‘It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Talk About Things’: Jon Stewart Defends Dave Chappelle’s ’SNL’ Monologue

Jon Stewart is the latest Hollywood figure to come out in defense of Dave Chappelle following the actor’s much-talked-about “Saturday Night Live” monologue over the weekend. In his 15-minute bit, the comedian mocked Kanye West and addressed the rapper’s remarks about the Jewish community. However, the performance split viewers, with many claiming the controversial star only further encouraged anti-Semitic behavior. 

While appearing on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” earlier this week, the former host of “The Daily Show” addressed the trending topic, sharing, “Everybody obviously calls me like, ‘You see Dave on ‘SNL’?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, we’re very good friends. I always watch and send nice texts.’ ‘Well, he normalized anti-Semitism with the monologue.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know if you’ve been on comment sections on most news articles, but it’s pretty f-cking normal.”

However, the comedian and political commentator, who co-starred in the 1998 comedy “Half Baked” with the actor, admitted, “the one thing I will say is I don’t believe that censorship and penalties are the way to end anti-Semitism or to gain understanding. I don’t believe in that. It’s the wrong way for us to approach it.”

Stewart then recalled a remark Chappelle made that he “thought was constructive, which he says, ‘It shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things,’” before drawing comparisons to himself. 

“I’m called anti-Semitic 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 debates,” Stewart, who was born to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants, explained.  

“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?” he added. “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.”

Chappelle’s widely viewed monologue purportedly took “SNL” staff members by surprise in light of reports that the comedian gave a “fake” performance during dress rehearsals. An unidentified source told Page Six, “Dave does a fake monologue during the dress rehearsal because he doesn’t want [‘SNL’ creator] Lorne Michaels, or anyone else, to know what his real monologue is.”

After denouncing “anti-Semitism in all its forms,” Chappelle addressed the “Donda” emcee’s antics, stating that West had seemingly broken “the show business rules,” which are “the rules of perception. “If they’re Black, then it’s a gang. If they’re Italian, it’s a mob,” he said. “But if they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence, and you should never speak about it.”

The following day, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt criticized the NBC network and accused Chappelle and the iconic show of “popularizing anti-Semitism.”

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