I generally don’t watch SNL anymore. It is really one of those things that has easily turned into a highlight reel I catch on Hulu the next morning. But when I heard the rumors that Dave Chappelle was going to host it for the FIRST TIME EVER (Can you believe during the Chappelle Show’s classic run they had Al Sharpton and Kelly Ripa as hosts but not Dave?), I had to tune in. Coupling Dave with a still somber A Tribe Called Quest (R.I.P. Phife) was genius, really bringing on the feels for all that has happened this week. We revisited old friends like Clayton Bigsby, and got an election night recap from Dave and Chris Rock. This is what we needed and honestly, this is why we need Dave.
No one has really quite understood what has been transpiring in this country for a long time. Comedians tell jokes here and there, or even throw down a sketch or two (Key and Peele’s only relevant work as far as the atmosphere we live in were the Obama skits), but not on Dave’s masterful level. The Chappelle Show hit at a very interesting time. It captured our post 9/11 fear of this world, the burgeoning rap culture, AND our idiotic political mishaps of the early 00’s. He nailed Black Bush, Diddy, reality television, diversity, and even revitalized Rick James. His mic was constantly on the pulse of what was happening and it was refreshing. Never has a show been more quotable. They say the Rick James jokes got to Dave, as well as the growing self awareness of Dave, but in reality the show ended right where it needed. We had some pretty interesting years, but in general we pulled through. Say what you want about Obama, but it was a quiet 8 years. I can’t honestly say a lot happened. We were good on the comedy.
Enter the insanity of the past 2 years. Bring in terror attacks here and abroad, Marijuana legalization (in some states – DAMN!), an influx of hate crimes, black lives matter, and the Kardashians. To add to that we now have the guy who was slammed by Stone Cold Steve Austin on WWE in charge of the free world. Yeah, we need to make sense of this. Just like the one time guided us through the weirdness of the internet (Ron, I got my stroke from you!) and a Bush presidency, we might need him to get through Trump and the cartoon that our life has become. It seemed almost too easy to see him throw down a Walking Dead skit that included all of our favorite iterations of Dave. It was almost too smooth. But how could we even be shocked?
At a time like this, especially with Key and Peele gone to bigger and better, and most of our favorite comedians regulated to podcasts, Dave needs to see the bat signal. Our toughest times generally are easier through humor. Laughing would be a great feeling again. Seeing Dave attack current events and remind us that not only are there two sides to every story, but that nothing is worth being too serious about, is needed. I saw Dave about 2 years ago on the Oddball Fest Tour after he came off a tirade in Connecticut. It was something special. So was last night. Come back Dave, we need you like Tyrone needs some crack rocks.