
the role of comedy is to force us to question that which we believe is true
I don't agree with this. It's nice when comedy does this, but it's not the sole point of comedy. It's a mixture of absurdity and timing to me.

I haven't seen it yet either, heard it was pretty good, but if he's making fun of victims or making light of abuse, he's not breaking new ground. Having said that, while I'm a fan of critiquing art, I'm not a fan of censoring it. If I say it's not cool to joke about certain things, that doesn't mean I think they shouldn't be allowed to do it. I think everyone should shine a light on why certain jokes are damaging so that they are discouraged rather than restricted.
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by tomokun » Thu Jan 4, 10:02 2018

So, my intention is not to debate anyone in this thread - I already have my opinion, and as comedy is largely subjective, I don't expect to sway or debate as much I expect to expose myself to other perspectives.

However, to Storage and Disposal - I will say that absurdity is the mechanism that is used that makes us question what we believe is true. Perhaps we disagree on this point, but I felt it was worth clarifying.

In general, the themes that many of these articles seem to leave out are, "Everything is funny until it happens to you." and "We need people to explain how they participate in the system without fear of recrimination in order to fix it". I think these are the bookends that ultimately frame his special, and they are important to interpreting the larger exploration his comedy pursues.

And yes, besides my thanks for the responses, I will clarify that it is the most RECENT Chappelle Netflix special.

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by DarkOne » Thu Jan 4, 10:17 2018

I take a more simplistic approach. Comedy should make the target audience laugh. Sometimes it's straight out joyful laughter. Sometimes it's guilty laughter, the kind where you go "ugh, I shouldn't have laughed at that". That's also successful comedy, to me, probably more so, since it makes you laugh in spite of your inhibitions. When I just cringe and shrug, well, that comedy there failed for me, even if it made me think. So yeah, "Did I laugh?" is my simple personal litmus test for comedy. Which is, clearly, wildly subjective. "Did most of the target audience laugh?" would be the general test.
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Skeezy » Fri Jan 5, 8:27 2018

I watched both last night. Hilarious. The 2nd one at a smaller club is more serious than the 1st.

The best comedians have always joked about the most critical topics of society. Dave even addresses those that are offended by his stand up and tries to show how people take the wrong way but also you cant please everyone, someone is always going to get offended and read things the way they saw it instead of what was ment.

He addresses feminism vaguely but directly and spends quite some time on #metoo. In his older special I remember him referring to himself as a feminist. Since then I believe he has learned more about feminism and feels the way a lot of men do once they learn more about it.

He even addresses racial issues. More than most but less than a true speaker as it is a comedy show. Much like Trevor Noah on the daily show.

He also says, much like Ive been thinking about society lately, how soft people are over words and actions and how much things are blown out of proportion when people make claims. This is the only part I wouldnt be suprised feminists having a beef with because it doesn't cater to feelings. Some of it definitely a mans point of view that women wont understand. Because to most women anything bad that happens to them is worse than murder its always I couldnt continue my life the same because whoever did what he did, omitting own personal life choices that contributed and omitting the actions of women who supported such behavior.

He made a point about how certain groups want their feelings catered to and how black people in general feel about that lol.

It was a good stand up

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Storage and Disposal » Fri Jan 5, 10:30 2018

Skeezy wrote:
Fri Jan 5, 8:27 2018
Because to most women anything bad that happens to them is worse than murder
You know... I think I might disagree with that.
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Skeezy » Fri Jan 5, 11:37 2018

@StorageandDisposal

An exaggeration but thats how it feels sometimes when listening to issues discussed abroad.

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Plotthickens » Fri Jan 5, 12:03 2018

http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Punching_up
Punching up is a term for deploying powerful techniques of criticism and rhetoric to critique and dismantle power structures, rather than to harm people disempowered relative to yourself. It (apparently) comes from comedy, in which the idea is to make fun of powerful people and institutions rather than disempowered people. (...) “There are two kinds of humor,” says Ivins. “One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity—like what Garrison Keillor does. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule—that’s what I do. Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel—it’s vulgar.”

Punching up: Colbert calling Trump's mouth Putin's cockholster. https://youtu.be/HaHwlSTqA7s?t=657
Punching down: Chapelle joking about Transfolk tricking men into sex. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/538k ... iling-2017


The new routine was funny up until he brought up the controversy over his slamming transfolk in his previous routine. Then he deliberately chose to play dumb and re-tell the joke he judged the most offensive. If your aunt/uncle did this on Christmas after bombing with the exact same joke on Thanksgiving, it'd be awful and embarassing and someone would have to pull them aside for a talk. But Chappelle is a pro, so he knew better. He chose to do it anyway, as a big fat FUCK YOU to people who are killed and suicide at much higher rates than the rest of the population. Because, he said, he thinks they're funny. That's punching down.

Not funny. Calculatedly cruel, to make a point: let Chappele do what he wants, or he'll do it again, harder.
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Aum » Fri Jan 5, 14:49 2018

I liked Dave Chapelle's show when it was running. It was controversial and pushed the envelop with the network execs. He made fun of everyone equally. His latest stuff is kind of unfortunate in that he is doing what everyone else is doing.

Most comedy is crude and predictable... always going for the lowest common denominator: race, gender, sexuality, depravity, debasement. It doesn't make me question truth, but it does make me wonder about the kind of consciousness of the general population. Given the fame of some comedians, it seems like the lowest common denominator appeals to a lot of people.

The only comedians who really do it for me are those who run a commentary on their own lives. I liked Margaret Cho's "I'm the one that I want" for that reason. But I guess if you draw from your own life there's only so much material you can mine from that before you have to start entering the general comedy world.

I disagree that comedy is some kind of deep questioning process. It's mostly pointing out the obvious, in a humorous way. It usually draws on stuff that people are thinking but are too polite to say.
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Skeezy » Fri Jan 5, 15:01 2018

@plotthickens

In comedy there is a saying. "No one is safe". Everyone gets joked about its just wether you can take it or not. Im not saying chappelle was in good taste to re-tell the joke. Im saying comdians have a certain level of honesty and embelishment thats shared. He's a straight black man and thats his view.

A lot of your average straight black men, have worse views especially of trans/gay. Being black you have to have a tough skin and sometimes your shocked at how other people dont have a tough skin. So when you are honest, someone who doesnt have thick skin or a people/group who don't, may take it too harshly. He mentions near the end an example of his view of the difference of black adversity and other groups adversity and how blacks are somewhat like, those groups need tougher skin because thats honestly not that bad in comparison. Anything these people put on the table that is wrong he can throw something up there thats twice to 10 times worse. Comedy is jokes and is us laughing together about ourselves. Thats why everyone gets a turn at borderline jokes. Which is usually acceptable as long as the comdian is willing to poke fun at themselves in the same way which we know chappelle does.

During his shows he actually probably is holding back a lot of how he thinks. I know I always have to.

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Plotthickens » Fri Jan 5, 16:16 2018

@Skeezy

Your ancient "It's just a joke, relax already" stance shows that you:
1) don't understand the difference between punching up and punching down
2) do not understand the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes in society
3) are probably male
4) have no idea what microaggressions are
5) do not have any grasp on the at-risk stats of these groups
6) are probably okay with other dismissals such as "I have lots of fag friends, so it's OK" and "My cousin-in-law is a nigger, so it's OK"
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Skeezy » Fri Jan 5, 17:18 2018

Ill just say, or it shows some people cant take a joke, which was his point

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Plotthickens » Fri Jan 5, 17:46 2018

Yes dear
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Skeezy » Fri Jan 5, 19:57 2018

I want to share a racist joke with you @plotthickens.

It was a joke I read a long time ago. Some racist jokes are funny and some are not funny and flat out disrespectful. This was one I found funny but at the same time thought was really cold. It actually made me pause and go thats so fucked up even after I had read dozens of clearly not funny, just racist jokes. Its burned into my memory.

Whats the difference between a black man and a Xtra large pizza?

(The answer isnt dirty or vulgar, but you can probably guess closely from the line of questioning, take a shot)

Edit:
Answer: The pizza can feed a family of 4.

Now I thought this was some cold shit to say. On the other hand it was much better than a lot of the other jokes. 13 yr old me thought about how I felt about that joke for a long time. Eventually I came to the conclusion it belonged on the site. As cold as it is, I can see the humor in it.

Chappelles joke was much tamer than that

While not in the same context of jokes. Comedians can be expected to push the envelope with any topic, so its to be expected. These issues are topics of today. Still, nobody can tell you how to feel

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Storage and Disposal » Sat Jan 6, 16:28 2018

That's the tamest black joke I can recall ever hearing. I can't imagine Chappelle's joke being tamer. If anyone wants to quote it, feel free, but I'm not going to watch an entire special or read a long-winded article just to find it. Jokes about poverty extend to well beyond African Americans. Hispanics, rednecks, it's all over the place. It's not like the punchline was their skin color or related to specific events, so if Chappelle's joke was specific to people who are trans, then it's in no way more tame. If you disagree, then that's a point in and of itself. I mean, who am I (someone who isn't black) to tell you how bad a joke is about your people?

Get it?
Skeezy wrote:
Fri Jan 5, 8:27 2018
He addresses feminism vaguely but directly and spends quite some time on #metoo. In his older special I remember him referring to himself as a feminist. Since then I believe he has learned more about feminism and feels the way a lot of men do once they learn more about it.
It used to be trendy to be a feminist. Now it's trendy to hate feminism. He could just be jumping on a bandwagon.
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by geldofc » Sat Jan 6, 16:57 2018

Skeezy wrote:
Fri Jan 5, 15:01 2018
@plotthickens

In comedy there is a saying. "No one is safe". Everyone gets joked about its just wether you can take it or not. Im not saying chappelle was in good taste to re-tell the joke. Im saying comdians have a certain level of honesty and embelishment thats shared. He's a straight black man and thats his view.

A lot of your average straight black men, have worse views especially of trans/gay. Being black you have to have a tough skin and sometimes your shocked at how other people dont have a tough skin. So when you are honest, someone who doesnt have thick skin or a people/group who don't, may take it too harshly. He mentions near the end an example of his view of the difference of black adversity and other groups adversity and how blacks are somewhat like, those groups need tougher skin because thats honestly not that bad in comparison. Anything these people put on the table that is wrong he can throw something up there thats twice to 10 times worse. Comedy is jokes and is us laughing together about ourselves. Thats why everyone gets a turn at borderline jokes. Which is usually acceptable as long as the comdian is willing to poke fun at themselves in the same way which we know chappelle does.

During his shows he actually probably is holding back a lot of how he thinks. I know I always have to.
i don't really think good comedy is abt laughing at people. especially when it's aimed at a group of people that are mocked and murdered by men a lot (trans people).
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by tomokun » Mon Jan 8, 10:45 2018

There is certainly a difference between what comedy is, and what people personally find funny. In my opinion, that has less to do with what makes something funny, and more to do with what we PERSONALLY find funny. Or own specific circumstances, versus the mechanics of humor.

For example, here is a hilarious joke: A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: ‘’Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!’’ The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: ‘’The driver just insulted me!’’ The man says: ‘’You go up there and tell him off. Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.’’

Now, to be clear, that is the funniest joke out of 1,000 jokes as voted by 36,000 people. So, it is objectively funny, at least as reliably as such things can be measured.

But is it funny to the mother of this child? Snopes article about the Nepalese baby, a baby that is deformed and died shortly after birth. https://www.snopes.com/photos/medical/nepalbaby.asp

Pain, like humor, is contextual. Not everything can or SHOULD be funny to everyone. That is why it is subjective. That's also part of Chapelle's point - "Everything is funny until it happens to you."

And, if you can find a joke that is funny and doesn’t invoke schadenfreude on some level (meaning the joke either has the discomfort of the subjects mentioned in the joke, or the discomfort of the person listening to the joke), I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you can find 10, I’ll be impressed, and I’m guessing no one has the time for you to Google your way to a 100 that fit that description.

I can certainly agree there is lots of merit to the "punching up" vs "punching down" argument in general but consider the context of Chappelle's jokes as well. In his stand-up about transgender people, he makes the point that transgender people want people to care about their feelings, and that smacks of "privilege" to him as a black man because nobody has ever cared about HIS feelings.

This is knotty. He's, at least in my view, intentionally leaving this messy, daring people to say that Transgender people have it worse or better than black people in terms of the bigotry they each face. He's inviting the comparison to make a deeper point. He's blurring the lines to make a deeper point.

I do wonder... given that Chapelle targets ALL groups with his comedy, including the groups he belongs to... would it, in fact, be more insensitive to EXCLUDE trans people? There is outrage for the jokes he told, be he tells jokes about all groups, and he also goes on at length to defend their humanity, to express sympathy for their circumstances, and to say that while he doesn't personally understand the specifics of their struggle, he believes what they say is true, because the sacrifices they must make are real. He does this humorously, he doesn't do it all at once, he does it in typical Chapelle fashion.

Perhaps, what's he's actually saying is that if you can't laugh at yourself and your own circumstances, if you can't laugh at your own pain... then he's not the comedian for you. I do think this is the case, and in a world where all sorts of comedy can and should be allowed to exist, this strikes me as the sort of "marker" that potential fans should note when deciding whether or not a comedian is a match for their sense of humor. If you enjoy comedy where anyone and everyone is "fair game" so long as the intention is just to "fuck around" - watch some Chapelle. If you prefer comedy that only "punches up", then Ivens or Keillor is more your speed.

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Skeezy » Mon Jan 8, 11:11 2018

@tomokun

You just reminded me of the segment where he's like I believe the transgenders.

Its so true. Straight men have trouble understanding gay/trans. They often question why that lifestyle. Straight men often chalk it up to choice regardless if they say they were born that way. However in chapelle's example, it shows you dont have to understand it, just know they mean what they say, and just accept what they are telling you, because they are obviously serious about it to a level you dont and probably wont understand.

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Plotthickens » Mon Jan 8, 12:39 2018

tomokun wrote:
Mon Jan 8, 10:45 2018
Perhaps, what's he's actually saying is that if you can't laugh at yourself and your own circumstances, if you can't laugh at your own pain... then he's not the comedian for you. I do think this is the case, and in a world where all sorts of comedy can and should be allowed to exist, this strikes me as the sort of "marker" that potential fans should note when deciding whether or not a comedian is a match for their sense of humor. If you enjoy comedy where anyone and everyone is "fair game" so long as the intention is just to "fuck around" - watch some Chapelle. If you prefer comedy that only "punches up", then Ivens or Keillor is more your speed.
I have to disagree with your conclusion. One can be concerned about a class of people and not want to see them mocked -- such as gay kids in conservative households, who have 5x the suicide rate of het kids -- and still be able to laugh at oneself. For instance, Jeremy Hotz's excellent slams of the US, Texas, and California are hilarious. Wanna make fun of birkenstock-wearing tree-hugging liberals who hold so many opinions they're their own worst enemy? I'm your stereotype, let's do five minutes! Conversely, joking about a 14-year-old Lesbian being kicked out of her conservative family and having to prostitute herself to survive? Not so funny. So this isn't about whether or not I or the viewer can laugh at myself, the issue is something else.

Humor comes from many different directions. You can laugh at the unexpected and transgressive (as Ellen and Joan Rivers and used to be famous for), at outrage (Jack Black, Roseanne), at dark humor (Ralph Garman), at yourself (Iliza Schlesinger), in defense against horrible things (Deep Blue Sea, THAT scene), at others's pain (slapstick humor), and a few other ways. Arguments that Chappelle's humor is humorous via any of these routes is self-evident, I'm not contesting that. But we cannot pretend that any humor that generates laughter is automatically forgiven for being problematic. That's bullshit.

If the ability to "laugh at your own pain" is required to get Chappelle's humor, then he should have told this one: What do you tell a woman with two black eyes? Nothing you haven't already told her twice. At least half the audience would have laughed at that by this logic, right? Well, no, making fun of abused women isn't funny. And neither is making fun of transfolk who are murdered and suicide far more often than even gay kids. Making abused women, underaged prostitutes, and transfolk the butt of your jokes is tacit acceptance of using them as objects for other's enjoyment. That's punching down, literally and figuratively.

Let's note that Chappelle's act starts out with a absolutely uproarious joke with the punchline "so I kicked that bitch right in the pussy". It was HILARIOUS. It relied on transgressive humor from the unexpected, and as such, was perfect. One of the best bits I've ever seen. But his bit about male transfolk relied on dark humor and laughing at others' pain. It was punching down. It wasn't funny. It was pointed. The chuckles were few and far between, but he told the entire joke, did the whole bit, all the way through to the end. He wanted to show that YOU CANNOT TELL CHAPPELLE WHAT TO DO. The point of the joke wasn't to make the audience laugh... it was to silence critics. That's indefensible, tomokun: he used the pain of a bunch of damaged, vulnerable people to reinforce his own power.

So that was my point: punching down may be funny to some, but it's not cool.

Moving on.

So what is the question here? I think that's the problem with this thread: that we haven't defined the point of this conversation. So far we've covered:
1) Is Chappelle's current humor funny?
2) Is Chappelle's current humor problematic?
3) Should Chappelle's current humor "be allowed to exist"?
4) Can a member of a protected class make fun of another protected class with impunity?
5) Does laughter remove stigma and being problematic?

I think Chappelle's humor is funny and is sometimes problematic. I think official censoring of humor is not an option, ever... but I won't be supporting Chappelle any more. I think punching down is not funny, ever. And it doesn't matter who's doing the punching down: the action, not the comedian, is unfunny... no matter who the comedian is.

What do you think, tomokun? What are your answers to these 5 questions? Do you have any to add?
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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by tomokun » Thu Jan 11, 13:26 2018

Thanks so much for your questions, I will get to them in a moment, but I wanted to clarify some areas where you think we have a disagreement.
Plotthickens wrote:
Mon Jan 8, 12:39 2018
I have to disagree with your conclusion. One can be concerned about a class of people and not want to see them mocked
So, I agree that once can be concerned about a class of people and not want to see them mocked. However, since humor is subjective, not every comedian is going to be everyone's cup of tea. To say that if you are unable to laugh at yourself means that Dave Chapelle is not your "cup of tea" does not require disagreement about the ability to have humor that doesn't reference a group/class of people.

There are clearly comedians that do this, and there are also comedians like Chapelle who don't. It's not about ability, it's about preference, and in my conclusion, I was referencing that Chapelle was communicating about that preference.

And yes, the joke about domestic violence against women is one that would have been funny in that audience (but not one that I think he would have done because it's more "shocking" than "clever"; he always has more meat and subtext to his jokes than something that prosaic). I'll actually unpack this a bit more in answering your excellent questions.
Plotthickens wrote:
Mon Jan 8, 12:39 2018
But his bit about male transfolk relied on dark humor and laughing at others' pain. It was punching down. It wasn't funny. It was pointed. The chuckles were few and far between, but he told the entire joke, did the whole bit, all the way through to the end. He wanted to show that YOU CANNOT TELL CHAPPELLE WHAT TO DO. The point of the joke wasn't to make the audience laugh... it was to silence critics. That's indefensible, tomokun: he used the pain of a bunch of damaged, vulnerable people to reinforce his own power.
So, that is one interpretation, and not one I share.

First of all, there is a grey area about who holds the power between a black comedian who makes jokes about black people and the entire trans and progressive community which is helping to make sweeping changes in his industry. I'm not so sure he is the powerful one there, and I feel confident that he would agree. He joked that likely his career would be over again because he was making these jokes.

That strikes me, at least from his perspective, to be someone who is championing his values in the face of overwhelming odds. The times that I've been bullied by cops, I've taken the same approach... one could not say that I was the more "powerful" because I did.

But, that's also just an interpretation. His intentions are his own, and I would wager that neither of us know him well enough to be certain which interpretation is "more valid".

Also, what you view as "punching down" seems to not take into account the comparisons he was making between trans experiences and black experiences. Is it "punching down" for him to say that trans issues are being taken more seriously than black issues have ever been taken because it involves the feelings of white cis-men coping with the fact that their trans?

I don't know... and at no point during his special do I get the sense that he is certain either.

And you gotta admit, it's a really interesting comparison. Short of being both black and trans, I'm not sure how you could possibly square that truth, and there would still be those that would argue only a black trans man could give you an accurate read... and I'm not even sure then that you could take any of it as gospel.

Because it's all circumstantial. It's all dependent on a litany of perspectives and personal truths and circumstances beyone anyone's control that make it messy.

Which is why I think he takes these confusing, colliding emotions on things which are ironically universally confusing, and distills them through the lens of Apartheid. It's why I think he chose those topics, and it's part of the larger theme he kept pushing - intentions matter, we're all complicit in this system, we aren't going to understand everyone's issues, but that shouldn't stop us from treating everyone as if they deserve compassion, and we should be sure in dealing with these problems that we don't take our own problems to seriously because someone somewhere has had it worse, no matter how bad you've got it.

At least, that's my interpretation. :p As for the questions...
Plotthickens wrote:
Mon Jan 8, 12:39 2018
So what is the question here? I think that's the problem with this thread: that we haven't defined the point of this conversation. So far we've covered:
1) Is Chappelle's current humor funny?

Yes, I definitely think it's very funny.

2) Is Chappelle's current humor problematic?

Only if you have no choice but to be exposed to his comedy. That is the only type of "performance" that is problematic to me - that which you do not consent to watch but must anyway.

3) Should Chappelle's current humor "be allowed to exist"?

Yes, I believe allowing comedy in all its forms, however objectionable, to exist is fundamental to free speech and as a bulwark against dogmatism.
To make plants grow, you still need some shit to keep the soil fertile.


4) Can a member of a protected class make fun of another protected class with impunity?

No. Humor is contextual. The context changes absolutely everything. If the intent is clearly to display contempt, as opposed to laughing at everyone's foibles, outrage is reasonable. If it's just scandal for scandal's sake, the artist is a hack and only people who enjoy hacks will watch them.
However, the only "punitive" measure a comedian should face is losing their audience and being unwelcome at "clubs" whose audiences do not appreciate that humor. Beyond that, a regular person should not have the same latitude when telling a joke as a comedian doing a performance. A joke at a comedy performance is a joke, even when it's at the expense of someone. A joke at a bar is not just a joke, depending on the context.


5) Does laughter remove stigma and being problematic?

No. I agree with Chapelle that everything is funny until it happens to you. So, whether or not you find something problematic doesn't change the fact that other people can find it funny, and vice versa. There is space for something to be both offensive and hilarious, just as there is space for something to be offensive and true and hilarious and unacceptable to articulate in certain contexts. The context is what actually matters.

What do you think, tomokun? What are your answers to these 5 questions? Do you have any to add?

I would probably add:

Do you think there is a difference between a comedian telling a joke at a comedy club and some *person* telling a joke in a social setting that changes the context of how that comedy should be received?

Does saying something as a joke, which is also hurtful and insensitive, but ultimately makes a larger if subtle point in any way mitigate the impact that the hurt and insensitivity might have?

This article will also help to expand on my position. I wrote it, it's a personal discussion I had with a friend about "rape jokes" and so it contains my responses to a question on that topic. https://taooftomo.com/conversations-wit ... 8d875c6e10

Plotthickens

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Plotthickens » Fri Jan 19, 11:03 2018

tomokun wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 13:26 2018
It's not about ability, it's about preference, and in my conclusion, I was referencing that Chapelle was communicating about that preference.
Preferring one type of comedy/comedian over another is a personal thing, yes. I'm not condemning other's choices, merely explaining why I can't watch Chappelle any more: for me, he crossed a line: he punched down. He made victims into punchlines So if we can put the preference issue aside, let's look at the rest of your points.

First of all, there is a grey area about who holds the power between a black comedian who makes jokes about black people and the entire trans and progressive community which is helping to make sweeping changes in his industry. I'm not so sure he is the powerful one there, and I feel confident that he would agree.

That strikes me, at least from his perspective, to be someone who is championing his values in the face of overwhelming odds.
This argument relies on defining "punching down" by balancing Chappelle against a community of people with Jenner's face. This does not define "punching down", it talks about power dynamics. Which is fine, but a different issue, so let's talk about power dynamics. The Trans community is still at the highest risk for death and maiming by suicide, police, and civilians of any vulnerable population. If Chappelle wanted to make a joke that, as you said, "champion(s) his values in the face of overwhelming odds", he might have chosen any of a dozen subjects about Transfolk. How difficult it is to find a bra for new titties on a 50-year-old ribcage, confusing young children by switching from "gramma" to "grampa", watching people fumble when they trip over their own societal bullshit about how to treat males VS females, etc etc etc. Those jokes have all been told compassionately, expertly, and hilariously. They're not making fun of a vulnerable population.

Instead, Chappelle chose to focus on how transwomen "trap" cismen. "Oh no, a dick! ON A CHICK!" This tired, ancient, boring bullshit happens just about as often as Transfolk go into the "wrong" bathroom to rape children. It's the reason so many Tranwomen are beaten to death. This myth is what Chappelle chose to perpetuate? Really?

Chappelle didn't even bother after the scandal to learn the language. He called Transfolk "trangenders". Even when it created such an enormous problem for him he didn't bother to learn.

That's not him 'championing his values in the face of overwhelming odds", that's going for the cheap, easy, ignorant laugh... especially when so few people were laughing then. His entire Trans schtick was devoid of his usual level of laughter. He didn't do it for the laughs, he did it to make a point. He punched down, putting a period at the end of the sentence: "I'll tell what jokes I want, bitches."

Also, what you view as "punching down" seems to not take into account the comparisons he was making between trans experiences and black experiences. Is it "punching down" for him to say that trans issues are being taken more seriously than black issues have ever been taken because it involves the feelings of white cis-men coping with the fact that their trans?


Do not confuse an enlightened conversation on subject A as an excuse for shitty jokes on subject B. Any idiot can mouthe feminist platitudes but if they then crack jokes about rape, they're probably fuckbois. Critical analysis allows us to evaluate the entirety of a work, appreciate what is excellent, and examine what is problematic.

"So I kicked that bitch right in the pussy" was hilarious, wonderfully told, and not at all punching down.
"Oh no, a dick!" was not funny, a dirty quick easy joke, playing upon the worst of the myths about Transfolk.

That Chappelle could make the former joke perfect and uproarious demonstrates his comedy mastery. That he didn't even bother to do so with the second is equally as telling. He wasn't making a joke, he was making a point.

And you gotta admit, it's a really interesting comparison. Short of being both black and trans, I'm not sure how you could possibly square that truth, and there would still be those that would argue only a black trans man could give you an accurate read... and I'm not even sure then that you could take any of it as gospel.
1) Pretending that only those who are in these exact situations and these exact populations have the cred to be able to comment is a silencing technique I'm sorry to see.
2) Judging an argument by its author is foolish. Arguments stand or fall on their own: even a fool can utter truth.
3) Discussions about culture and society aren't "gospel", I'm just looking to share ideas. Coming to an ultimate, god-given judgement isn't my point and I hope it's not yours. But that is a good way to slough off responsibility for searching for clarity.

Which is why I think he takes these confusing, colliding emotions on things which are ironically universally confusing, and distills them through the lens of Apartheid. It's why I think he chose those topics, and it's part of the larger theme he kept pushing - intentions matter, we're all complicit in this system, we aren't going to understand everyone's issues, but that shouldn't stop us from treating everyone as if they deserve compassion, and we should be sure in dealing with these problems that we don't take our own problems to seriously because someone somewhere has had it worse, no matter how bad you've got it.
How was it part of Chappelle's "Compassion" theme to tell that Trans Panic, lazy-ass, nobody was laughing, joke?

Do you think there is a difference between a comedian telling a joke at a comedy club and some *person* telling a joke in a social setting that changes the context of how that comedy should be received?
Yes, that's specifically how comedy clubs are set up: the warm-up act, getting drinks, etc. Context matters. It should also be considered when evaluating a performance. That's why Bob from accounting could be forgiven for floating a dud of a joke at the holiday party, but Chappelle deliberately telling a dud, after showing his own proficiency, on this particular topic, is telling.

Does saying something as a joke, which is also hurtful and insensitive, but ultimately makes a larger if subtle point in any way mitigate the impact that the hurt and insensitivity might have?
Perhaps, but I don't think that's what happened here. If Chappelle wanted to make a "larger if subtle point" about how Transwomen are getting more attention than Black Lives Matter, there are a dozen, dozen, dozen better and more pointed jokes to tell than "oh no, a dick!".

Don't make victims into punchlines.
DaHjaj 'oH QaQ jaj gerbils vISop

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Re: Dave Chapelle's New Stand Up

Post by Skeezy » Fri Jan 19, 12:47 2018

Plotthickens wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 11:03 2018
. The Trans community is still at the highest risk for death and maiming by suicide, police, and civilians of any vulnerable population.
I highley doubt that. Suicide maybe. Definitely not the other two. I havent seen trans men being killed by police at steady rates almost daily. There is violence against trans at times but they don't corner the market on being killed by civilains either. Out of almost 300 murders in my city every year you hardly ever hear about trans men but it does happen sometimes and they usually go out of their way to point out that they are trans because of hate crimes.



Instead, Chappelle chose to focus on how transwomen "trap" cismen. "Oh no, a dick! ON A CHICK!" This tired, ancient, boring bullshit happens just about as often as Transfolk go into the "wrong" bathroom to rape children. It's the reason so many Tranwomen are beaten to death. This myth is what Chappelle chose to perpetuate? Really?
This does happen to sttaight men but you'll hardly ever hear a straight man talk about it. There are known cases where trans have supposedly tricked straight men going way back. Also with the internet and social acceptance straight men are forced into accepting the acceptance of gay/ trans men. What seems to be the problem is you seem to believe the gay/trans community is made up of angels. Gay/trans men sometimes do harass/ trick straight men. It doesnt happen quite as often as womens harassment but it does happen. It just doesnt happen to you from gay/trans, you have straight men to deal with.

There are still lots of straight men who will become violent when these things occur. Which Im sure is what caused at least a fraction of the violence

As for me Ive been randomly forwardly approached by homosexual men since I was 15 and it was always "can I suck your.." "How long is your tongue" etc. Trans men less so. I can only imagine that their group is human as well.


As far as the show yes perhaps a few jokes punched down. However he also lifted them up above the punching down, with and without jokes, which was mostly directed towards straight men and their non acceptance of trans. While he did make fun, he also made points to straight men which try to justify transexuals as a group, coming from a straight black mans view.

In my opinion him even chosing to talk about trans in a positive and acceptant light is progress.

Hes not your cup of tea and its ok. I think hes the best out there right now.

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