Dave Chappelle delivered for Saturday Night Live. The outspoken comedian hosted the NBC sketch series on Nov. 12, bringing in the best ratings of the season.
The episode landed 4.8 million viewers and a 0.9 rating in the advertiser coveted adults 18-49 demo, per Nielsen figures.
That topped the season’s previously highest-rated episode a week earlier with host Amy Schumer, who helped propel the show to 4.3 million viewers and 0.79 demo rating.
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Still, the numbers for Chappelle’s post-election episode were down significantly from when he hosted after the November 2020 presidential election. That episode brought in 9.1 million viewers and a 2.6 rating in the 18-49 demo.
Season 48 of SNL premiered on Oct. 1. Six episodes in, the series has been averaging a lowly 4 million viewers after a mass cast exodus following the previous season.
According to Indiewire, the series saw its the lowest-rated episode this season on Oct. 15, when Megan Thee Stallion hosted and served as musical guest. That episode was watched by 3.7 million viewers and received a demo rating of 0.66.
While Chappelle lifted the show’s numbers last weekend, his extended 15-minute monologue sparked controversy for statements some considered antisemitic.
The comedian’s set included several jokes about Kanye West, now known as Ye, for getting canceled following his remarks on social media and in interviews about the Jewish community.
Chappelle began by reading a statement which said: “I denounce antisemitism in all its forms and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community. And that Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.”
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He went on to say there’s an abundance of Jewish people in Hollywood, but there’s an unspoken rule in show business not to discuss it. “If they’re Black, then it’s a gang. If they’re Italian, it’s a mob,” Chappelle said. “But if they’re Jewish, it’s a coincidence and you should never speak about it.”
The next morning, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt blasted Chappelle on Twitter, calling his jokes “disturbing.”
“We shouldn’t expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society’s moral compass, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not just normalize but popularize #antisemitism,” Greenblatt tweeted. “Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?”
Despite the backlash, Chappelle trended on Twitter for hours, with many SNL viewers praising his set.
To date, the monologue has been viewed more than 8 million times on YouTube.