Jon Stewart is standing by “good friend” Dave Chappelle. After Chappelle’s controversial appearance on Saturday Night Live, the former Daily Show host visited The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss the recent wave of antisemitism in media. One day after hosting SNL, Chappelle was criticized of “popularizing” antisemitic remarks.
“Everybody calls me like, ‘You see Dave on “SNL”?’ And I say yes, we’re very good friends. I always watch and send nice texts,” Stewart said on The Late Show. “‘He normalized antisemitism with the monologue.’ I don’t know if you’ve been on comment sections on most news articles, but it’s pretty normal. It’s incredibly normal. But the one thing I will say is I don’t believe that censorship and penalties are the way to end antisemitism or to gain understanding. I don’t believe in that. It’s the wrong way for us to approach it.”
Jon Stewart and Chappelle have been longtime friends and collaborators, both starring in 1998 stoner comedy Half Baked and Chappelle presenting Stewart with the coveted Mark Twain Prize for American Humor earlier this year.
“Dave said something in the SNL monologue that I thought was constructive, which he says, ‘It shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things,’” Stewart continued. “I’m called antisemitic because I’m against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. I’m called other things from other people based on other opinions that I have, but those shut down debate… Whether it be comedy or discussion or anything else, if we don’t have the wherewithal to meet each other with what’s reality then how do we move forward? If we all just shut it down, then we retreat to our little corners of misinformation and it metastasizes. The whole point of all this is to not let it metastasize and to get it out in the air and talk about it.”
Also in the discussion, Stewart referenced Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving, who currently faces a team suspension after sharing 2018 documentary Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America on social media.
“This is a grown ass man. The idea that you would say to him, ‘We’re going to put you in a timeout. You have to sit in the corner and stare at the wall until you no longer believe that the Jews control the international banking system’… We will never gain any kind of understanding with each other,” Stewart said. “Penalizing somebody for having a thought — I don’t think is the way to change their minds or gain understanding.”
Also during his appearance, Stewart brought up the artist formerly known as Kanye West, also defending him from censorship.
“Something Kanye said on his tour — he got interviewed by five different people because the media model is arson and conflict — he said, ‘Hurt people hurt people,’” Stewart said. “I’m afraid that the general tenor of conversation that this country has is ‘Cover it up, bury it, put it to the outskirts and don’t deal with it.’ Look at it from a Black perspective. It’s a culture that feels that its wealth has been extracted by different groups… That’s the feeling in that community, and if you don’t understand where it’s coming from then you can’t deal with it.”
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