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Fighting To Be Fringe: Review of Dave Chappelle’s “Sticks and Stones”

“Remember, you clicked on my face.”  

Filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, Dave Chappelle opens his purposefully divisive special with two epigraphs — one from Kendrick Lamar and the other from Jay Z. Due to profanities, I’ll leave them out, but they set the tone for the hour and five-minute show, letting the audience at home watching on Netflix know that Chappelle doesn’t care about the backlash he will be receiving, and he knows he’ll be getting love for it from those in the comedy world.  

Chappelle does not stray far from controversial topics in his latest stand-up special. Known for his outrage comedy, Chappelle tackles topics from opioid use to victim blaming, showing no remorse for his comments. The reason for his lack of remorse is because this is a stand-up show. These are comedy bits, and well-acted ones at that.  

The show falters a little with Chappelle’s lack of care for the LGBTQ car analogy. Dave uses simple, old jokes predicated on bygone stereotypes from LGBTQ minority groups. It’s a well-acted moment which can insight laughter, as Chappelle has been doing stand-up since the age of 14, but the joke lacks finesse with such a delicate subject may come across as malice.  

Most of the other jokes, minus the pedophilic victim blaming to start the show, are well crafted and provoke laughter. Chappelle’s style of comedy is story telling. He’ll lead the listener into a joke with a premise, such as famous suicides, and then end with a stark juxtaposition.   

Chappelle ends the show with saying, “if I make fun of you, it’s because I see myself in you.” I could do without the victim blaming, but it’s good absurdist comedy. I give it 7.3 green jumpsuits out of 10.

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