Jon Stewart & Jerry Seinfeld Speak Out on Dave Chappelle’s ‘SNL’ Monologue

Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle, and Jerry Seinfeld
Theo Wargo/Getty Images; NBC; Netflix

On Tuesday’s episode of The Late Show with Steven Colbert, Jon Stewart joined his former Daily Show co-star and friend to discuss the recent controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle‘s monologue on Saturday Night Live.

Speaking plainly, he acknowledged his longtime friendship with Chappelle, before noting that he doesn’t think censorship is the way to help people with hostile views learn and grow.

“Comedy is reductive. We play with tropes because everyone has prejudices in their lives and the way they view things,” he said. “And comics rely on those prejudices as a shorthand for our material. Even the wokest of comics play with tropes to a certain extent.”

He proposed that anti-Semitism should be dealt with in a straightforward manner, or “we will never gain any kind of understanding with each other.”

“Dave said something in the SNL monologue that I thought was constructive, which he says, ‘It shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things,'” he continued. “Look, I can’t pretend that there aren’t a s**t ton of people, in this country and this world, who believe that the Jews have an unreasonable amount of control over the systems.

“I’m called anti-Semitic because I’m against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians,” he said. “I’m called other things from other people based on other opinions that I have, but those shut down debate. They’re used as a cudgel. And whether it be comedy or discussion or anything else, if we don’t have the wherewithal to meet each other with what’s reality, then how do we move forward?”

He’s not Chappelle’s only comedy peer chiming in. Jerry Seinfeld, who featured Chappelle on his show Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and in his new 10th anniversary book, was asked for his thoughts on the controversy in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

While he was much less verbose, his comments weren’t as generous as Stewart’s.

“I did think the comedy was well-executed, but I think the subject matter calls for a conversation that I don’t think I’d want to have in this venue,” he noted. “It provokes a conversation which hopefully is productive.”

When asked if he would have that conversation with Chappelle personally, as a friend, he replied, “I don’t have a close relationship with him. We’re friends and it’s not a close relationship.”

The Problem With Jon Stewart, Streaming Fridays Bi-Weekly, Apple TV+