Can America take a joke? Yes. Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock incidents are part of a continuum, experts say

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  • Comedians, social commentators and scholars tell USA TODAY that it’s in the nation’s DNA to foster freedom of expression despite the risks.
  • Social media is the variable that makes our perception different. It intensifies things that previously would not have been so intensified.

There have always been edgy comedians. But now it’s comedy itself that seems — literally — dangerous.

Chris Rock is belted at the Oscars by Will Smith after a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife. Then this week, Dave Chappelle is tackled on stage during his “Netflix is a Joke” show at the Hollywood Bowl.


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