No matter how you slice it, Dave Chappelle’s recent Netflix comedy special “Sticks and Stones” was the stand-up comedy talk of the town. The controversy surrounding it has created two camps, and as everything else does nowadays, these camps tend to be divided by political lines.
Chappelle’s stand-up routine was not politically correct, and while he says things that much of the right would disagree with, the right applauded the special as a celebration of free speech and hard truths. The left, however, hated it with the loathing of a Clinton on election night.
It’s no wonder either. When the crowd thought Chapelle was making fun of Trump, Chappelle was actually making fun of them. He also said some things about guns and abortion that the left truly didn’t appreciate. If you have the ability to do so, I recommend that you go see it for yourself. As I detail in a previous article, all the bad things you hear about it are things said by a leftist media that is aghast that someone would dare fall outside the approved boundaries they’ve set.
In fact, the left has attempted to wreck the special’s success in any way possible, and this includes critics who are letting their bias show on Rotten Tomatoes. For some time, Chappelle’s special sported a 0% rating on the critic site, withe every critic’s judgment a bit more ridiculous than the next.
“Like dropping in on a rascally uncle who doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, how much he’s disappointing you,” wrote Inkoo Kang of Slate.
“Sticks and Stones is designed to generate inflammatory coverage… It’s a symbiotic cycle with no end in sight, and it’s become the last thing a beloved provocateur should ever want to be: predictable,” wrote Allison Herman of The Ringer.
“”Sticks & Stones” isn’t necessarily a failure, it just feels like Chappelle presenting half-formed material with few jokes that truly hit hard and stand out,” said Alci Rengifo of Entertainment Voice.
I’m not a professional movie critic, but I do make a living being a cultural critic and I can tell you that a lot of these judgments are off the mark. Only one or two of Chappelle’s jokes don’t necessarily land, and while he was being provocative, it wasn’t being provocative for the sake of it like Amy Schumer tends to do. He was doing so with a point attached, almost like a dare to become angry with him and prove him right. It’s very South Parkian.
But I don’t think Chappelle’s special needs to be defended. I think the critics need to defend their ratings. What’s more, I think it’s time that Rotten Tomatoes release the audience score, which it still hasn’t done, but I digress.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and critics not liking something and explaining why is fine. My problem with a lot of these reviews is that it’s clear that many of these critics are mad because Chappelle’s jokes didn’t pass the partisan smell test for the left. The funny part is that Chappelle’s jokes didn’t necessarily fall on one side or another. He said things both sides can agree on or laugh about.
But centrism can’t be tolerated in any degree, and Chappelle screwed up in their eyes by making things that they consider holy to be laughing matters.
In other words, the left is angry that Chappelle practiced comedy.
It should be noted that, as of this writing, one critic has at least given the special a positive score, boosting Chappelle’s “Sticks and Stones” up to a whopping 17 percent.