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Chappelle Saved Comedy, Thanked By Calls for Cancelation

I, personally, am not afraid of other people’s freedom of expression. I don’t use it as a weapon. It just makes me feel better.

-Dave Chappelle

I finally got to cross ‘seeing Dave Chappelle perform live’ off of my bucket list after attending the screening of his ‘Untitled’ Documentary in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday, Nov. 14. Along with the screening, Chappelle and a number of guest appearances performed in front of an audience who did not have access to their phones. Chappelle employs a company that locks your phone in a pouch when you enter the venue and unlocks it when you’re leaving the event.

Having the advantage of not having their words filmed and inevitably taken out of context for social media likes, the performers touched on a number of subjects that would otherwise be considered taboo by the mainstream. The crowd roared with laughter as comedians said what many of us are thinking out loud.

The documentary was emotional, humorous, and touched on subjects such as the George Floyd murder and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The underlying focus, however, seems to be protecting comedy as an art form.

I refuse to go into further detail about the events of that night because I do not want to spoil the experience for future attendees, and I respect and understand why Chappelle locks up phones at the beginning of his performance.

Without the ability to record, the audience was left with few options but to listen. While many of us may have attended the show for different reasons, mine being that Chappelle is a comedian icon and I wanted to see him before the mob silences him for good, we all laughed and got to enjoy the experience together. Chappelle is a champion of bringing people from all walks of life together.

If one thing was made clear by Sunday’s event, it’s that cancel culture will not win in their battle against Dave Chappelle. Without Chappelle, comedy may have crumbled to pressure years ago. It is because of his bravery and passion for his craft that there remains authenticity in the art form. Had Chappelle buckled and apologized for his jokes made in his Netflix special ‘The Closer,’ comedy as a craft performed by George Carlin, Richard Prior, and Bernie Mac would cease to exist. Because of Chappelle’s bravery, more comedians and celebrities with public platforms are feeling comfortable enough to speak out against the national narrative.

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