The clip is from the HBO unscripted comedy special, Talking Funny, in which the three comedians and Jerry Seinfeld reflect on their stand-up careers. The clip resurfaced on Twitter after one user shared his shock over the loss use of the racial slur.
“He is the Blackest White guy I f***ing know,” Chris Rock said about Louis C.K.
“And all the negative things we say about Black people this f***er,” he continued as he grabbed at Louis’s leg.
“You’re saying I’m a n***er?” the Louie star asked.
Rock unfazed answered, “Yes. You are the n***erest f***king White man.”
The room erupted in laughter, and Seinfeld appeared to be the only voice of reason among the men.
Louis CK and Rock continued to discuss using the word onstage. Gervais said he doesn’t mention the n-word in his bits but explicitly used it during the discussion.
Toward the tail end of the exchange, an unamused Seinfeld said, “Well, you’ve found the humor of [using that word]. I haven’t found it nor do I seek it.”
The clip brought up issues about who can and cannot use the language. Several people including Jemele Hill and Marc Lamont Hill added insight into the ongoing debate about the word that has so much history rooted in racism and oppression.
Check out the criticisms below.
It’s quite clear that even if Chris Rock wasn’t born, Gervais and Louis CK were going to be using the n-word. Black people never have and never will give white folks ✌🏾permission✌🏾to call us that. That’s the jig. We get blamed for their use of it like they ever need our approval. https://t.co/0ToaL3LbdQ
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 23, 2018
“You may wonder WTF I was thinking….”
Rock didn’t just sit there and let it happen. He encouraged Louis CK’s nonsense.
And Seinfeld. SEINFELD… who defended Michael Richards’ N word rant, was the only voice of reason. pic.twitter.com/jv20lM2xSA
— April (@ReignOfApril) December 23, 2018
Chris Rock enabled the convo. But clearly the other 2 willfully engaged it. It’s not either/or. https://t.co/u186EVFtuy
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) December 23, 2018
But on the real, don’t be employing that “he was the only one in the room” defense for Chris Rock. Plenty of folx have been the only nigga in the room and that ain’t stop shit. pic.twitter.com/ItwHiIfnkNSee Also
— Clarkisha Kent (@IWriteAllDay_) December 23, 2018
There is no white person on this planet that is so “down” that they can call me their n*gger, n*gga or any other word that sounds like it…
…or say it in my presence without getting CHECKED.
There are no exceptions….#ChrisRock
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) December 23, 2018
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.