Dave Chappelle clearly did not want to talk about Kanye West.
During a joint interview with his old friend and Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous for an upcoming episode of The Van Jones Show, Chappelle comically got up to leave the set when the CNN host brought up the Trump-loving rapper’s name. And that was before West’s Oval Office rant.
“First of all, you know, Kanye’s an artist, man, and he’s a genius,” Chappelle said of West, who performed multiple times on his Comedy Central sketch series more than a decade ago. “Whatever he’s saying right now, I think that the angle he’s seeing things from is the division that he sees.” He compared West’s reclaiming of the “Make America Great Again” hat to the way he once wanted to repurpose the Confederate flag.
“The thing that’s scary about the presidency is after it,” Chappelle added. “I don’t know if you’ve been married before or had a girlfriend and said something in a fight that was so wrong and after that, we’re still family, we’re still around each other, but I sure did say all that shit, didn’t I?”
“I’m not mad at Kanye, that’s my brother, I love him, I support him,” he continued. “But, you know, I don’t have to agree with everything that he says. I just trust him as a person of intent.” A smile spread across his face as he added, “But yeah, he shouldn’t say all that shit.”
Of course, Chappelle has his own history of making controversial statements about this president, from seeming to downplay his “grab ‘em by the pussy” comments in a stand-up set ahead of the 2016 election to his vow to give Trump a “chance” during the first episode of Saturday Night Live after he won.