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Ep. 60 Bob Murphy Dissects Dave Chappelle’s New Special

Bob goes solo to analyze Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, “Sticks & Stones.” Bob applauds one bit and criticizes another, but overall thinks Chappelle has done his duty as the court jester.
Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. Ethan on 09/17/2019 at 1:49 PM

    Bob, I think you are totally missing the point of the fork and the knife bit.

    Dave has discussed why he quit the Chappelle show many times. He said it was specifically one moment when a white camera man was laughing at him for being a knife. Not laughing with him about the joke, but explicitly laughing at him. Feeling better than knifes. He felt labelled and used.

    He said people weren’t getting the point of his jokes. That yes there are stereotypes about knifes that are funny, but not everyone who looks like him is a knife. He also made fun of white people for white stereotypes, he did that as a knife.

    Dave thought those jokes about white knives were totally fine, because it wasn’t about hating white knifes or whatever. So why can’t he say fork? Dave explicitly was against the idea that only black people can say knife.

    That was the point of the joke. He isn’t your token. You don’t get to laugh at him because he is a special boy knife making fun of other knives. You laugh because it is funny, end of story.

    He was pushing against those rules and that was the punchline of the joke. He doesn’t say knife, he isn’t even a knife, and how do you not get that. That is the punchline

    • Robert Murphy on 09/17/2019 at 3:34 PM

      Ethan wrote: “He was pushing against those rules and that was the punchline of the joke. He doesn’t say knife, he isn’t even a knife, and how do you not get that.”

      What are you talking about? Yes he did say the n-word in the skits, that was his whole point. They allowed him to say it.

      To really push against the rules in this context would have been something like, “Well Cheryl, if you recall last month, we did a skit where I had a white guy use the n-word.” That would have been pushing against the rules, and it would have shown the corporate hypocrisy.

      He 100% is implying that the lady was being hypocritical in her application of the rules, not merely saying that “the rules” are bogus.

      I didn’t see the other discussion you are alluding to. He didn’t mention any of that in Sticks & Stones. I’m responding to the actual content he presented there.

      • baconbacon on 09/20/2019 at 2:19 PM

        I think you missed the point of that joke, it is pointing out that the women in question is calling Dave an ‘n-word’. Hypothetical exchange

        Dave: Can I say fork?
        Woman: No, you aren’t a fork.
        Dave: Can I save knife?
        Woman: Yes, you are a knife.
        Dave: Did you just call me a knife?

        This is related to Louis CK’s bit where he points out that using ‘n word’ is just a way for white people to say nigger without being called on it, by structuring things this way the woman is implicitly calling chappelle a knife but gets away with it.

        • Robert Murphy on 09/20/2019 at 9:44 PM

          ??? Right baconbacon, I agree that that is what he’s implying, and I’m saying that no, it’s total BS. I would explain to you why I think it’s BS, except, that’s what I did in the episode. So presumably you didn’t find my explanation convincing.

          Also, notice that you are disagreeing with other commenters, who also are confident that I misunderstood the point of the joke, and think it’s something other than what you are saying it was.

        • Robert Murphy on 09/20/2019 at 9:47 PM

          Let me put it this way: That lady from Compliance (or whatever) wasn’t just inventing some arbitrary rule. If Chappelle used the fork word, there would have been complaints and calls from activists to boycott the show’s advertisers or whatever, just like if a white comedian used the knife word in a skit, they network would have been hit with complaints and protests.

          And the one group of people who would NOT be organizing those protests are heterosexual white males.

          • fazsha on 09/21/2019 at 6:35 AM

            Bob’s perfectly right on his analysis of the joke; the rules as given to us are really an extension of polite society. It’s ok to be self-deprecating in company and call yourself a jackass for something you’ve done. However, it’s not ok to call someone else a jackass even if they did the same thing, that’s just rude.

            However, the difference is that Chappelle is allowed to call OTHER blacks knives even if other blacks are offended by him calling them knives, but is not allowed to call gays forks whether or not any gays are offended . But what if he did not publicly admit to being gay but everyone assumed he was because of his lifestyle or mannerisms, and then told jokes calling gays forks – would he be allowed to do that? It appears the rule is that you can only use the derogatory term if you are vulnerable to having that term used against you – “mutually assured derogation”.

          • Robert Murphy on 09/23/2019 at 7:36 PM

            Hmm very interesting second paragraph there, fazsha.

  2. Thundaga on 09/17/2019 at 4:01 PM

    I had the same thoughts of the special.

  3. Larry on 09/17/2019 at 8:42 PM

    Bob, which Colin Quinn program was it that you were impressed by?

    • Robert Murphy on 09/18/2019 at 3:09 PM

      Hi Larry, the “Red State Blue State” one. To be clear, I didn’t think he was hilarious, but rather I had no idea how intellectual he was. I had totally mischaracterized him, from the brief things I’d seen on SNL over the years.

      • larry on 09/18/2019 at 5:19 PM

        Thanks Bob, I’ll check it out. Now I also gotta watch somebody called Shane Gillis….


  4. Wes on 09/18/2019 at 10:51 PM

    Renée in Standards and Compliance.

    I didn’t interpret this bit the same way you did. Your take immediately makes sense to me, but I also feel like the way I understood it is what Dave was going for. My take is that he’s not a fag, nor a nigger, and it shouldn’t matter if he is or isn’t. My reasoning is that in the black community, or at least my experiences thus far, depending on the tone and context of the word’s use it could be demeaning and it could be familiar/friendly. Nigger is typically considered gratuitously offensive and is probably more often used by truly racist people and older blacks directly/immediately affected by Jim Crow. My understanding is that Dave is a huge proponent of people being able to say what they want. Your sexual identity and/or ethnicity should not be a barrier to what you’re allowed to say. If you take this into account and reconsider the joke you’ll find the punchline is that nigger is equally as offensive a word as faggot (despite what others may argue) and that Dave is neither of those things. That’s what it makes it a great joke and sooo funny.

    Unimportant Sidebar: Personally, I agree with Dave. Don’t care who says it. Words only have the power we give them. (Sticks and Stones, right?) However, my advice to all is to know your audience when using ANY slur. That said, it’s an undeniable instinct for blacks to look up and be on guard when anyone who isn’t black says nigger/nigga. That will probably never go away. Fag(got) doesn’t register for me. Besides, I may like dicks, but the aggressor is probably the faggot. 😂

    • Rasputin on 09/21/2019 at 6:14 AM

      Yeah, but that’s just because you’re the biggest f-word, g-word, compound h-word, r-word, L-word EVER. Nah, I’m just kidding, you’re just a c-word d-word, bro.

  5. Miguel M on 09/20/2019 at 7:42 AM

    hello bob! Great show as always. You mention an article you published against Walter Bock’s discrimination. Can you share a link to that?

  6. Martin Brock on 09/29/2019 at 1:02 AM

    I identified, somewhat, with a “men’s rights” movement in the nineties but never accepted, and vigorously opposed, what’s typically called “male choice”, the idea that men should have a right to refuse child support soon after learning of their paternity because this right is equivalent to a woman’s right to choose abortion early in pregnancy.

    I was most concerned with my rights as a father following a divorce, and I always accepted corresponding obligations to my children. The whole idea that my obligations to my children are optional is inconsistent with my idea then (and now) that my paternal rights are !not! optional. I do not want women entitled to use men as “sperm donors” and simply to omit them, involuntarily, from the life of their progeny thereafter, even declining to inform the father of his paternity. In my way of thinking, children also have a right to know and to receive support from their father, and including the paternal relationship in a “woman’s right to choose” also ignores these rights.

    At the same time, I then accepted a woman’s right to choose abortion early in pregnancy without the consent of the father and without informing him. I did not accept that idea that life begins at conception, or I at least distinguished the life of a fetus early in pregnancy from the life later in pregnancy or after birth. In this way of thinking, an abortion early in pregancy is more like contraception, and the aborted fetus never becomes a child in which the father has a just interest. If a woman terminates a pregnancy, there is no child with a right to her father’s affection and support and no corresponding right of the father. These rights exist only if a woman continues the pregnancy until the fetus develops into a being with human rights.

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