“Saturday Night Live” is experiencing a creative renaissance and its biggest ratings in two decades under Donald Trump’s presidency. But Dave Chappelle has a message for fellow comedians enjoying the fruits of the administration’s blunders: “Trump’s kind of bad for comedy.”
Speaking with CBC on Sunday, Chappelle offered his take on the current president’s relationship with his chosen profession, agreeing that comedy has “a role to play under Trump,” but warning that there’s a risk of regurgitating the same material.
“Most comics in the states are starting to do the same jokes, just because Trump is so on everybody’s mind,” he said. “So it’ll be nice when we don’t have to talk about him that much.”
Despite his concerns over Trump’s omnipresence, Chappelle said he still believes the state of comedy today is “strong and healthy,” citing the return of some of his favorites like Chris Rock and Jon Stewart to the game.
“I think that most of these guys you see working are wildly courageous,” he explained. “It’s such a strange time, being bombarded with so much information, and I think comedy is an important valve for syphoning through all that.”
In November, Chappelle hosted the first “Saturday Night Live” episode after the election and delivered a stirring opening monologue in response to Trump’s surprise win. After joking that America actually elected “an internet troll as our president,” he recalled a recent visit to the White House for a BET event that made him feel hopeful about the country’s direction.
“I saw how happy everybody was, these people who had been historically disenfranchised, and it made me feel hopeful, and it made me feel proud to be an American,” Chappelle said. “So, in that spirit, I’m wishing Donald Trump luck. I’m going to give him a chance, and we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one too.”
For more from Chappelle, you can watch his two comedy specials that premiere on Netflix this month.