Hi, America, I'm Dave Chappelle's Cigarette
Hi, I’m Dave Chappelle‘s cigarette.
I know this probably comes across as strange — an inanimate object discussing its relationship with one of the most prolific comedians of the 21st century. But bear with me please.
November 12, 2016, should’ve been a more festive night. That’s not to say that it wasn’t — it was — but there was supposed to be more to celebrate that Saturday. Dave was making his first big televised appearance in over a decade as the host of Saturday Night Live; the remaining members of A Tribe Called Quest (#RIPPhifeDawg) were serving as the night’s musical guests and performing songs from their recently released sixth and final album, We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service; and we were basking in the election of our first female president, Hillary Clinton.
Unfortunately, the latter didn’t happen. On the morning of November 9, 2016, most of America awoke to the news that Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States.
That Saturday night even I wondered: What was Dave going to say? What was he going to do? How would he articulate the collective anger, fear, sadness and surprise that plenty of people were feeling?
The moment came. Dave walked onstage as the band played and the audience cheered. As a silence came over the room we anxiously awaited Dave’s opening words.
Then: “You know, I didn’t know Donald Trump was going to win the election. I did suspect it. Seemed like Hillary was doing well in the polls and yet — I know the whites. You guys aren’t as full of surprises as you used to be.”
The crowd roared with laughter as Dave proceeded to give a 10-minute monologue on the current political and racial climate of America, his comical delivery insightfully poignant.
There is power in laughter. Dave knows this — he’s known this ever since he was a child.