Just days before his just-post-election monologue on SNL, Dave Chapelle made a few small headlines when he downplayed the seriousness of both sexism and homophobia. And when it came time for him to actually deliver that big monologue, Chapelle put his money where his mouth was, making jokes that could be construed as mild examples of both. The astounding part: It only took him three words, one of which was “a”, and you probably missed it.
The sentence clause in question came during Chapelle’s discussion of whether the Pulse shooter could rightly be considered a soldier of ISIS. See if you can spot the three-word sequence in this excerpt taken from the Washington Post’s transcript of his routine:
If [the Pulse shooter was a member of ISIS], then ISIS is scarier than I thought, because they have very deep cover operatives. “Look out I’m going out deep for this one, I might have to get a Grindr account, and j— a few guys off, to throw them off the trail.”
I don’t think the guy was in ISIS. What happened was he pledged allegiance to ISIS before he did what he did, which is not the same as being in ISIS, you know what I mean?
Like, if I was going to have sex with a girl (and) right before I did, I screamed out “Wu-Tang!” — that don’t mean I’m in the Wu-Tang Clan.
The answer I was looking for: “with a girl”. After mentioning Pulse and name-dropping Grindr, Chapelle felt compelled to clarify that his hypothetical sexual partner was “a girl”. The obvious implication being that he is not, in this scenario, having sex with another man. In other words, he dropped “no homo” using other words. And to compound the offensive, Chapelle described his partner (who one would hope is a mature woman) as a “girl”. Not a good look.
Admittedly, neither putative offense is worth getting too riled up over. Chapelle was right: We have bigger problems these days than policing the stray words of a comedian. For example, Putin-tive offenses.
Except it gets worse. In his haste to put distance between himself and the gays, Chapelle’s encounter “with a girl” uncomfortably echoed the practices of people we can all agree are the real villains of his story (and history): ISIS. Those guys are, like Dave, really into girls. Except, of course, for the ones who are into guys — like Dave? He sure knows a lot about Grindr.