Here in North Florida, Hurricane Dorian drew our attention for a week. That storm had a hard time making up its mind. Once we saw what Dorian did to the Bahamas, we were saddened by the damage and we were concerned about possibilities here. I’ve been through a number of hurricanes in my life, and those experiences have led to a certain amount of knowledge about what to do and what not to do. Most of all, never panic, even if a hurricane comes ashore two weeks ahead of your baby’s due date and your husband is out of town.
We endured Dorian this week, and there were some activities that helped. Coffee topped the list. We have to have coffee because storms often come in the wee hours and disrupt sleep. We have to have snacks in case we lose power. We also like to have entertainment if we have power, and this hurricane’s honors go to Dave Chappelle for his special ‘Sticks and Stones.’
I had a gut feeling this storm wouldn’t be horrific. I paid attention to official bulletins, but didn’t watch much TV or listen to much radio coverage. My husband cracked a lot of jokes about the news folks trying to find some devastation to show on screen. I warned him not to make light of a storm because that might not set well with Mother Nature. He moved on to other snark, inspired by one newswoman’s fake eyelashes blowing off as the camera got in close. She literally had to hang onto them. It didn’t help when a local station tried to apologize for a tornado alert that was an error due to an “algorithm.”
So we were in the sunroom sipping coffee and trying to figure out what to do. I thought of Chappelle’s new show that has angered so many, and I suggested watching it. My husband was thrilled I wanted to watch TV with him because I rarely do that. So we tuned up Sticks and Stones. I wanted to see what angered so many.
I came away from Chappelle’s routine with my initial thought being many critics didn’t watch the show but reacted to media assessments instead. That’s how things go these days.
Chappelle is an equal opportunity offender. He throws out some serious snark, and he certainly directs well-placed barbs at white people. He also directs them at black people and pretty much everyone in general. Chappelle’s comedy isn’t just comedy though. He tends to deliver the presentation and then he somehow brings it all back to the universal human condition.
The most hilarious parts of his routine, in my opinion, were the parts about buying a gun and ammo, and his take on Jussie Smollett. We laughed aloud at those moments. No one captures social commentary like Chappelle, at least no one in the comic world. He is absolutely a genius. Then again, I can laugh at myself. Many people can’t.
The Toronto Sun (Canada) summed it up pretty accurately—”Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special loved by public, hated by critics.”
People today are in general far more sensitive than we used to be when it comes to comedy. Chappelle spares no one—no political group—in this era of identity politics where the color of your skin or your sexual orientation or your “Me-Too” advocacy is perceived as conferring some sort of holiness and establishing a culture of victimhood. Chappelle could care less what you think of him, and most importantly, what the political class thinks of him.
From abortion to child support to guns, Chappelle holds nothing back. In doing so, he makes you think about issues. He does it in ways that make you laugh aloud, at others and at yourself.
Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones made for excellent entertainment as we dealt with Dorian here in Florida. The Kenyan coffee helped too. And now that the storm has moved on, we can anticipate dealing with the next one because hurricanes are a part of human history dating to antiquity. In Florida, we meet them head on.
Once Dorian left us behind, we began to pick up debris from the yard. I greeted the frog who lives in a 2 inch wide space above the pool house door. I greeted the skink who lives under my garden bench. And I found a sweet bloom on the mini orchid my husband declared dead last November. The skies after the hurricane were beautiful. Life is good here in Paradise. For now. My instinct tells me we’ll probably do this all over again before September ends.
We’re still laughing over some of Chappelle’s jokes. He brought much needed relief to us as we waited and watched to see what Mother Nature had planned for us.
(Kay B. Day/Sept. 5, 2019)
Please visit our Arts Market and help us keep affiliate ads off Indie Art South.