Comedian Dave Chappelle is used to controversy. Over the course of his illustrious career, some of the Washington D.C. native’s jokes have landed with a loud thud, especially when he’s referring to the LGBTQ+ community.
On Tuesday (October 5), Netflix premiered Chappelle’s latest comedy special, The Closer, which contained commentary directed at DaBaby’s homophobic rant at Rolling Loud Miami. It also included issues regarding the transgender community such as Caitlyn Jenner and trans women’s bodies.
“Gender is a fact,” he said in part. “Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.”
Gender IS a fact!
Thank you Dave Chapelle ?????? pic.twitter.com/Uppjjo8Dos
— Annie ‘Leyii’ John (@annieleyii) October 5, 2021
As for DaBaby, he found it incredulous people were more upset about the rapper’s remarks about gay men then they were about him killing a 19-year-old man at a North Carolina Walmart in 2018 (he was cleared after investigators determined it was self-defense).
While The Closer debuted in the Top 10, his critics came out in droves to express their disdain for Chappelle’s attempts at humor. Trans activist Taylor Ashbrook, who’s based in Ohio where Chappelle currently calls home, tweeted, “As a trans woman, I have usually defended Dave Chappelle’s specials because I think they’re hilarious and his jokes about trans women never felt intentionally malicious.
“The Closer changed my mind on that. That special felt so lazy and disingenuous and I’m really disappointed.”
As a trans woman, I have usually defended Dave Chappelle’s specials because I think they’re hilarious and his jokes about trans women never felt intentionally malicious.
The Closer changed my mind on that. That special felt so lazy and disingenuous and I’m really disappointed.
— Taylor Ashbrook ?️⚧️ (@taylor_ashbrook) October 5, 2021
Civil rights advocacy group, The National Black Justice Coalition, wants Netflix to scrub the special from its platform completely.
“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better,” National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns said in a statement on Wednesday (October 6). “Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”
But like any seasoned comedian knows, somes jokes are going to ruffle feathers and Chappelle is likely not going to apologize for anything he said. TMZ caught up with the 48-year-old Hip Hop head as he was leaving The Peppermint Club in Hollywood Wednesday night and attempted to get his comments on the backlash — he simply smiled and was whisked away but not before uttering, “dumb-ass questions.”
Chappelle hinted The Closer would be his final special for Netflix, bringing his $20 million deal with the streaming giant to a close. It follows The Age of Spin, Deep In The Heart of Texas, Equanimity, The Bird Revelation and 2019’s Sticks & Stones.