Anti-Defamation League CEO Blasts Dave Chappelle’s ‘SNL’ Monologue for ‘Popularizing’ Antisemitism

The ADL leader spoke out after the comedian’s Kanye “Ye” West-related statements on the NBC sketch show: “Why does our trauma trigger applause?”

dave chappelle snl
Dave Chappelle on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called out Dave Chappelle’s “Saturday Night Live” monologue for “not just normaliz[ing] but populariz[ing] antisemitism” on Sunday.

“We shouldn’t expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society’s moral compass, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not just normalize but popularize #antisemitism,” Greenblatt tweeted Sunday. “Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?”

Chappelle, who hosted NBC’s “SNL” twice following major elections, once in 2016 and again in 2020, began his monologue this weekend with a written statement he had in his pocket before discussing the controversy surrounding antisemitic comments made by Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West.

“I denounce antisemitism in all its forms, and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community,” he read, adding, “and that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.”

Despite prefacing that he’s “not freaked out” by Jewish culture because he has Jewish friends, Chappelle attempted to make jokes out of finding elements of Jewish culture strange, including ridiculing names of holidays by creating a made-up holiday called “Shanana,” and asking, “Why do some of your people dress like Run-D.M.C.?”

He then brought up a criticism directed at Ye that argued mental illness isn’t an excuse for using hateful language, responding “Yes, it is b—-.”

Chappelle argued the rapper broke “show-business rules,” explaining that “If they’re Black, it’s a gang, if they’re Italian, it’s a mob. And if they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence and you should never speak on it.”

“I’ve been to Hollywood and this is just what I saw,” he continued. “It’s a lot of Jews, like a lot.” 

Greenblatt and the ADL have recently battled antisemitism from several avenues, most recently lobbying for Adidas to end their partnership with Ye and now working with the company to launch an anti-hate program.

“Proud to be working with @adidas on a new multi-stage partnership that will allow @ADL to create a new anti-hate curriculum for school athletes, help tackle antisemitism and bigotry in sports, and scale up our #antisemitism education programs across the country,” Greenblatt wrote on Twitter Friday.