(JTA) — Hosting “Saturday Night Live” for the first time since he faced widespread criticism about jokes ridiculing transgender people, comedian Dave Chappelle opened the show with a lengthy monologue about … “the Jews” — namely, the controversy surrounding rapper Kanye West’s recent antisemitic comments.
In the lengthy monologue, Chappelle danced along the lines he was mocking, emphasizing that he was not antisemitic while arguing that “it’s not a crazy thing to think” that Jews control Hollywood and insinuating that Jews have been making Black people into scapegoats for their past trauma.
Reaction from the audience featured ample laughter, although one joke landed in silence; online, criticism mounted immediately, with Time Out New York’s theater critic tweeting: “That Dave Chappelle SNL monologue probably did more to normalize anti-Semitism than anything Kanye said.”
In an unusually charged appearance for an SNL host — with rumors that some of the show’s writers might boycott in protest — Chappelle also appeared to address his own near-cancellation by analyzing the public and corporate backlash against West.
At the start of the routine, Chappele unfolded a small piece of paper and read from it, saying, “‘I denounce antisemitism in all its forms. And I stand with my friends in the Jewish community.’ And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.”
He then went on to explain that, over his 35-year career in comedy, he has come to learn that there are “two words in the English language that you should never say together in sequence: ‘The’ and ‘Jews.’” He then mocked West’s threat to go “death con 3” on Jews and the rapper’s boast that Adidas, his erstwhile corporate partner, would not dare sever ties with him. The sneaker company broke ties with West days later.
“Ironically, Adidas was founded by Nazis,” said Chappelle, “and they were offended. I guess the student surpassed the teacher.”
Chappelle, an African-American who often satirizes the Black community while at the same time mocking the serious and casual racism of whites, performed a similar tightrope act in dissecting West’s antisemitism.
“I’ve been to Hollywood and — no one get mad at me — I’m just telling you what I saw,” he said, adding a signature pause. “It’s a lot of Jews. Like a lot.” As the audience at NBC’s Manhattan studio laughed nervously, he quickly added, “But that doesn’t mean anything! You know what I mean? Because there are a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Missouri, it doesn’t mean we run the place.”
That joked echoed a familiar line of Jewish defense groups, who are often at pains to point out that a disproportionate Jewish presence in an industry is not an indication of a conspiracy — an age-old canard.
But Chappelle leaned harder into the joke, leading some reports on the monologue to suggest that he was justifying and defending West’s antisemitism.
He said the “delusion that Jews run show business” is “not a crazy thing to think,” but “it’s a crazy thing to say out loud.” He also said of West, “It’s a big deal, he had broken the show business rules. You know, the rules of perception. If they’re Black, then it’s a gang. If they’re Italian, it’s a mob. If they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence and you should never speak about it.”
Chappelle also alluded to a similar controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving, star of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, who was suspended after tweeting about a film that promotes a series of antisemitic canards.
“Kanye got in so much trouble that Kyrie got in trouble,” Chappelle said. “This is where I draw the line. I know the Jewish people have been through terrible things all over the world, but you can’t blame that on Black Americans.” The line was met with silence, until a single audience member was heard to hoot approval. “Thanks, the one person that said ‘woo.’”
Chappelle closed what for SNL was an unusually long opening monologue by seeming to allude to “cancel culture” and the controversy that swirled around his own comedy and charges that he is transphobic.
“It shouldn’t be this scary to talk about anything,” he concluded. “It’s making my job incredibly difficult. And to be honest with you, I’m sick of talking to a crowd like this. I love you to death and I thank you for your support. And I hope they don’t take anything away from me… whoever they are.”
Snap reaction to Chappelle’s routine was mixed. In addition to the tweet by Adam Feldman, Time Out New York’s theater critic, the Jerusalem Post accused the comedian of “engaging in antisemitic tropes.” Screenwriter Amalia Levari tweeted, disapprovingly, “So cool that SNL gave Chappelle the stage to deliver a TED Talk about how antisemitic dog-whistles are good, actually.”
Ari Ingel, who heads Creative Community For Peace, a group that fights antisemitism and other forms of bigotry in the entertainment industry, appeared more forgiving. “Some people will be offended at some of his monologue, but sometimes you just need to laugh,” he tweeted.
Wrote Rabbi Josh Yuter, an influencer on Jewish Twitter: “As I understood Chappelle’s monologue, the key point is that there are double standards regarding who can say what about whom. If my Twitter feed is any indication, everyone agrees this is a problem though there’s rampant disagreement over the details.”
Last week, the Irving controversy was also mentioned in the show’s “Weekend Update” segment, when mock newscaster Michael Che said that Irving met with the Anti-Defamation League and said that “from now on he would pretend to not be antisemitic.”
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Dr. NATHAN WISEMAN
Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.
Bill Maher tells it like it is when it comes to what “the river to the sea” really means
Bill Maher cuts to the chase like no one else. Here’s a link to a segment from the most recent episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” where he exposes the total hypocrisy of the “useful idiots” everywhere chanting “from the river to the sea”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP-CRXROorw
Jewish community holds solidarity rally November 25
The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg held a rally in support of Israel on Saturday evening, November 25.
A number of speakers addressed the crowd of 800, including Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun-Herzlia Congregation; Members of Parliament Ben Carr & Marty Morantz; Yolanda Papini-Pollock of Winnipeg Friends of Israel; Paula McPherson, former Brock Corydon teacher; and Gustavo Zentner, President of the Jewish Federation.
Click here to watch Ben Carr’s remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crfREGNRKfg
Click here to watch a video of Marty Morantz’s remarks: https://studio.youtube.com/video/zHzC-iaqivg/ed
Click here to watch a video of Gustavo Zentner’s remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3M_cCYuLgs