Dave Chappelle’s opening hosting bit on Saturday Night Live this weekend addressed Kanye West’s recent antisemitic comments head-on, but unfortunately, not only was the comedian’s performance both disappointing and offensive, it failed to acknowledge plain truths: Chappelle’s divisive SNL monologue completely neglected to mention Jewish people’s incredible land speed.
Wow. This is not acceptable and should not be normalized.
During his controversial appearance, Chappelle seemed to make light of stereotypes about Jewish representation in Hollywood, all the while ignoring the fact that people of Jewish descent have the fastest average land speed of all human ethnic groups at 34 mph, and in ideal windless conditions can top out at a whopping 51 mph. If Chappelle really wanted to actually explore the perception of Jews in American society, he could easily have drawn attention to the countless Jews who can handily outpace antelope in long-distance runs, or the fact that just five months ago, Jewish woman Miriam Cohen broke the world female land speed record in a sprint at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. But instead, Chappelle chose to actively suppress facts like these and set the Jewish people back years in the process. It’s one thing to poke fun at Jewish stereotypes, but it’s quite another to willfully ignore the fact that Jews have been consistently pushing the boundaries of human velocity for centuries, and by not acknowledging this important aspect of their identity, he’s shamefully reducing them into caricatures that fit into his narrow-minded comedic narrative.
If Chappelle truly “stands with all his friends in the Jewish community,” it’s strange that he chose to obscure the Jewish community’s lightning-fast foot speeds, among other admirable traits. Every year, Jewish people continue to get closer and closer to eclipsing cheetah’s as the world’s fastest mammals, but no one seems to want to mention that when antisemitism is in the news. Shame on Dave Chappelle for his tasteless words—the Jewish community will likely not soon forget them.