During a November 12 hosting slot on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” comedian Dave Chappelle suggested to millions of American TV viewers to give President Donald J. Trump a chance. For that, Chappelle said he is sorry.
It was the first post-election episode of SNL when he said at the end of his opening monologue:
“I’m wishing Donald Trump luck. And I’m going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one, too.”
On Monday, in New York City at a benefit for the Robin Hood Foundation, Chappelle said, “I was the first guy on TV to say ‘Give Trump a chance,’ I f***ed up. Sorry.”
NBC’s Willie Geist was at the gala and tweeted Chappelle’s statement:
Dave Chappelle tonight in NY on his November SNL monologue: “I was the first guy on TV to say ‘Give Trump a chance.’ I f***ed up. Sorry.”
— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) May 16, 2017
In a New York Times Style Magazine interview in April, Chappelle actually defended himself against critics who said he “softballed” Trump on SNL.
“I said, we demand he gives us a chance,” the comedian said. “I didn’t softball ’em.”
It was Chappelle’s first time hosting SNL and his first late-night appearance since 2014 when he was a guest on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”
Since leaving “Chappelle’s Show” on Comedy Central in 2005, the comedian had been keeping a relatively low profile. So, his appearance on SNL was highly anticipated.
The ratings for the show delivered season highs in adults 18-49 and total viewers, as well as the show’s highest 18-49 rating since 2013, according to Live+Same Day ratings from Nielsen (No. 32 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list).
In the beginning of his monologue, Chappelle made commentary on race and the outcome of the election.
“I think I speak for all of Black America when I say we are all praying for Omarosa,” he said.
Omarosa Manigault is the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison for the Trump administration.
On “Chappelle’s Show,” the comedian tackled issues of race in America. One of his well-known sketches was about a Black white supremacist named Clayton Bigsby. He could not see and didn’t realize he was a Black man being racist against himself.
In his SNL monologue, Chappelle also took a few jabs at Trump:
“America has done it,” he said. “We’ve actually elected an Internet troll as our president.”
The political sketches on SNL have recently included commentary on members of the Trump administration, such as actress Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of White House press secretary Sean Spicer and SNL actress Kate McKinnon as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Prior to his SNL appearance, during a comedy routine at the Cutting Room in New York in November, Chappelle noted that he wasn’t pleased with either Hillary Clinton or Trump. He admitted that he voted for Clinton but “didn’t feel good” about it.
In his appearance at the Robin Hood Foundation benefit Monday night, Chappelle noted that — each day — Trump’s presidency has been unpredictable from his tweets to his policies. Chappelle also implied that the negative expectations for the behavior of the first Black president — Barack Obama — didn’t come to pass.
“Every day we wake up, and you don’t know what he is going to do next — Donald Trump,” he said. “He’s exciting — like we thought a Black president would have been.”
Below is video captured at the event: