Dave Chappelle's Saturday Night Live monologue was like a salve for the part of the nation that watches "really bad television" and felt shocked by the presidential election. Now it turns out that the comedian was nervous about it.
The show that Chappelle hosted was on November 12, days after the election. In an interview with the Times, Chappelle revealed:
At a certain point [on election night], we were all in the writers’ room, and as the night went on, and Trump was picking up these Electoral [College] votes, everyone stopped writing. And then everyone was just staring at the TV. I saw people tear up sketches they were writing. They’d assumed Hillary was going to win. Now there was essentially no show on Saturday. It was like the wind got knocked out of the writers’ room. I was really worried.
The Times interviewer, Dan Hyman, notes, "And yet you delivered a humorous, poignant monologue reflecting your equal parts hope and fear for the future," to which Chappelle replied, "The best advice I got was from Louis C.K. I went to a comedy club Friday night [before the show] and saw him. And Louis told me: '[Forget] the rest of the show. The monologue is all that matters.' I was stressed out all that day. But right before I went onstage, this calm just washed over me. Everything just felt right."
In the monologue, Chappelle touched upon the country's mood through the lens of race relations, "You know, I didn't know Donald Trump was going to win the election. I did suspect it. It seemed like Hillary was doing well in the polls, and yet I know the whites, you guys aren't as full of surprises as you used to be."
Netflix will release two of Chappelle's comedy specials next week; the streaming entertainment service paid him $60 million for a total of three. One of them, Deep In the Heart of Texas, was filmed in 2015, and according to Variety, "One of the opening bits... finds Chappelle riffing on a moment in which a white man threw a banana peel at him. It’s a 'tough time for the blacks,' he says, which is one reason he thanks Muslim Americans and Mexicans for taking some of the heat off African-Americans."
Dave Chappelle's back. (To back.) Two new specials, streaming March 21. pic.twitter.com/vcNgOA5upN
— Netflix US (@netflix) March 14, 2017