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Dave Chappelle Talks ‘SNL’ Writers on Election Night, Louis C.K. Advice

Dave Chappelle SNL Election Trump Louis CK
NBC

Dave Chappelle had perhaps one of the hardest SNL gigs in recent memory: Following the stunning upset of Election Night with humor. His monologue set a tone for soldiering onward, and in a new interview Chappelle now offers insights into the SNL writers’ room that week, and the advice Louis C.K. gave him.

Speaking with The New York Times to promote his upcoming Netflix standup specials, Chappelle described the scene at SNL on November 8, where the staff watched the results unfold in real time, and abandoned their existing sketch ideas when it became clear that Trump was going to win. In fact, it sounds tellingly close to the sketch he participated in with Chris Rock:

At a certain point [on election night], we were all in the writers’ room, and as the night went on, and Trump was picking up these Electoral [College] votes, everyone stopped writing. And then everyone was just staring at the TV. I saw people tear up sketches they were writing. They’d assumed Hillary was going to win. Now there was essentially no show on Saturday. It was like the wind got knocked out of the writers’ room. I was really worried.

Coincidentally enough, it was upcoming return host Louis C.K. who gave Chappelle the confidence to handle such a tense show:

The best advice I got was from Louis C.K. I went to a comedy club Friday night [before the show] and saw him. And Louis told me: “[Forget] the rest of the show. The monologue is all that matters.” I was stressed out all that day. But right before I went onstage, this calm just washed over me. Everything just felt right.

Chappelle’s show proved one of the more memorable SNLs of recent years, and it’s worth remembering that Season 42’s subsequent political slant and Trump feuds have given way to the sketch series’ best ratings in years.The ratings are so high, in fact, that the series will go live in all time zones for its final four shows of the season.

You can rewatch Chappelle’s monologue below, and stay tuned for Louis C.K. in April.

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