Screengrab via NBC
"Not Funny In The 1980s. Not Funny Now": Dave Chappelle Faces Criticism For Freddie Mercury AIDS Joke
Dave Chappelle made the joke during his SNL opening monologue.
Dave Chappellehosted SNL this past Saturday (November 7) following this year's presidential election, making it the second time he's hosted a post-election SNL since 2016. And although parts of the comedian's opening monologue were good, there were some jokes in particular that weren't well-received.
During the monologue, Chappelle addressed Donald Trump contracting covid-19, and made the following joke: "Trump getting coronavirus was like when Freddie Mercury got AIDS. Nobody was like, 'Well, how did he get it?'"
Since then, a number of people on social media have criticized Chappelle for the joke.
"AIDS jokes. Not funny in the 1980s. Not funny now," Matthew Hodson, the executive director of aidsmap, tweeted.
\u201cAIDS jokes. \nNot funny in the 1980s.\nNot funny now. \nhttps://t.co/7T0g8hu4jA\u201d— Matthew Hodson (@Matthew Hodson) 1604908397
"Could an AIDS joke ever be funny? In theory, I'd say, yes. I don't believe any topic is off limits," Hodson said in a follow-up tweet. "But when you joke about something that has killed millions, not least my friends, your punchline has to be really funny, better than 'AIDS' or 'he got it cause he's gay.' Punch up."
\u201cCould an AIDS joke ever be funny?\nIn theory, I'd say, yes.\nI don't believe any topic is off limits.\nBut when you joke about something that has killed millions, not least my friends, your punchline has to be really funny, better than 'AIDS' or 'he got it cause he's gay'.\nPunch up.\u201d— Matthew Hodson (@Matthew Hodson) 1604908397
\u201cCool, it\u2019s 2020, and \u201cjokes\u201d about Freddie Mercury contracting AIDS are funny again; a joke made with the unspoken presumption that he was a man having a lot of sex with men, so of course he got AIDS. Yep, hilarious, Dave Chappelle and #SNL. Thanks for that.\u201d— Tim Teeman (@Tim Teeman) 1604812691
\u201cSorry... Did this 'joke' just air in 2020? @nbcsnl @nbc @DaveChappelle\u201d— Dan Ellis (@Dan Ellis) 1604881476
\u201cWatching @nbcsnl yesterday I couldn\u2019t believe I was seeing someone make an AIDS joke in 2020.\n\nI didn\u2019t tweet immediately as I wasn\u2019t sure quite how to express my reaction.\n\n32m dead, 38m of us living with HIV today.\n\nThis is NOT ok @DaveChappelle / @nbc.\n\nhttps://t.co/C5O4VhB8GO\u201d— Tom (PositiveLad) (@Tom (PositiveLad)) 1604910884
In related news, Chappelle recently appeared on the third season of David Letterman‘s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. During the appearance, the pair talked about everything from George Floyd to the efficacy of celebrities as public leaders.
"There’s no pension plan for leaders," Chappelle said. "Martin Luther King died penniless. Malcolm X died penniless. I don’t want do that."
Chappelle also spoke on why he released 8:46, his powerful and raw stand-up addressing Floyd's death, while speaking with Letterman.
"I said it behind what many others were already doing," he said. "The commentary after it was very heady and intellectual. And I was shocked that nobody ever talked about how it feels to watch a man get murdered that way. By a man in a police uniform."