Mathieu Bitton/Netflix
Books & Culture

A review of “Sticks & Stones,” Dave Chappelle (Netflix, 2019)

The Genius of Dave Chappelle


- August 28th, 2019
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Common Sense is the radicalism of Thomas Paine, while common sense is the righteousness of the Everyman. The man whose masculinity students disdain, whose mindset critics despise, whose thoughts are an affront to the mindless groupthink of the crowd, the mob, and the Twitterverse of professional victims.

Among the latter, who banish their enemies not only from social media but society itself, who brandish the weapon of injustice, who wield the branding iron of conviction without due process of law, among the woke and the worst of passionate intensity, comes a reckoning—and a wrecker of the sensibilities and safe zones of every keyboard tyrant.

Against those who stain the soul without stamping the flesh, who nonetheless consume many pounds of virtual flesh, comes a soothsayer in the form of a satirist.

His name is Dave Chappelle, and he is a genius.

His new special on Netflix, “Sticks & Stones,” is brilliant because it defends the first rule of comedy: that there are no rules. 

No one, and by no one I mean no one, not even children, alive or dead—not even the victims of school shootings, whose zig-zag movements Chappelle pantomimes as today’s equivalent of duck-and-cover drills, as futile then as now—not even Chappelle’s own son, whose death he foresees as collateral damage, whose shooting Chappelle accepts as the cost of controversy, of choosing to make comedy of tragedy; no one escapes Chappelle’s line of fire, neither the armed trespasser on private property—on Chappelle’s property—nor the two men who allege, falsely in his opinion and mine, that Michael Jackson violated their . . . private parts.

Chappelle also mocks gays, lesbians, bisexuals, queers, blacks, whites, white heroin addicts, feminists, censors, and the transgendered.

Some people may find his jokes offensive. So? Watch the special. Right now.

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