Dave Chappelle Reportedly Had A Fake SNL Monologue During Rehearsal, An Insider Explains Why

By locking down Dave Chappelle as guest host at this particular point in the, Saturday Night Live’s producers likely didn’t expect a cautious and word-mincing monologue from the controversy-courting comedian. Sure enough, his jokes about Kanye West and the rapper’s conspiratorial views about Jewish people set off a new wave of criticisms similar to those that surfaced over transphobic humor used in his backlash-sparking Netflix specials and beyond. Some have questioned why the show, and NBC as a whole, were cool with the extended opening playing out as it did. But it’s alleged that Chappelle is the only one who knows what he’s going to say when he takes the SNL stage.

According to Page Six, the Chappelle’s Show star apparently has an entirely separate mini-act put together to perform at rehearsals, and saves his actual material for when the cameras are rolling. According to the outlet’s source:

Dave does a fake monologue during the dress rehearsal, because he doesn’t want [‘SNL’ creator] Lorne Michaels, or anyone else, to know what his real monologue is.

The general vagueness behind such a claim would easily welcome both sides of the coin where motivational speculation is concerned. To look at things innocently enough, it’s not all that strange for a comedian to want their material to hit as many fresh ears as possible, so any amount of secrecy makes sense. And it doesn’t sound like this was something he shockingly pulled off for the first time in this instance. 

But then the flip side of that would be, “He hid all the offensive stuff without telling anyone specifically so he could get away with whatever he wanted.” Wouldn’t be the biggest stretch to believe that would be true. But then could the truth contain shades of both elements? Of course. As such, it’s all open for debate, or to not debate. 

Assuming the “fake” monologue wasn’t exploding with abhorrent and insulting jokes and commentary, it was potentially a cool experience to see a unique and private Dave Chappelle set in such a legendary setting. It’s not entirely clear what that mini-performance was composed of, though it’s noted that he apparently did directly bring up an SNL writer refusing to work with him during the week ahead of the live taping, a topic that circled around the rumor mill early on. And the joke allegedly didn’t go over well with everyone, and is said to have caused some angry tension.

So it’s plausible that part of the reason for changing things up was to not poke the bear so directly, as it were, while in the SNL spotlight. It’s also plausible that others who were present for the dress rehearsal will also speak up about what jokes were told at the time. Until then, Chappelle’s latest and past episodes are available to stream with a Peacock subscription.

SNL airs Saturday nights on NBC at 11:30 p.m. ET. Check out our rundown of the upcoming hosts and musical guests, as well as the current lineup of cast members.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.