RIGHT NOW WITH RUSSELL: Dave Chappelle, Katt Williams begin 2024 by stirring the pot

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

It’s been a big week for two comedians with strong ties to the Dayton region: Dave Chappelle and Katt Williams.

Both have been called out for stirring the pot when everyone knows good and well that’s what they do best.

Chappelle’s seventh Netflix special, “The Dreamer,” debuted Dec. 31 centered on themes of success, gratefulness and humility. Returning to the Lincoln Theatre in his hometown of Washington D.C., Chappelle, a gifted, natural storyteller, opens by acknowledging Jim Carrey’s immersive portrayal of Andy Kaufman in “Man on the Moon.” Yet in his praise of Carrey, pretending so believably to be Kaufman, he immediately shifts to taking a jab at the transgender community. But then he says: “I’m tired of talking about them. And you want to know why I’m tired of talking about them? Because these people acted like I needed them to be funny. Well, that’s ridiculous. I don’t need you. I got a whole new angle… I ain’t doing trans jokes no more.”

Is Chappelle serious? I’ll reiterate that this is his seventh special on Netflix, the same streamer that aired his controversial 2021 special, “The Closer,” which drew heat for his anti-trans remarks. It seems like all is forgiven between Chappelle and Netflix, allowing him free rein to say whatever he wants, even if it involves “punching down” on the disabled.

Overall, “The Dreamer” is at its strongest when Chappelle hilariously spotlights his solo visits to strip clubs (“I like the music”) and the infamous Oscars slap involving Will Smith and Chris Rock (“everything is funny until it happens to you”).

On Jan. 3, the equally fearless and funny Williams appeared for three hours on ESPN correspondent and Super Bowl champion Shannon Sharpe’s podcast “Club Shay Shay.” Basically, he let it rip — calling out Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, Diddy, Rickey Smiley, and Tyler Perry just to name a few.

About Hart: “No one in Hollywood has a memory of a sold-out Kevin Hart show, there being a line for him, ever getting a standing ovation at any comedy club. He already had his deals when he got here.”

About Cedric the Entertainer: “He did four comedy specials. They’re so bad, Shannon, they’re not available on Netflix or Tubi. Can I say that again for the audience? They’re so bad that they’re not available on Netflix or Tubi.”

And that just scratches the surface. Williams has reached a personal boiling point and has accomplished what he set out to do no matter the backlash. It seems to me his criticisms, including joke plagiarism, are about resetting the comedy playing field in Hollywood and on the road. He could also care less about Black solidarity at this point. His Festivus has stretched into the new year and I say give us more.

Here’s what else you should know right now:



Wright State grad debuts tonight on ‘Drag Race’

Ready, set, slay! Don’t miss Amanda Tori Meating’s debut on Season 16 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” tonight at 8 p.m. on MTV.

“When I perform in drag, there’s no other choice than to be everything I’ve always loved about myself and thought was hilarious, smart, sexy or fierce,” says Philip Stock, a 2018 Wright State University musical theatre graduate who has performed drag as Amanda since 2021. “Drag unleashes the menace I’ve been keeping inside for a long time.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

‘Golden Bachelor’ Wedding

ABC’s “Golden Bachelor” couple Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist married Jan. 4 live on the network from the La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, California.

The beautiful, emotional ceremony was officiated by “Golden Bachelor” contestant Susan Noles.

“I promise to be your calm in a storm, to comfort you when you’re sad, laugh with you when you’re happy and to stick with you throughout it all, but most of all, to have fun and to enjoy the rest of the time we have left on this Earth,” said Nist, 70, gorgeously dressed in Badgley Mischka.

“I’ve learned you are a strong and independent woman and your strength gives me joy,” said Turner, 72.

A slew of “Bachelor” franchise favorites attended including Charity Lawson, Joey Graziadei, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Trista and Ryan Sutter and, surprisingly, “Golden Bachelor” runner-up Leslie Fhima.

Also, during the pre-ceremony cocktail party, “Bachelor in Paradise” duo Brayden Bowers and Christina Mandrell got engaged.

The new season of “The Bachelor,” starring the dashing Graziadei and featuring Kayla Rodgers of Hamilton, begins Jan. 22 at 8 p.m.



Star of ‘The Bear’ breaks internet

Emmy-nominated actor Jeremy Allen White, breakout star of FX/Hulu’s outstanding dramedy “The Bear,” had fans screaming, “Yes, chef!” Jan. 4 as the face of Calvin Klein’s spring 2024 campaign.

“The Iron Claw” actor showed off his ironclad abs in boxer briefs on a rooftop in his native New York City.

The campaign was shot by photographer Mert Alas. Instagram users are saying the photos “make their ovaries twitch.” Oh my!

Golden Globes air Sunday

If you want to see more of Jeremy Allen White, you can catch him suited up among the nominees at the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards, airing at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7 on CBS. The ceremony will be hosted by comedian Jo Koy. Expect a big night for frontrunners “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer” and “Succession” but anything could happen to shake things up.

Right Now with Russell spotlights pop culture every Friday and as news arises. From the latest in film, music, books and TV to the buzz of awards season and other hot button topics, the goal is to fill you in on what’s new in order to satisfy your entertainment cravings. He can be reached at Russell.Florence@coxohio.com.

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