I wrote on social media about Dave Chappelle’s subversive “Sticks and Stones” which is his latest Netflix stand-up special. A feat of audacious, wire-walking comedy. Chappelle goes there in “Sticks and Stones” by castigating wokesters and the PC movement. It’s an an act of sheer chutzpah from Chappelle, but it works as the jokes aren’t only funny but come with a biting sting.
There’s an overwhelming feeling of the now as you watch “Sticks and Stones.” It feels immediate, a plea from one of our very best comedians to his own audience to STOP the hysteria. The divide happening currently in America is frightening, as our tribalist nature has split us all up into an insubordinate amount of group-thinking. There is no more room for agreement, concisely-drawn and substantial arguments have been neglected for “safe space” measures and social media tweets.
Chappelle’s anger can be felt throughout the 65-minute special. Is he trying to purposely offend? You bet, but every word is carefully chosen and every topic purposely woven into the next. His Atlanta audience in “Sticks and Stones” does sound divided about the routine, there are moans and gasps throughout, but Chappelle keeps it going. He doesn’t even mention Trump a single time during the entire special, does he even need to? Instead, Chappelle decides to fight what he believes are the more oppressive forces at work in America today, the speech-police, the wokesters trying to force groupthink, the overseers of a new authoritarian language that has been created in our very own country. Chappelle means to destroy it with “Sticks and Stone” and, given his cultural importance to both black and whites in the country, he may have finally delivered the ultimate pushback that we’ve been waiting for.