Former Television Host Dave Chappelle–Artists Have A Responsibility To Be Activists

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I can only speak for myself, but I think Dave Chappelle is one of the funniest men in the world. When he left “Chappelle’s Show” as host, performer, and writer several years back, I recall I was in a blue funk for a week. The man is hilarious, and he’s making a comeback to the stage.

On Saturday, Chappelle was in New York for the Art?Art For Life benefit, where he received an award from Russell Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. And Chappelle said he thinks it’s incredibly important for those who have the spotlight to be vocal about what they see in society:

“I think it is important to be out now, but what’s going on in the world isn’t why I initially came back out.?This is a very surprisingly emotionally charged time, so people like me, I think, are very relevant and necessary in sorting through all this information and emotional content. And when we are at our best, hopefully we are doing a great service to many people.”

During his acceptance speech, Chappelle credited the?arts education he received in high school in Washington, D.C., as the outlet that saved him and helped him realize his true potential as a performer.

Chappelle also had the audience in stitches with this remark:

“I can say honestly that I’m happy, that I can sit at home on a Tuesday night and watch Key and Peele do my show and it doesn’t hurt me.”

Key and Peele have been compared to Chappelle, but for my money they’ll always come in second place to Dave. Again, that’s just my opinion.

Apathy, Chappelle said, is what artists have to avoid in today’s complex world:

“The biggest enemy of an artist is apathy. A kid gets killed by the police and I buy a T-shirt and before I can wear that one, there’s another kid (killed) and I’m running out of closet space.”

Dave, it’s so great to have you back. We need comedians like you to make us laugh, and, perhaps more importantly, to make us think.