Jon Stewart defended his friend Dave Chappelle during his appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Tuesday evening, commenting on the comedian’s recent “Saturday Night Live” monologue, which Anti-Defamation League leadership criticized for “popularizing” antisemitic sentiments.
“Everybody calls me like, ‘You see Dave on SNL?’ And I say yes, we’re very good friends. I always watch and send nice texts,” Stewart began. “‘He normalized antisemitism with the monologue.’ I don’t know if you’ve been on comment sections on most news articles, but it’s pretty normal. It’s incredibly normal. But the one thing I will say is I don’t believe that censorship and penalties are the way to end antisemitism or to gain understanding. I don’t believe in that. It’s the wrong way for us to approach it.”
In his Nov. 12 hosting gig on “SNL,” Chappelle began the show with a lengthy 15-minute standup set, cracking jokes about Kanye West’s recent antisemitic remarks and his subsequent loss of numerous business partnerships.
Both comedians, Chappelle and Stewart have been friends for many years. The pair costarred in the 1998 comedy “Half Baked” and performed shows together through the COVID-19 pandemic. Stewart was also present during Chappelle’s May show in Los Angeles in which the comedian was attacked onstage.
“Dave said something in the SNL monologue that I thought was constructive, which he says, ‘It shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things,’” Stewart said. “I’m called antisemitic because I’m against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. I’m called other things from other people based on other opinions that I have, but those shut down debate… Whether it be comedy or discussion or anything else, if we don’t have the wherewithal to meet each other with what’s reality then how do we move forward? If we all just shut it down, then we retreat to our little corners of misinformation and it metastasizes. The whole point of all this is to not let it metastasize and to get it out in the air and talk about it.”
Stewart’s words also extended to the topic of Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving, who is currently facing a team suspension after sharing a film featuring antisemitic content on his social media.
“This is a grown ass man. The idea that you would say to him, ‘We’re going to put you in a timeout. You have to sit in the corner and stare at the wall until you no longer believe that the Jews control the international banking system’… We will never gain any kind of understanding with each other,” Stewart said. “Penalizing somebody for having a thought — I don’t think is the way to change their minds or gain understanding.”
Stewart also brought up West’s controversies during his appearance.
“Something Kanye said on his tour — he got interviewed by five different people because the media model is arson and conflict —he said, ‘Hurt people hurt people,’” Stewart said. “I’m afraid that the general tenor of conversation that this country has is ‘Cover it up, bury it, put it to the outskirts and don’t deal with it.’ Look at it from a Black perspective. It’s a culture that feels that its wealth has been extracted by different groups… That’s the feeling in that community and if you don’t understand where it’s coming from then you can’t deal with it.”
Tuesday evening’s episode of “The Late Show” also featured a performance by LCD Soundsystem.