Once you reach a certain level of fame and then abandon your critically acclaimed Comedy Central series for the evergreen pastures of funemployment, it seems like the only thing left to do (other than counting your millions of dollars) is to become the kind of person who just gets asked to weigh in on stuff from time to time. That’s the position Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle seem to be in, and while they both sort of have “jobs”—the former is directing another movie and the latter put out a Netflix special—it’s more interesting for modern society to check in with them to see how they’d be reacting to today’s hot topics if they still had their popular Comedy Central shows.
That’s exactly what CNN recently did, with Christiane Amanpour sitting down with Stewart and Chappelle to talk about, well, everything. Naturally, that included a lot of Trump talk, but Chappelle specifically says that he’s “getting too much credit” in terms of this divisive, angry era we’re in. “He’s not making the wave, he’s surfing it,” Chappelle says, and he also doesn’t really buy that Trump won because of Russia, joking “Is Russia making us racist? Is that who’s doing it? Okay, thank goodness, I thought it was us.” Chappelle also addressed his comments on Saturday Night Live right after the election, when he said he’d give Trump a chance if Trump gave people like him a chance, and he maintains that it was “the right thing at the right time” because the feelings of horror and disappointment that so many Americans felt after Trump got elected was something that black people have felt for “many elections consecutively,” so he wanted to “recalibrate.”
Amanpour also talked to Stewart about Trump’s attacks on journalism, and he says journalists are losing to Trump because they’ve taken his attacks “personally.” Rather than questioning his policies, they’re questioning him, which allows him to control the conversation. Amanpour fights him on that a bit, bristling at the idea that journalists shouldn’t take offense at Trump’s direct and literal threats, but it seems like the different takes are due to the fact that Stewart—for all of the journalist-y things he’s done—is a comedian who hosted a political talk show and not a journalist.
One of the other big topics is Louis CK and his big, controversial return to the comedy stage. Chappelle dislikes the idea of everyone having opinions on CK’s new sets without having seen them or knowing exactly what he said, but Stewart says the question of whether or not CK should be allowed to come back into the public eye is “somewhat unanswerable.” He says he doesn’t know if “there’s a formula here that makes sense,” and while he believes in “restorative justice,” something like that only works if perfectly everybody can find a conclusion they agree on, which isn’t really possible.
Elsewhere in the chat, Stewart talks about allegations of sexism in his Daily Show writers room and Chappelle offers some new insights on why he decided to walk away from his Comedy Central show. You can see a clip up above and the full interview is at this link.