American comedian Dave Chappelle has come under fire for his sixth and latest show, The Closer, which was released last week on Netflix.
Chappelle, a recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and a handful of Emmys and Grammys, received a standing ovation from the live audience. A master of politically incorrect standup comedy, he was hilarious in his signature act that poked fun at race and class. But not everyone likes him. He was accused of being transphobic, especially when he defended J.K. Rowling for saying “gender is a fact.”
Chappelle’s detractors want Netflix to pull out The Closer. But the streaming platform said no. In a media statement, Netflix co-executive officer and chief content officer Ted Sarandos said: “We don’t allow titles that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line.”
I agree. I have been a big fan of Chappelle since his first Netflix standup comedy special, The Age of Spin & Deep in the Heart of Texas. Not once did he show prejudice against the LGBT group. Yes, he jokes about it— but then he also makes fun of himself, the Blacks, the Whites, the wealthy, the poor, the President, even his son.
In his shows, he calls himself transphobic, not because he is, but to make fun of his reputation.
As an audience to his sharp commentary and humor, I do not see a man hating on homosexuals. What he criticizes is the sensitive, brittle, gangster mentality of some of the members of the present-day LGBTQ who resort to bullying, stalking, mob lynching and even deception to promote their movement.
Another famous standup comic, Hannah Gadsby, happens to be lesbian, yet in her superb Netflix special Nanette, she expresses similar criticism of the LGBTQ community, precisely because of the same thing. She was bullied by lesbians who accused her of “not producing enough lesbian content.”
It’s not homosexuality that is the issue here, but the dangerous bullying employed by some LGBT members to push their presence and acceptance in society.
Dave is apparently supportive of the LGBT movement. In fact, in his 2017 Netflix special Equanimity and the Bird Revelation, he said: “I do not understand the choices people make. But I do understand that those types of choices do not disqualify you from a life with dignity and happiness and safety in it.”
Chappelle is an artist and his art is comedy. There is a big difference between hate speech and comedy. His comedy is funny and should not be taken as anti-trans propaganda.
To raise a point about the entitlement and privilege demanded by the LGBT crowd, he talked about DaBaby. The American rap artist’s appearance at Lollapalooza was canceled due to perceived homophobic remarks he made in a July concert. But when he shot a black man at Walmart, no one canceled him. Dave’s point is, you can murder someone but you cannot make a gay joke?
In The Closer, Chappelle tells the story of his friendship with a transwoman, Daphne Dorman (whom he refers to as she and her). Dorman was lynched on Twitter by her fellow transgenders every single day because she defended Chappelle. On the sixth day of being dragged online by the trans community, she killed herself. Chappelle said he did not know why Dorman jumped off the roof, but pointed out the cyberbullying “did not help.”
The alarming issue here is why one community has freedom of speech, but a comedian does not have the freedom to crack jokes. Today, it feels like only certain groups have the privilege to declare what they perceive as “facts,” with disrespect for different opinions.
Here is a black man being crucified for a comedy show. Hatred and bigotry are still sadly alive. If only people paid attention to the show and finished it, they would have found out The Closer is not prejudiced. There’s nothing in his humor that influences you to harm a transgender. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He inspires empathy to every human being.
Towards the end of The Closer, he says, “Empathy is not gay. Empathy is not Black. Empathy is bisexual. It must go both ways.”
Nevertheless, Chappelle knew the special was going to be controversial in light of cancel culture. He asks for ceasefire: “I am not telling another joke about you until we are both sure that we are laughing together.”
It’s not fair to cancel a standup comic because you did not like the humor. The Closer is a comedy special, not a serious TED Talk that preaches anti-trans.
Please, people, have you lost your sense of humor?