What kind of crazy bizarre world do we live in where a comedian has more impact than a musician?
One in which the comedians function as individuals concerned with the truth and the musicians are mini-corporations infighting for attention in an ever-dwindling pool that the public is overwhelmed by and sneers at.
I’m not that big a fan. Didn’t watch his TV show that much. Didn’t cotton to the last Netflix specials.
But I wanted to hear what he had to say. I was fascinated by his gigs with John Mayer, who needs to get props too. How does Mayer get shafted by the hit parade and end up bigger than them all? He dates Katy Perry, is angry he doesn’t have hits, fires his manager, and now is on a path to tour forever, a member of the firmament, wasn’t he supposed to be tarnished forever by his comments in “Playboy”? PLAYBOY, WHAT’S THAT?
Life is long and the goal is to last. And few in music do. Most who have got pumped up by the apparatus that has been eviscerated by the internet. That’s right, Coldplay was built by VH1. And Jay Z and Eminem got MTV airplay. Meanwhile, the labels have been asleep. Tell me one point of innovation in the last fifteen years. No, they’ve been led kicking and screaming into the future with a plan not radically different from what’s come before. Invest heavily in marketing and lean on radio. Sure, they’re more digitally-savvy, but all innovation has come from outside, mixtapes, streaming… There’s no leadership in music. Other than in Spotify, which hauled the entire enterprise into the twenty-first century, but scratch a musician and they say they HATE IT! They want to go back to files, to CDs, as if you could still buy an iPod Classic and load it up with overpriced tracks.
But comedians LOVE Netflix. Because the distributor pays and delivers access. This ain’t no HBO, giving deals to few and making it hard to see the work. No, every week Netflix has a new special and you can pull them up at anytime and the biggest stars in the world are having a huge impact and making beaucoup bucks. Screw playing music, you make much more money as a comedian, come on, you show up with a microphone and take ALL THE MONEY!
So the generation before was all about selling out to the sitcom. But there’s little money in that anymore and even less internal satisfaction, you’ve got to compromise who you are to get the show and the suits won’t let you be who you are. You’re a STANDUP! Seinfeld got that right, his show was one and done. Telling jokes is his skill. With insight.
And it’s Chappelle’s too.
So I’m fumbling with the remote at 2 AM to see what Dave has to say. And he starts off slowly, and he laughs at his own jokes, but then he gets into it.
He’s attacking Trump.
That’s right, he’s taking a stand. In an era where everybody with anything to risk does not.
Don’t tell me about nobodies standing up, tell me about somebodies. Especially in music. They’re afraid of alienating potential audience members, their sponsors, they don’t understand that personal truth bonds people to you. You said THAT?!!
And there are some zingers. Everybody giving Caitlyn Jenner a pass on changing her gender but up in arms about Cassius Clay changing his name.
There’s doubling-down on being black. You’re supposed to be cowered by the pushback, but no, the color of your skin in racist America marks you, and Chappelle is just being honest about it.
Like the stupid things Trump says.
And save me the blowback, the right wing wingnuts who think if they just hassle the refs we’ll all shut up. It’s not working with Chappelle. And Chappelle has much more influence than you do. Everybody’s got Netflix and everybody knows his name and the young and impressionable are gonna watch and be impacted. This is how we got out of Vietnam, only in that case it was musicians instead of comedians. There’s something happening here and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?
And then there’s the Louis CK stuff. I HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN IT! I didn’t know there were two specials until I checked my phone at 3 AM and then I decided to crash. But the internets were blowing up with what Dave had to say. You see he pushed back at snowflakes, a woman who didn’t hang up as Louie masturbated.
That’s right, that’s what we’re talking about, masturbation, even though you now have to stop reading.
And my point here is not to defend what Chappelle had to say, but to emphasize that HE SAID IT! Every male in America has been silent. Afraid to weigh in. But not Chappelle. And we need to have a discussion. Where is the line, what is the punishment? Isn’t it funny that a comedian brings this to light?
So that’s where we are in 2018. Music is for morons. Nitwit youngsters who believe life is how you look and oldsters who remember what it was and don’t realize that you must capture the zeitgeist to succeed. But we were here in ’63 too, before the Beatles, before the Airplane, before the table was turned over.
Doesn’t matter if you watch Chappelle on Netflix. Just matters if those who are inheriting the country who can be influenced do. And they will.
Chappelle alone has more impact than a season of SNL. Because SNL is a tired formula, trying to attack a wide spectrum of society and life in a world where there’s no cohesion and we do not get the references.
But we know what Chappelle is talking about. The big issues.
Why do poor trash whites buy the b.s. He’s rich, he knows the people oppressing them.
You can’t say that on television, BUT DAVE CHAPPELLE JUST DID!