'Saturday Night Live Recap: Dave Chappelle's 2022 Episode Resurrects 'Chappelle's Show' Characters, Talks Trump and Antisemitism

The comedian hosted 'SNL' for the third time on Nov. 12.
by Danielle Turchiano — 

From left to right: Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, Dave Chapelle, and Ego Nwodim 


Saturday Night Live booked Dave Chappelle for the post-midterm election show of 2022, but it wasn't your typical episode. 

For one thing, his stand-up set monologue (see below for more information on that) ran longer than usual, but for another, he returned to the stage at Studio 8H to deliver introductions to some of the sketches. 

The comedian and former host of his own sketch show (Chappelle's Show, Metascore: 74) returned to Studio 8H for the third time (just like fellow comedian and headliner of her own sketch show Amy Schumer did last week). He previously hosted in 2016 and 2020, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for both performances. The Emmy win for the former was his first career Emmy win.

This time, his appearance on the show came with additional controversy, as his most recent standup special, The Closer, which was released in October 2021 (and yes, also subsequently won an Emmy — for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded), includes a misgendering a transgender comedian, jokes about trangender bodies, and defense of TERFs.

On SNL, Chappelle started his monologue by reading a statement he prepared: "I denounce antisemitism in all its forms, and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community." Putting away his paper, though, he added, "And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time."

So, rather than comment on his own controversy, he leaned into the artist formerly known as West's and also Kyrie Irving's.

"Kanye's gotten into some scrapes before. Normally when he's in trouble, I pull up immediately, but this time I was like, 'You know what? Let me see what's going to happen first,'" he said before recounting the Tweet that started the most recent issue, his appearances on Drink Champs, and his lost deal with Adidas.

"He broke show business rules," he said. "The rules of perception: If they're Black, then it's a gang; if they're Italian, then it's a mob; if they're Jewish, it's a coincidence and you should never speak about it."

"I've been to Hollywood. I don't want y'all to get mad at me, this is just what I saw. It's a lot of Jews. Like, a lot," he continued. "But that doesn't mean anything. There's a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Mo.; it doesn't mean we run the place. I could see if you had some kind of issue, you might go out to Hollywood and you might start connecting some kind of lines, and maybe you could adopt the delusion that the Jews run show business. It's not a crazy thing to think. But it is a crazy thing to say out loud in a time like this." 

And since politics were on the mind because election results were still being finalized in many states, Chappelle also discussed Herschel Walker and the "end of the Trump era" in his monologue.

"He's what I call an honest liar," Chappelle said of Trump. "I've never seen a white, male billionaire screaming at the top of his lungs, 'This whole system is rigged.' And across the [debate] stage was a white woman — Hillary Clinton — and Barack Obama looking at him like, 'No it's not.' Wait a minute, bro. It's what he said! ... Nobody had ever seen somebody come from inside that house and tell all the commoners, 'We are doing everything that you think we are doing inside that house.'"

'Potato Hole'

Chappelle's first sketch saw him playing a musician named Willy T. promoting his latest album, My Potato Hole, on a fictional news show. The anchors (played by Gardner and Andrew Dismukes), the meteorologist (played by Chloe Fineman), and the on-the-street reporter (played by Michael Longfellow) all had a lot of laughs at the title, using it to make innuendos and puns. But when Willy finally explained what a potato hole is, they got really quiet, really fast.

For those that don't know, a potato hole is a hole in which enslaved people would put what little they had. Sometimes that was food, kept for a short time in a cool, dry place, but sometimes it was important items meant to be hidden for as long as possible. What makes this sketch particularly memorable is the dual layer to the ignorance it is trying to correct. Sure, these television personalities made faux pas before understanding the deeper meaning, but the audience watching SNL at home may laugh at them without realizing that Willy T. is just a play on Booker T. Jones, who actually did release an album titled Potato Hole in 2009 (Metascore: 65). It won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.

'House of the Dragon' meets 'Chappelle's Show'

HBO's House of the Dragon got the pre-shot sketch treatment, focusing primarily on Corlys Velaryon and his granddaughters In the real series, Corlys is played by Steve Toussaint, but here he was played by Kenan Thompson. While they touched on all of the major themes of the real show, from its vast and confusing family tree to its vast and confusing relationships (that often also come from the family tree), it also introduced a few new characters to the Game of Thrones franchise — but ones beloved to fans of Chappelle's Show.

Chappelle first reprised his role of 2002's Player Hater of the Year Silky Johnson. Introduced by Thompson-as-Corlys as an ally coming to pay respects to the queen, he couldn't help roast the family a bit by telling the king he looked like he had a case of the monkeypox and saying "yuck" about the incest that goes on.

And he wasn't the only one there to be allies. Donnell Rawlings and Ice-T popped up in surprise roles, and Chappelle also appeared as Tyrone Biggums (who was admittedly more interested in dragon rocks than fighting alongside anyone) and Rick James.

Quiet moments in a barbershop

Chappelle's monologue wasn't the only time this episode talked about Ye or antisemitism. In a sketch set in a barbershop, characters played by Chappelle, Thompson, and Ego Nwodim were styling clients' hair and talking about recent events, and naturally the first thing on everyone's mind was when his comments went too far. For most of them, it was the "White Lives Matter" shirt or comments about George Floyd, but one who had no customers, played by Longfellow, kept bringing up things the others couldn't quite relate to and therefore just stayed quiet about, once again showcasing differences in cultures.

For example, he said he burned all of his Yeezys because they were just sneakers, and he called out the antisemitism as a thing that was a bridge too far for him. He also brought up the vaccine and the importance of separating God and politics — though admittedly that last part was more about the midterm election results than Ye.

As the conversation kept turning to other topics, including pop culture, the divide kept growing larger and the clippers' buzzing got seemed to get louder and longer following Longfellow's character's unpopular opinions.

"He's police, ain't he?" Chappelle's character asked.

Black Heaven starring Mikey Day

The idea of a sketch built around a Black heaven may have been memorable enough, but Chappelle introduced it by saying that he asked another cast member to step in for what would have been his part, which added another layer to the storytelling when it turned out to be Day, dressed in a fedora, leopard print fur coat, and white suit; carrying a cane; and struggling with certain dialogue he wasn't comfortable with.

The sketch also memorably broke the fourth wall to cut to Chappelle sitting off to the side of the stage with a cigarette, laughing at Day's struggles. Eventually he was also joined by Rawlings and Black Star members Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli.

Saturday Night Live airs live coast to coast at 11:30 p.m. ET / 8:30 p.m. PT Saturdays on NBC.