Dave Chappelle denounced San Francisco’s rampant homeless crisis during a surprise appearance in the Golden Gate City last week.
“What the hell happened to this place?” said the comedian as he told the audience at the Masonic Auditorium how he saw a homeless person defecating outside an Indian restaurant where he was about to eat.
Chappelle, 49, said the town had turned into a ‘half Glee, half zombie movie,’ according to SFGATE’s review of the show, adding that it had become the tenderloin.
‘You all [expletive] need a Batman!’ Chappelle explained. San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood is notorious for its crime, homelessness, and drug problems.
Shocking footage shows addicts openly smoking drugs on the sidewalks in the area, where overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent months.
Comedian Dave Chappelle, 49, spoke at a surprise performance at Golden Gate City’s Masonic Auditorium last week about San Francisco’s rampant homeless crisis
Addicts openly smoke drugs on the sidewalk of San Francisco’s Tenderloin area, where overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent months
Chappelle played the last-minute show in town — which he called his second home — with no special guests.
Last time he was in San Francisco, he brought Twitter scion Elon Musk on stage to a chorus of boos.
Chappelle received backlash in 2021 for material in his Netflix comedy special ‘The Closer’ that some in the LGBTQ+ community said made fun of transgender people. His supporters saw it as a cry against the cancellation culture.
But in Thursday’s performance, he steered clear of any segments about transgender people and instead focused on the city’s homelessness and crime problem.
An estimated 38,000 people in San Francisco are homeless each night, representing a 35 percent increase since 2019, SFGATE reported.
San Francisco’s decline is once again thrown into the spotlight by a sharp rise in overdose deaths among the city’s homeless population.
The city saw a staggering 41 percent increase in drug-related deaths in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same time last year, when fentanyl ravaged the city’s homeless population.
San Francisco saw a staggering 41 percent increase in drug-related deaths in the first quarter of 2023
It is estimated that 38,000 people in San Francisco are homeless every night, representing a 35 percent increase since 2019, SFGATE reported
Shocking footage shows addicts openly smoking drugs on the sidewalks in the area, where overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent months
In the California coastal hub, 200 people died from drug overdoses between January and March, compared to 142 deaths in 2022, according to recent data from the city’s coroner.
That equates to one overdose death every 10 hours in a city that has seen its reputation as a seaside gem destroyed by rising crime, drugs and homelessness, even as it remains home to tech billionaires.
The overdose victims were disproportionately black and Latino men, and often lived in the Tenderloin neighborhood, a rough downtown neighborhood, where a drug treatment center closed in December.
Scenes of rampant open-air drug use and squalid homeless camps also continue to be tragically common in the Golden Gate City.
Those living on the streets were particularly hard hit – the number of homeless people who died of drug overdoses doubled.
Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid often trafficked from Mexico that can be deadly even in small amounts, was detected in 159 of the deaths.
The drug is 50-100 times stronger than morphine.
It’s cheap, packs small, relatively easy to smuggle into the US, and is mixed with pills that then claim the lives of users, often unaware they’re taking something so potent.
Methamphetamine and cocaine were also present, albeit to a lesser extent.
The surge in deaths began in December and continued into a record-breaking January.
This followed the closure of the Tenderloin Center, where addicts were allowed to use drugs and where the overdose treatment, Narcan, was available to those who had taken too much.
Open drug addicts in the Tenderloin District. Fentanyl is the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the United States, as well as in San Francisco
Chappelle speaks at De La Soul’s The DA.ISY Experience at Webster Hall March 2023 in NYC
About half an hour into last week’s show, customers started shouting questions at Chappelle.
Some wanted to know what he thought of the homeless person who was sprayed with a garden hose earlier this year in San Francisco. Others yelled at him to repeat lines from his old Comedy Central show.
SFGATE reported that instead of yelling back, he connected with the public and even asked for details about the incident with the homeless person.
Chappelle sparked outrage last year after the October release of The Closer, which contained comments about the transgender community and prompted quick reactions from offended viewers and even staffers at Netflix, which has aired a slew of specials from the comic in recent years.
The backlash included a staged strike by employees at Netflix’s LA headquarters after the streaming giant’s CEO Ted Sarandos defended Chappelle’s jokes as artistic expression and nothing more than an example of the comedian’s “creative freedom.”
The special even provoked a reaction from transgender star Caitlyn Jenner, who also defended the comedian for his comments.
In the special, Chappelle joked that women see trans women the same way black people would see black-faced white women.
He also joked that women have a right to be angry with trans women, ever since Jenner won Glamor magazine’s 2015 Woman of the Year award.
“I’d be so crazy if I were a woman,” Chappelle says sarcastically in a piece that was deemed problematic.
When Chappelle appeared on SNL in November, he declined to discuss controversial jokes, instead devoting the first part of his monologue to Kanye West’s recent anti-Semitic remarks.
The comedian’s Minneapolis show last summer had to change venues due to the backlash and was instead held at the Varsity Theater
This increasingly politically correct climate has since become a pronounced topic in Chappelle’s material – though his sets, in particular, while still full of his trademark tongue-in-cheek observations, have become markedly more toned down since The Closer.
When he appeared on SNL in November, he declined to discuss anything related to his jokes that sparked controversy — but he seemed to allude to it somewhat heavy-handedly with his material, which largely focused on topics that support persistent stereotypes — anti-Semitic and otherwise . .
The appearance was Chappelle’s third ever on the show, after appearing in 2016 and returning to the show in 2020, during an episode in which he satirized a then-ousted President Trump after that year’s presidential election.
Prior to that appearance, SNL employees, seemingly still enraged by the comic’s past material, threatened to boycott the episode — but ultimately failed to make good on those threats.
One took to Instagram to argue that “transphobia is murder and it should be condemned” after Chappelle’s slot was announced, while others were reportedly furious that the showrunners chose the controversial comedian.