Chappelle sets internet ablaze with his presidential endorsement

As the 2020 presidential election inches closer by the minute, celebrities are announcing their endorsements for the next commander-in-chief. This Is Us star Mandy Moore has been spotted at campaign events for Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind. Emmy-winning musician John Legend has praised Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's run for the White House. So who's the latest famous face to vocalize their political leanings? This one might surprise you!

Elusive comedian Dave Chappelle set the internet abuzz when he announced his endorsement before the Democratic presidential debate on Jan. 14, 2020. You'll have to wait to find out his fave after the jump, but we will say that his choice has people talking. Chappelle does not usually dive into the partisan fray, but these are strange times, and we're here to help break down the hoopla surrounding the Emmy-winner's choice.

Dave Chappelle is in the 'Yang Gang'

Prior to announcing his pick for president, Dave Chappelle had publicly endorsed a political candidate only one time. That was in 2018, and the lucky candidate was his longtime friend Ben Jealous, a Democrat running for governor in Maryland. "So you know, I'm out of my element," the comic confessed at a rally for Jealous in June 2018. "You know politics has never been my thing." 

Although Jealous lost the race, it hasn't stopped Chappelle from jumping into the political ring yet again. On Jan. 14, 2020, the Chappelle's Show star announced that he's backing Democratic candidate Andrew Yang. "I'm Yang Gang!" the Washington, D.C. native said in a campaign press release sent to Yang's supporters, per CNN. Yang is clearly a big fan of Chappelle as well. "Dave is one of the most important voices in our country today and I'm thrilled he has thrown his support behind this campaign," the former tech executive said. "He and I share similar concerns about the future and hopes for what it could be. We are also parents who see the world that we are leaving to our kids and believe they deserve better."

Chappelle will reportedly perform two comedy shows in South Carolina to support Yang's campaign. The presidential hopeful is apparently thrilled to have the support, posting a picture of the pair to Twitter with the caption: "You are the best. Let's do this for our kids."

Dave Chappelle's relationship with politics is complicated

After Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016, Dave Chappelle spoke out about the results during a headline-making monologue on Saturday Night Live. He framed the future by harkening back to President Barack Obama's historic win in 2008. "I looked out at all those black faces ... and I saw how happy everybody was," Chappell said. "These people, who had been historically disenfranchised. ... It made me feel hopeful. And it made me feel proud to be an American, and it made me very happy about the prospects of our country." He added, "In that spirit, I'm wishing Donald Trump luck. and I'm going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one, too."

Cut to May 2017: Chappelle expressed regret about giving Trump a shot, reportedly admitting at a charity benefit, "I was the first guy on TV to say 'Give Trump a chance.' I f***ed up. Sorry." 

Tump drama aside, Chappelle acknowledged that he's trying to be more politically involved, even if it might not always appear that way. "Even a guy like me that's just writing jokes, I have to listen more than I've ever had to listen 'cause the gripes is coming so fast and furious," he told CNN's Van Jones. "And I'm not dismissive of people's gripes. Might sound like it on stage, but I listen."

Do voters care about celebrity endorsements?

Dave Chappelle's choice to support Andrew Yang over Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is surely interesting, but do celebrity endorsements actually matter at the end of the day? According to a 2019 survey analyzed by The Hill, "65 percent of respondents" said political endorsements from celebs "have no bearing on their decisions at the ballot box." The survey reported that 24 percent said public support from A-listers "would make them less likely to vote for a particular candidate" and "11 percent said the celebrity endorsements made them more likely to vote a certain way."

The caveat? Younger people are more likely to be swayed by a celebrity's opinion. The aforementioned poll found 23 percent of voters under the age of 35 said a "Hollywood figure's seal of approval made them more likely to vote for a candidate." 

Of course, it's powerful when anyone — famous or not — shows up to exercise their right to vote, but as this poll suggests, it's unlikely that Chappelle picking favorites will win the day for Yang. But that doesn't mean the internet will stop chatting about this reclusive comic's choice because when Chappelle reappears on the scene, we can't help but listen.