Why Dave Chappelle thought it was a good idea to bring Elon Musk on stage Sunday night is anyone’s guess, but the audience was not having it. According to Gizmodo, the infamously anti-trans comedian invited the notoriously racist conspiracy theorist billionaire on at the end of his set, and the boos from around 18,000 present in the Chase Center stadium were brutal.
“Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world,” Chappelle said while Musk strutted back and forth, looking deeply uncomfortable.
Chappelle tried desperately to save the moment, but every time Musk opened his mouth, he was drowned by a cacophony of jeers.
RELATED STORY: Elon Musk fires Twitter’s cleaning staff just weeks before the holidays
“It sounds like some of the people you fired are in the audience,” Chappelle jabbed as Musk chuckled. “All these people who are booing, and I’m just pointing out the obvious, you have terrible seats,” Chappelle said, taking cheap shots at those in the audience who couldn’t afford more expensive tickets.
And it hasn’t simply been communications staffers, engineers, and executives Musk has discarded like trash since he purchased Twitter; it has also been employees such as Julio Alvarado, a 10-year employee at Twitter on the cleaning staff. Alvarado told the BBC, “I can only tell you, I don’t have money to pay the rent. I'm not going to have medical insurance. I don't know what I'm going to do."
Peppering his jokes with the N-word ironically, even calling Musk “this N-word,” Chappelle was obviously oblivious to the unleashed racism on Twitter following Musk’s $44 billion purchase of the platform.
“One analysis [found] the use of a racial slur spiking nearly 500% in the 12 hours after his deal was finalized, which is pretty shocking,” John Oliver said during his show, Last Week Tonight, in mid-November. “Even for a website where a regular trending topic is sometimes just ‘The Jews.’ That happens constantly. You’ll log in and see 30,000 people tweeting about ‘The Jews’ on a Tuesday afternoon, and you do not want to click to find out why.”
Chappelle tried everything he could think of Sunday night to save the failure of bringing Musk on stage and giving him a microphone, but all of his praise of Musk’s money and success couldn’t salvage the moment.
“Dave, what should I say?” Musk said, looking humiliated.
“Don’t say nothing. It’ll only spoil the moment,” Chappelle said. “Do you hear that sound, Elon? That’s the sound of pending civil unrest. I can’t wait to see what store you decimate next, motherfucker,” he added. Then told a booing audience member to “shut the fuck up.”
Chappelle ended his set with, “I wish everyone in this auditorium peace and the joy of feeling free… And your pursuit of happiness. Amen.”
Just prior to his pathetic appearance with Chappelle, Musk spent his weekend cozying up to far-right conspiracists, attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, and taking a cheap shot at those who’ve asked their pronoun choices to be respected.
As Daily Kos’ Hunter writes, “Musk has dabbled in COVID-19 denialism from the beginning of the pandemic, but the notion of prosecuting public health officials for doing their damn jobs even when pandemic deniers would rather they didn't is, again, something scraped up from the deepest bowels of the fascist far-right.”
And as Hunter writes, Musk neglects to say anything about why Fauci should be prosecuted but then blows the racist Republican whistle about being “woke.”
Musk is a loathsome rich boy, the child of an Apartheid emerald mine owner, clueless about real work, and he’s friends with folks like billionaire Republican MAGA donor, Peter Thiel. So, in some ways, it only makes sense that Chappelle, who in recent years has become as clueless about his biases as Musk has always been about his own.
There’s a point in celebrity when a person becomes so out of touch with reality that they really don’t see racism or homophobia or anti-trans prejudice, they only see wealth. That’s where Chappelle is today—indifferent and oblivious.
Why did Democrats do so surprisingly well in the midterms? It turns out they ran really good campaigns, as strategist Josh Wolf tells us on this week's episode of The Downballot. That means they defined their opponents aggressively, spent efficiently, and stayed the course despite endless second-guessing in the press. Wolf gives us an inside picture of how exactly these factors played out in the Arizona governor's race, one of the most important Democratic wins of the year. He also shines a light on an unsexy but crucial aspect of every campaign: how to manage a multi-million budget for an enterprise designed to spend down to zero by Election Day.