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dave chapelle-white people can’t dance

In the introduction to this sketch from Season 2 of the Chappelle show, aired in 2004, Dave Chappelle recounts some of the negative feedback that he had received for presenting what he refers to as “racially charged sketches.” He concedes that stereotypical jokes can often lack subtly, and for this sketch, decides to reassess the idea that “white people can’t dance” – a stereotype often perpetuated by whites and blacks alike. Chappelle puts forth his hypothesis: white people can indeed dance as long as they’re listening to the right music. With help from guitarist John Mayer, Chappelle tests his hypothesis in a variety of settings, including a “control group” of Latino and African Americans. The final scene includes an “impromptu” encounter with a pair of police officers – one black and one white – and concludes with the maxim, “people of earth, no matter what your instrument, keep dancing.”


How does Chappelle engage with the concept of racially stereotyped humor in this sketch?

What do you think he is trying to say? Does he get his message across?

Finally, what do you think is the function of the final scene with the police officers?

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