Darcy Grabenstein
Life Member, Hadassah Greater Philadelphia

Truth in jest: Reading between Dave Chappelle’s one-liners about (Kan)Ye, Kyrie

Photo courtesy of Hadassah.
Photo courtesy of Hadassah.

The comedian took jabs
at one of his own
for lending credence
to stereotypes, conspiracies
aimed at, like him, a people
the target of hate, of bullets

At the start of his monologue
he pulled a prepared statement
from his pocket
seemingly meant for the music icon
but was actually a forged hall pass
giving his own free speech free rein

He moved from the musician
to the athlete, the millionaire
whose tweet went viral
transporting him
from the basketball court
to the court of public opinion

The off-color humor by a person of color
was quite off-putting to me
but I could not turn off the TV
drawn to the comedic carnage
like rubberneckers inexplicably drawn
to a still-smoldering car crash

I thought about cancel culture
and canceling my Comcast account
and how a marathon 15-minute monologue
could cancel out a history of cooperation
morphing from marching in the civil rights movement
from Heschel to Herschel

I thought about the Holocaust
and Tree of Life
and the gun-toting terrorist
at the Texas synagogue
and the armed guard standing sentry
at my own tiny shul

I thought about Hadassah, ADL, JCRC
and policy statements
calling on governments and religious leaders
to be allies in our time of need
to denounce antisemitism
because it’s the right thing to do

Reading between the one-liners
between the pregnant pauses gave me pause
as the comic’s words revealed a veiled attempt
at humor, at perpetuating
the very stereotypes
he pretended to protest

About the Author
Darcy Grabenstein, a third-generation Life Member of Hadassah Greater Philadelphia, is Senior Manager of Content Strategy for Informa Pharma Intelligence. In a previous life, she was Associate Editor of Heritage Florida Jewish News in Orlando. When she’s not pursuing her passion of Israeli dance, she’s writing poetry, meeting copywriting deadlines for her freelance clients, trying to keep up with several book club reading lists, getting into good trouble with Bend the Arc: Jewish Action South Jersey, and volunteering at Temple Har Zion in Mt. Holly, NJ. She is a native Floridian and a Florida Gators fan.
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