Dave Chappelle Explains Why Trump is Bad for Comedy, and How the Montreal JFL Fest Changed His Life

This past weekend, at Canada’s Screen Awards, Dave Chappelle presented Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival with the prestigious Icon Award for their contributions to the world of comedy. While there, Chappelle sat down with the CBC to discuss his history with JFL, his opinions on the current torch-bearers of comedy, and the state of comedy under President Trump.

Chappelle was chosen as the presenter of the Icon Award for good reason, as the comic credits JFL with acting as a launching pad for his career. “I’m one of the few people who came from America to Canada to get a break. I came to the Montreal festival, I spent a weekend here, and it changed my life,” said Chappelle. “It put me on a path to become a better comedian than I would have been had I not come through the festival.” Chappelle admits that he was inspired by his JFL experience because he “had never seen comedy taken so seriously before,” and that being “exposed to more talent in a single weekend than he had seen in years” lit a fire under him to be more serious about his work.

While the consensus from many comedians regarding Donald Trump is that he’s good for comedy due to all of the fodder that he provides, Chappelle isn’t so sure. “I think Trump’s kinda bad for comedy. Most comics in the states are starting to do the same jokes just because Trump is so on everybody’s mind, so it will be nice when we don’t have to talk about him as much.” And while he’s been known to get political at times, he says that his commentary is never far removed from comedy. “In my life, nothing is bigger than comedy,” he said. “I love my genre and my genre allows me to be more honest than most peoples, but it’s still comedy man, it’s got to be in the spirit of levity because it kinda helps us get through tough times I guess.”

The interview, although brief, is an interesting look at the life and opinions of one of comedy’s biggest resurging stars. On that note, Netflix will be releasing not one but two new specials from Chappelle on March 21st, with a third coming “probably by the end of the year.”

[H/T] http://www.thefader.com/2017/03/13/dave-chappelle-trump-bad-for-comedy (The Fader)

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Bill Tressler

Bill is a writer and comedy enthusiast from New York. An avid gamer and podcast fan, he strives to always toe the line between charming irreverence and grating honesty.