Dave Chappelle Mark Twain Prize Speech

Comedian Dave Chappelle was the 2019 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor last fall. The ceremony just recently aired on PBS, and the comedian’s full acceptance speech has been made available online for your entertainment pleasure.

In the acceptance speech, Dave Chappelle talks about the importance of different perspectives in comedy, even if you disagree with them. He implores us not to hate even the comedians who are doing racists bits, which is an interesting sentiment coming from a black comedian who has undoubtedly faced racism throughout his entire. Watch the entire Dave Chappelle Mark Twain Prize acceptance speech below.

Dave Chappelle Mark Twain Prize Acceptance Speech

If you can’t watch the video right now, here’s a taste of the speech in text:

“Thank you, thank you! I like not knowing what’s gonna happen. I like making memories sometimes I do all this crazy shit around my colleagues just so that they can tell their friends I did it. Rather than talk about myself, just briefly, I want to just talk about my genre. Stand-up comedy is an incredibly American genre. I don’t think any other country could produce this many comedians, and unbeknownst to many people in this audience, I don’t think there’s an opinion that exists in this country that is not represented in a comedy club by somebody. Each and every one of you has a champion in the room. We watch you guys fight but when we’re together we talk it out!

I know comics that are very racist, and I watch them on stage and everyone’s laughing and I’m like, ‘Mmmm, that motherfucker means that shit.’ Don’t get mad at them, don’t hate them. We go upstairs and have a beer sometimes. I even appreciate the artistry that they paint their racist opinions with. Man, it’s not that serious. The First Amendment is first for a reason, the Second Amendment is just in case the first one doesn’t work out. We gotta let some air out of the ball, man. The country is getting a little tight. It doesn’t feel like it’s ever felt in my lifetime, so tonight I am honored that my colleagues are here in comedy and in music.”

You can read the rest of the speech over at The Comic’s Comic. And you can also watch the entire Mark Twain Prize ceremony over at PBS right here.

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