Culture

“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 Chappelle hosted 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.

“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.”

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.”

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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