What's your thoughts on Dave Chappelle's Netflix Specials, including the latest, Sticks & Stones?

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#1 Posted by liquiddragon (3553 posts) -

I saw his latest Chappelle and overall, all the specials just seem to hit me weird. I'm not quite sure if he hasn't changed with the times or they are just not as good as his previous work but they all land uncomfortably.

Tonally, the specials sound like he's lecturing too often, kinda like he's way too bought into his own hype. (All his clothes has his name on them for god's sake.) We do see his signature playfulness and flashes of greatness but I don't get the sense that he's priority is comedy first, commentary second like it once was. Don't get me wrong, his skill, craft, and mastery of the form is in astounding display and you get the feeling he can run laps around most stand ups in his sleep.

What's distressing is the person his become. He does make some good points throughout the 4 specials and there are some greats bits for sure but he seems to miss just as often, if not more. He's always been vulgar and crude but he got away by being poignant. In these specials, the jokes and the commentary often aren't sharp enough to mask the crassness of his words.

The other thing I wonder is, how much does my lack of enjoyment have to do with his new voice? The Dave I fell in love with had a high pitch voice, which added to his goofiness. Now he has an odd deep voice which I assume has to do with a combination of steroids, smoking, and aging. Idk but I just get a different vibe from him which I think has partly to do with his changed voice.

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#2 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1436 posts) -

This will sound dismissive, and I'm okay with people dismissing my opinion because of it:

Personally, I'm kind of at the point where I just don't give a shit about standup comedians after a certain age. They all seem stuck in the past, desperately trying to relive their glory days in a world that has moved on from them. Fifties-something standup comedians sound like they write for the NYT Opinion page, but the only difference is that they're allowed to say "fuck."

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#3 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

Is he still like..kinda shitty and transphobic like in his other specials?

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#4 Posted by Relkin (1222 posts) -

I'll agree that he has started to lecture a bit, here and there. Out of all of his recent specials, The Age of Spin is my favorite by far and even that has a fair amount of lecturing. I still think he's easily the funniest stand-up comedian out there, though. The five specials he's put out as of late have varied in quality, but I've had a great time with each of them.

Sorry to hear you didn't have a good time with them. It sounds like you've enjoyed some of his past works, and while I can't relate to you about Chappelle specifically, it's always a bummer when someone whose work you've liked goes on to make stuff you don't.

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#5 Posted by Barrock (4167 posts) -
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#6 Edited by chaser324 (8719 posts) -

@efesell said:

Is he still like..kinda shitty and transphobic like in his other specials?

From what I've heard, he's doubled down on all of it. I checked out after the first Netflix special he had - no intention of watching him do standup again.

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#7 Posted by nutter (2397 posts) -

I saw the two that came out somewhat recently...not sure there’s a third.

I LOVED stand-up as a kid. Outside of Eddie Izzard, I’ve completely fallen off of modern standup.

That said, I that the new Chapelle stuff was funny and worth watching.

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#8 Posted by Humanity (19044 posts) -

I actually enjoyed his first two specials quite a bit. The "gay" jokes were sometimes rough but more often than not he was able to bring it around with an interesting point in the end. Not always but usually. Apart from those he had some really great material and I sincerely think his delivery and overall showmanship is probably the best in the game - but thats all subjective.

Sticks and Stones though.. I dunno. I thought a lot of his jokes there were really rough in a way that even made me feel uncomfortable and I typically have a pretty tough skin towards that stuff. Almost felt as if he was a bit drunk throughout the whole thing the way he was nearly yelling for the first half which is uncharacteristic compared to his typically laid back and composed style of storytelling.

I do think times have changed and Chappelle for better or worse is defying these social changes by delivering material that isn't catered to any one group. The one great thing about his routines is that just as you think he is really taking it to one group, he will typically pivot and turn the joke around on himself in a thoughtful way. Sticks and Stones sadly doesn't have a lot of that self reflection which makes the jokes seem a lot more crass.

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#9 Posted by DeShawn2ks (1110 posts) -

I loved it. I thought it was pretty funny.

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#11 Edited by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

Watched his new one and the "secret" epilogue last night, enjoyed it. Even...and some cases, especially...the lecturing ("THAT'S YOU!"). While he certainly did go places, it wasn't nearly as offensive as the material of various talents ten years ago, but then again it's a meet in the middle situation when it comes to younger folks' tolerance for comedy these days.

Eagerly awaiting Eddie Murphy's return in December, hope he hasn't lost his step.

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#12 Posted by DarkeyeHails (607 posts) -

@bladeofcreation: At a certain age being dissatisfied with the world and ranting about it goes from entertaining to "old guy yells at clouds.".

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#13 Posted by wardcleaver (348 posts) -

I enjoyed the first set of specials, the second set slightly less, and the latest was good.

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#14 Edited by JohnyMyko (1902 posts) -

As someone who watches a bunch of comedy and stand-up, I thought it was a great show. It reminded me of his "Chapelle Show" era, with way smarter jokes and not shying away from any topic.

The secret Epilogue after the credits was great too and made us understand more where he was coming from with some of his jokes, not only showing he's not as "offensive" as people talk but also showing he actually has more empathy in real life and his jokes are clearly just jokes for laughs and not his actual opinions.

Way better than his previous Netflix special, The Bird Revelation, and also way better than most stand-up specials Netflix has been releasing recently.

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#15 Posted by Castiel (3494 posts) -

I like all his new Netflix specials, yes burn me at the stake, except for the latest one.

Sticks & Stones sadly missed the mark.

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#16 Edited by inevpatoria (7487 posts) -

I feel like I watched the first of his specials a few months ago and then felt a total ambivalence toward watching anything further.

Chappelle is obviously one of the greatest to ever do it. But he also sort of strikes me like a man out of time. I don't know if that's just a product of his self-imposed exile or of something inherent to his craft. On the nose or not, watching his sets feels very much like you've plucked an early 2000s comedian out of that place and dropped them into modern comedy. It's a weird disconnect I haven't been able to get over.

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#17 Posted by MrGreenMan (253 posts) -

with his latest few specials he has became irrelevant and comes off and a ignorant old fool. Very little what he says anymore is not even funny. It's just awkward and sad. He honestly should just stay off stage.

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#18 Posted by turboman (9932 posts) -

I watched it last night and felt it was the best of the Netflix set of shows. Maybe some of the material was better in the previous ones (there’s some inspired jokes in this one too) but his delivery really is much better here and he doesn’t seem as stiff to me.

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#19 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3915 posts) -

They've all been ok. I laughed through them but remember very little about them, so they're not that memorable to me. The two best jokes of this newest are at the start. The joke about his friend at law school and then the "thats you!" one. The LGBT in the car joke went on for an age.

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#20 Edited by Forrester90 (1010 posts) -

I got some real good laughs but there were a couple of times where he fell flat on his face. The LGBT joke would have been a lot better if it didn't go on for so long.

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#21 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7691 posts) -

I think if anyone has the right to speak or make jokes about ANYTHING, it is professional comedians.

But, they don't have a absolute right to not catch shit for it. If they don't craft their joke with care - well, they they start losing that right very quickly. It like a police officer, they out of our entire society, are given that bit more authority to say, "Stop" and you have to stop. But with such great responsibility, when they cross the line it is even worse, right? Well, Dave is not being a "professional" nor a "craftsman" with his comedy anymore, so his position to make jokes about anything is slipping from his hands.

I will always feel that comedians need to be given more "benefit of the doubt" to make a point using a joke. But, when they really screw up, part of the job is to admit that by being more of a craftsman next time. It is a tired meme, but "with great power comes great responsibility" - Dave is not being responsible with his power.

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#22 Posted by cmblasko (2951 posts) -

This will sound dismissive, and I'm okay with people dismissing my opinion because of it:

Personally, I'm kind of at the point where I just don't give a shit about standup comedians after a certain age. They all seem stuck in the past, desperately trying to relive their glory days in a world that has moved on from them. Fifties-something standup comedians sound like they write for the NYT Opinion page, but the only difference is that they're allowed to say "fuck."

Yeah, stand up comedy is the coolest thing in the world when you are a teenager, especially if you are a jaded teenager. Then you grow up and realize stand up comedians are 90% sociopaths with extremely elevated opinions of themselves and the medium of comedy in general. Like, you tell jokes to drunk people, you're not the last bastion of free speech.

Chapelle's Show is quite possibly the funniest television series ever, but Chapelle himself has never really had a good stand up act. He pretty clearly needs creative people around him to focus and temper his ideas into something good.

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#23 Posted by Toxin066 (3551 posts) -

I found myself laughing throughout. Still enjoy the way he tells a story.

One of the things I've noticed though, is that an hour long set feels like a really long time.

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#24 Edited by berfunkle (197 posts) -

All humor is deprecating. It's going to lampoon and invariably offend somebody or something.

If our society has decided that this is no longer acceptable then humor is dead.

It's as simple as that.

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#25 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

@berfunkle: I stopped paying a lot of attention to Chappelle because it seemed to me that he just kept punching down and I thought he was a better comic than that. Which is not the same as a criticism saying oh he should clean up his comedy and stop being so rude to people.

There's an awful lot of complicated nuance between anything goes and absolute PC, as it turns out.

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#26 Posted by WMoyer83 (1051 posts) -

I thought it was funny. The crux of what he was saying was not really offensive. I’m not sure what all of the uproar was about.

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#27 Edited by nutter (2397 posts) -

I’m 20 minutes in (paused because my wife is making us a snack). Sticks & Stones is fucking funny so far.

EDIT:

Finished it. Thought it was really funny.

I only really took issue with Dave saying “us” instead of “them” when talking about women playing in the NBA.

Ain’t no “us” about it. A WNBA player would whip his ass on the court, just like Rhonda Rousey would beat the living shit out of me, no matter how much time I spend working out.

Some people are elite athletes. Men have advantages over women, but a female elite athlete would whoop the average man at her sport of choice.

Still, comedy, opinions, jokes, shock...all good.

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#28 Posted by Seikenfreak (1544 posts) -

Watched Sticks & Stones the other night and thought it was pretty good. But I don't mind the darker side of things. I've got a real twisted sense of humor that I imagine most people would categorize me as a monster. They're jokes though. Nothing you can do but laugh at life.

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#29 Posted by DaShibuya (64 posts) -

Him laughing at himself for calling Jussie Smollett a "victim" was the first time I've lost it hard at a stand up in a while.

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#30 Posted by not_a_bumblebee (153 posts) -

When you have a lot of white guys associated with the alt-right hailing your comedy special as earth shattering maybe rethink your material. Kinda like how Chris Rock retired a certain bit because the wrong people were repeating it like in that early episode of The Office.

That said I think it is really cool that Chappelle quickly threw together a concert to benefit the victims of the Dayton, Ohio mass shooting. Here in Ohio instead of random Bill Murray sighting we have Dave Chappelle sightings and anyone who has encountered him all say he is the nicest and most humble guy.

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#31 Posted by OurSin_360 (6226 posts) -

When you have a lot of white guys associated with the alt-right hailing your comedy special as earth shatteringmaybe rethink your material. Kinda like how Chris Rock retired a certain bit because the wrong people were repeating it like in that early episode of The Office.

That said I think it is really cool that Chappelle quickly threw together a concert to benefit the victims of the Dayton, Ohio mass shooting. Here in Ohio instead of random Bill Murray sighting we have Dave Chappelle sightings and anyone who has encountered him all say he is the nicest and most humble guy.

that's why he left the chappelle show. I haven't seen any of his new specials but his comedy is always a bit controversial but walked a fine line between that and offensive (to most anyway) which was always why he was so good.

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#32 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

When you have a lot of white guys associated with the alt-right hailing your comedy special as earth shattering maybe rethink your material.

Or just add more white supremacist bits to the mix allowing dingbats of both sides to get in on the review bombing.

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#33 Posted by KillEm_Dafoe (2666 posts) -

I just finished watching it and thought it was mostly brilliant. The first half was definitely funnier than the second but I always enjoy his stuff no matter what. I can't say it surprises me that so many people here seem to take issue with his material. I don't really think he's changed that much in his approach and delivery over the years, even between his hiatus. He's still crass while still being pretty sharp and on-point. The only way I think he's obviously changed is that he's a little more subdued on stage than he used to be. Mostly due to age and how long he's been doing it.

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#34 Edited by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

Any stand-up talking about ”cancel culture” or ”outrage culture” is worthless imo. I don't care what your take on it is, whether you think it's good or bad it's the dumbest, laziest shit you could ever bring up in a set.

And Chappelle is a funny guy, Chappelle’s Show still stands as one of the all-time best comedy sketch shows that has ever been produced, and some of his past stand-up is really funny, so it is sad to see him go this route. I don't know if it's an attempt at a cash grab or what because so many other comedians are on that same bandwagon.

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#35 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

@bonelessspirit: Comedians generally discuss what's culturally relevant, so yeah, they're gonna bring it up. Especially when it's something that infringes on the future of their artform.

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#36 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1436 posts) -

@shiftygism: But, he wasn't canceled. Cancel culture--for things people say, rather than things they actually do--literally isn't a legitimate threat to a major comedian's career. The trailer for this new special is narrated by Morgan Freeman, who says, "If you say anything, you risk everything. But if that's the way it's gotta be, OK, fine, fuck it. He's back, folks."

He said stuff in his 2017 Netflix specials that offended people. He got $20 million per special. He won a Grammy and an Emmy for them.

He's back in 2019. Next month, he is being awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

He's gonna be okay. The artform of comedy is gonna be okay.

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#37 Edited by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

@shiftygism: Cancel culture doesn’t really exist; its basically a meme born from the “woke” twitter-sphere.

Comedians have been whining about this shit for decades. None of this is anything new. But as I said it's an easy and lazy topic to grab onto because it gets the ”woke” people riled up against Dave and the other side wanting to stand up for him. In any case he gets a lot out of it.

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#38 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -
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#39 Edited by BladeOfCreation (1436 posts) -

@shiftygism: Comedians have been complaining about this sort of thing for a long, long time. Out of every type of creative, comedians are by far the most thin-skinned, constantly complaining that they aren't allowed to say things while continuing to make a lot of money saying those very things.

Now that's funny.

Edit: The other type of creative that can't take criticism at all is rappers, but at least when they complain about critics, they tend to make good art in response.

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#40 Edited by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

@bladeofcreation: Sure, but things have changed in recent years as it's no longer older generations they're up against. The landscape of comedy is gradually shifting for better or worse, as is other mediums of entertainment, both in respects to how younger folks digest it, and what they find acceptable.

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#42 Posted by DaShibuya (64 posts) -

All the best and popular comedians have never been controversial, nor have they downplayed certain ideologies, political parties, or groups of people for the sake of humor. Carlin, Pryor, Murphy, even films like Blazing Saddles. All squeaky clean as to not offend anybody, and for the whole family to enjoy.

lol

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#43 Posted by shorap (455 posts) -

Comedians complaining at received criticism has been happening for decades and it’s almost universally the same situation: older comedian, not updating material well enough or reading the room correctly, getting criticized, and older comedian doubles down/blames audience.

Also, shiftygism you wrote, “just add more white supremacist bits to the mix allowing dingbats of both sides to get in on the review bombing.” Since you wrote that both sides have dingbats what group on the left are in any way equivalent to white supremacists?

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#44 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

@shorap: Back in the day you had comedians like Bill Cosby giving Eddie Murphy and others shit for vulgarity and pushing boundaries, nowadays it's the younger generation giving comedians shit for going too far...it's not quite the same deal.

Also, there's obviously no group equivalent to white supremacists on the far left, because y'know, it's more diverse over that way. Still though, dingbats aplenty on both sides, especially further out you venture.

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#45 Posted by shorap (455 posts) -

Yes, there isn’t a left wing equivalent to the rights white supremacy. Wouldn’t that alone indicate less dingbats than the right? You got one group that believes in something like climate change and one that doesn’t.

And again, for decades all comedy has been criticized by people of all ages and backgrounds. As a society we have norms and those can change. Look at the amount of racist jokes up to the 1960s vs the decades after the civil rights movement or the same level of jokes pointed at gay people in the 80s vs afterwards.

The only difference between the past vs now is because of what we’re on, the internet and what the internet has spawned: message boards and especially social media which attracts a young demographic significantly more so than an older one. Add to this that there’s simply more people in the world and it could seem like some (especially young people) are becoming too “pc.”

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#46 Edited by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

@shorap: When you combine all of the various groups that hang out in the outer rim there is a balance in the dingbatmosphere.

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#47 Edited by blackichigo (446 posts) -

I just finished watching the special and I have to say it certainly isn't worth all of the controversy it seems to be attracting. A few people in this thread haven't even seen it yet are pointing at this like it is the worst thing that's happened in America. It isn't. When I read headlines about this comedy special that are something along the lines of, "The wrong white guys are liking this special.", it makes me want to shake the writer and say, "Will you please f****** stop doing this. This s*** is why that douchebag Trump got elected in the first goddamn place." Having said that i felt the special it self was pretty good and the epilogue was was nice bow top. Time seemed to fly by as a watched it. Is it his best? No, but I will be chuckling to myself about it for days to come.

As far as I can tell people's main problem with a special is his LGBT jokes and it's kind of got me a bit confused. Does the LGBT community not want to be treated like everyone else? Why is it okay to poke fun at literally everyone else, but somehow they are special and have to be put on this safe exclusionary pedestal? The left always preaches inclusion, but making all of these safe spaces is not inclusion. That certainly is not to say the right is for inclusion. They can't really hold hands, because they're too busy clutching their guns and tiki torches.

To me, it always sort of felt a bit oddly pandering and insulting, because the subtext is that you feel a person that is so weak and fragile that they cannot take a joke. It's been my understanding that a big problem in the LGBT community is that they don't feel like they really belong anywhere for most of their lives. What is more inclusive than sitting down in a group of people who are all laughing, making fun of themselves, laughing at how ridiculous and tragic this world can be?

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#48 Posted by deckard (373 posts) -

It was pretty good overall, although the first 20 minutes were pretty rough. It’s just not funny in 2019 to say offensive things just to be offensive. I’m fine with comedians saying controversial things, it just has to be funny and have a point. The back half of the special was pretty good though.

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#49 Posted by shorap (455 posts) -

@shiftygism: would you mind giving some examples, especially since you admitted that there isn’t an equivalent on the left to the right’s white supremacy, a group that doesn’t just preach hate but has been the worst or second worst terrorist threat in America for decades.

@blackichigo: trump got elected for a number of different reasons that resulted in a “perfect storm,” not because people were being critical of comedians or being “pc.” I do believe the LGBTQ community wants to be treated like everyone else. It might seem like they can’t take a joke but when you consider the harassment and violence a lot of them have received and may still experience throughout their lives, it paints a different picture, context matters.

We still have a significant segment of the population that thinks they can force LGBTQ people to become heterosexual and deny them certain civil rights. The people who believe that are part of a political party that still controls the majority of the government and before that controlled all branches of government for two years.

They’ve also appointed so many federal judges that they now account for 20-25% of all federal judges in the country. Those are lifetime appointments. Their power and influence will be felt for generations.

So taking that into context, I can totally see why LGBTQ people find some jokes about them offensive, especially when they come from a comedian known for routinely making jokes about them.

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#50 Posted by blackichigo (446 posts) -

@shorap: LGBT people being discriminated against by the government is more of a different argument than I was saying. The government is kind of biting back against a lot of people's rights, women especially with these new abortion laws.

Have the LGBT community had it rough? They most certainly have. But what group has not had it rough at some point? Do we never mention Jewish people because of the Holocaust? Do we never mention black people because at one point in America they were slaves, were treated as less than human? Do we never mention Mexican people because they are they are currently dehumanized and have their children put in cages as we speak?

People are terrified to even talk about the LGBT community cause they might misconstrued or say something wrong. How are people supposed to learn what is okay and not okay if we can't talk about it? We have to be able to talk about these things We have to be able to normalize people so that they can integrate feel comfortable and safe within society.