Hannah Einbinder and Jon Stewart On Dave Chappelle, Antisemitism

Hannah Einbinder in Hacks - Season 2 - Episode 6 (Karen Ballard/HBO Max).

Unlike Jon Stewart, it was Hacks star Hannah Einbinder nailing it in her Instagram story commenting on Dave Chappelle’s SNL monologue.

Hannah Einbinder’s Instagram story is in the below photo:

Hannah Einbinder Instagram Story
Hannah Einbinder’s Instagram Story.

The text of her story follows:

Yeah, the Chappelle monologue was littered with antisemitism. He did it masterfully. He used a genius technique: two truths and a lie. What I mean by that is, bigoted people will often couch their bigotry in a degree of truth. They’ll tell you two great things, and then they slip the lie in, because they’ve earned your trust with the two great things they’ve told you. So, in his case, the “truth” is good jokes. He had some solid jokes in that set. Ones I laughed at. The laughter allowed for people to miss the reemphasis of conspiracy he sprinkled in. No one who laughs at the solid jokes would be willing to admit that there was antisemitism in that monologue, because that admission would then qualify them as complicit. *No one wants to feel like a bad person.* The fact is: non Jews aren’t as keenly aware of antisemitic ideas, tropes, verbiage etc. Most people just missed these ideas all together, and only remember that they laughed. So when Jews say hey, there was antisemitism in there, folks go, “you’re too sensitive. Learn to take a joke.” Because *no one wants to feel they’re bad people,* they gaslight Jews by telling us that we are imagining things.

The danger here is that Dave Chappelle, and every other male comedian who believes that their amplification of bigotry is just freedom of speech, are seen as story tellers of hard truths, and thus anyone who criticizes them are seen as snowflakes.

I invite you to reframe this narrative. These men who pick on marginalized groups are establishment bullies reinforcing the status quo- not at all the job of the comedian. It is the people who speak out *against* them who are the truth tellers.

Of all the comments I’ve seen from people weighing in, Hannah Einbinder’s comments are among the most profound. She really hit the nail in the head when it comes to discussing Dave Chappelle engaging in antisemitic stereotypes. In case you didn’t know, the Hacks star is that her mother is original Saturday Night Live cast member Laraine Newman.

I’ll say it again: if you want to learn more about antisemitism and be able to recognize tropes, watch Antisemitism on Ovid. Meanwhile, I’ll have a review on Thursday evening following the DOC NYC premiere of The Conspiracy. Talk about timing when it comes to another documentary on antisemitism. In the meantime, study the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. Follow Jewish on Campus and see what action you can take with regards to the safety of Jewish students. Lastly, please start spelling antisemitism without a hyphen (PDF memo).

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Jon Stewart during Tuesday’s November 15, 2022 show. Photo credit: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I watched Jon Stewart on Tuesday night’s airing of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Suffice it to say, I came away feeling disappointed. It is not a surprise after he gave a free pass to Chappelle following the backlash to the transphobic and antisemitic special upon its release. We should not be afraid of calling friends out when they are in the wrong.

Jon Stewart jokingly said he’s the spokesperson for the Jews. Yeah, right. Jon Stewart does not speak for me. Antisemitism is not something to joke about–we have a whole documentary about whether Holocaust jokes are taboo. We often turn to humor as a coping mechanism, which is why so many Jews turn to comedy, but Stewart should have been serious while on the couch. Instead, he’s using more moments to joke around than anything else. Here’s how he responded: “I don’t believe censorship and penalties are the way to end antisemitism.” He says this before joking that punishing Kyrie would be by sending him to the Knicks. Why does Jon Stewart think that Jew-hatred is so funny? He’s got a moment to educate and instead, he can’t even call for antisemites to be held accountable for their actions.

You cannot discuss Jon Stewart’s response without bringing up his friendship with Chappelle. Perhaps his judgement is cloudy because of said friendship. Stewart brings up not wanting to punish people. I’m sorry but outside of select theaters and schools, Dave Chappelle has yet to face the consequences for his bigotry. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. He’s still making millions. Both the Emmys and Grammys have nominated his bigoted special so I’d say he’s doing just fine! Is it too much to ask that Chappelle be held accountable for his actions?

Here’s the thing that Stewart probably forgot: Kyrie Irving had ample time to apologize. The Brooklyn Nets gave him a fricking week before suspending him! And then there’s Kanye West being openly antisemitic and doubling down on it. We have to call out antisemitism whenever and wherever we see it! As for Colbert, he sums it up in the way that everyone should be responding to antisemitism: “I condemn antisemitism in all of its forms and I stand with all of my friends in the Jewish community.”

I’m happy to see that there are people working to educate themselves on what they did wrong and why. We saw this with Nick Cannon and Meyers Leonard. Both of them put in the work and I applaud them for it. The thing with Kyrie Irving is that he had an opportunity to meet with the ADL but he sent his parents instead. He also had another opportunity to answer outright that he wasn’t antisemitic during a media session and his response led to the suspension.

What more is there to say about Dave Chappelle? The comedian engaged in antisemitic stereotypes on SNL and was rightfully condemned by many. Listen, people could use the last month to learn more about antisemitism and why Jew-hatred is so wrong. Instead, Chappelle just normalized it on the long-running NBC late night series and Jon Stewart cannot even call him out for it.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.