Dave Chappelle was in Toronto this past weekend for the Canadian Screen Awards and sat down with CBC News for a four-minute discussion on how Trump is changing comedy and the role of comedians during times of severe national bullshit. At the moment, Chappelle argued, Trump's presence isn't doing comedians any favors.
"Interestingly enough, it's turning out that way," Chappelle said when asked about comedy's role in Trumpland. "I wouldn't normally have made that assumption though. I think Trump's kind of bad for comedy." Asked to elaborate, Chappelle said comedians have started telling similar jokes in response to Trump saturation. "Most comics in the states are starting to do the same jokes just because Trump is so on everybody's mind," he said. "So it'll be nice when we don't have to talk about him as much."
Asked if comedians sometimes felt that looking for a laugh wasn't always the best approach when the national mood is abysmal, Chappelle disagreed. "Well, in my life, nothing's bigger than comedy," he said. "I love my genre and my genre allows me to be more honest than most people's, but it's still comedy, man. It's gotta be in the spirit of levity because it kinda helps us get through tough times like this."
Despite Trump's potentially negative impact on the current state of comedy, Chappelle is optimistic about where the art is, and where it's going. "I feel like my genre is secure," Chappelle told CBC News. "The guys that I see coming up carry the mantle well, and then a lot of the guys who have been banging from the beginning have come back to stand-up. You're seeing Chris Rock back, you're seeing Jon Stewart in the clubs, you're seeing Seinfeld back. So I feel like the genre's just very strong and healthy and everyone inspires me."
Chappelle also clarified the release strategy behind his Netflix deal, which begins with the launch of two previously unreleased specials later this month. According to Chappelle, we might get that third special before 2017 calls it quits. Peep the full interview above.