Jerry Seinfeld weighed in on the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle’s “Saturday Night Live” monologue.
Chappelle, 49, sparked backlash over comments he made about the Jewish community during his opening routine, which critics slammed as “normalizing antisemitism.”
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Seinfeld, 68, was asked to share his thoughts on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s recent debate over Chappelle’s remarks and if he thought that the monologue was funny.
“I did think the comedy was well-executed, but I think the subject matter calls for a conversation that I don’t think I’d want to have in this venue,” the comedian, who is Jewish, told the outlet.
When pressed over whether the monologue made him “uncomfortable”, the stand-up star responded, “It provokes a conversation which hopefully is productive.”
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The “Seinfeld” alum was then asked if he planned to have a conversation with Chappelle as the comedians appeared to share a “close relationship.”
“I don’t have a close relationship with him,” Seinfeld said. “We’re friends and it’s not a close relationship.”
In 2018, Chappelle made a guest appearance on an episode of Seinfeld’s Netflix talk show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, their exchange was featured in Seinfeld’s upcoming book about the show titled, “The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Book.”
Last weekend, the “Chappelle’s Show” alum hosted “SNL” and during his 15-minute opening bit, joked about recent antisemitic comments made by Kanye “Ye” West and NBA star Kyrie Irving, who promoted an antisemitic film on Twitter.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called out Chappelle over the monologue on Twitter.
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“We shouldn’t expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society’s moral compass, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not just normalize but popularize #antisemitism,” Greenblatt wrote.
“Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?”
On the Tuesday night episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” referenced in the Hollywood Reporter article, Colbert and Stewart discussed Chappelle’s monologue.
Stewart, who is Jewish, said, “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.”
He continued, “‘Well, 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 f—–g normal. As you know, 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,” Stewart explained. “I don’t believe in that. It’s the wrong way for us to approach it.”
“The Problem with Jon Stewart” host added, “Dave said something in the ‘SNL’ monologue that I thought was constructive, which, ‘It shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things.’ And that’s what we’re talking about.”
“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?”
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