Dave Chappelle perfected his ‘SNL’ monologue in Atlanta

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Dave Chappelle" Episode 1791 -- Pictured: Host Dave Chappelle during the monologue on Saturday, November 7, 2020 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Dave Chappelle" Episode 1791 -- Pictured: Host Dave Chappelle during the monologue on Saturday, November 7, 2020 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)

Credit: Will Heath/NBC

Credit: Will Heath/NBC

He performed 12 shows in the past week at Atlanta Comedy Theatre

Dave Chappelle opted for a relatively low-key approach in his post-election “Saturday Night Live” monologue, some of which he had tested before Atlanta audiences for a week.

Chappelle hosted 12 shows at the Atlanta Comedy Theatre in Norcross from Oct. 30 through Nov. 5. He even flew down to Atlanta in a private plane a couple of times in between rehearsals for SNL.

He opened Saturday night’s 16-minute monologue by referencing his great grandfather, who was born a slave but learned to read after being freed and became a leader at an AME church.

“I thought about him all day today because I wish I could see him now. And I wish he could see me. Because I wonder what he would say. This week, I flew to New York on a private jet. Netflix started streaming a show that bears my name, ‘Chappelle Show.’ HBO Max is streaming it. And I didn’t get paid for any of it.”

Then he added, “Yeah, if he could see me now he’d probably be like, ‘This thing got bought and sold more than I have!’”

He tested this same joke out at the Atlanta Comedy Theater in Norcross before small audiences.

Chapelle said Joe Biden alone will not magically solve many issues percolating through society.

“You ask what life was like before Covid,” he said. “A mass shooting every week. Anyone remember that? Thank God for COVID!"

He also mocked folks who refuse to wear masks: "I don’t know why poor white people don’t like wearing masks. “What is the problem? You wear masks to the Klan rally, wear it to Walmart too!”

“You don’t even want to wear your mask because it’s oppressive?" he added. “Try wearing the mask I’ve been wearing all these years! I can’t even tell something true unless it has a punchline behind it. You guys aren’t ready. You’re not ready for this. You don’t know how to survive yourselves. Black people were the only ones that know how to survive this... You need our eyes to save you from yourselves."

On a more serious note, he told the “SNL” audience the he understands people’s frustrations with life today.

“I know how that feels. I promise you, I know how that feels,” he said. "Everyone knows how that feels. But here’s the difference between me and you. You guys hate each other for it. And I don’t hate anybody. I just hate that feeling. That’s what I fight through. That’s what I suggest you fight through. You got to find a way to live your life. Got to find a way to forgive each other. Got to find a way to find joy in your existence in spite of that feeling.”

He smoked on stage, going against obvious no-smoking rules at the studio at 30 Rock. He also smoked at his Atlanta shows, puffing on multiple American Spirits cigarettes on stage during a Sunday late show before 150 people and drinking Sweetwater 420 beer.

He also expressed his love for Atlanta during that show, noting that he feels comfortable in the city and the people who live here, which is in part why he chose the city to test out his “SNL” material.

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