Stand-up comedian and media personality, Dave Chappelle came under the fire for his targeted anti-trans jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer” and refused to acknowledge the outrage and feedback from the community as he calls those who criticized him the “instruments of oppression.”
As the backlash increases and the trans community grows increasingly frustrated with the backward stance of Netflix for enabling Chappelle’s performance, the comedian drops another special in the aftermath of the outrage on the streaming platform and calls it “What’s In a Name?”
Dave Chappelle: The Closer: A Transphobic Netflix Special
In 2021, amid the pandemic reigning anarchy descending over the world, the field of comedy culture that was supposed to be a haven from the constant flashes of death, wildfires, bombings, and deluges, took a backseat on 5 October when the respected artist, the American stand-up comedian, Dave Chappelle took to the stage for 72 minutes to get “a few things off his chest”.
The kind of unburdening that followed in the hour-long special was not something that would be appreciated in the aftermath. The Netflix “special” was witnessed by millions who were not only offended but angered by the casual binary outlook of a person who had the platform to educate and inspire. Instead, Netflix awarded Dave Chappelle merely 9 months later with another special.
In the meantime, his previous special which has already spent its entire time under the microscopic vitriol of activists and the LGBTQIA community has now been nominated for an Emmy.
Damon Wayans Criticizes Dave Chappelle’s Speech
On June 20, 2022, in a theatre renaming ceremony at his high school, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C., Chappelle delivers a speech in which he addresses the backlash ignited by his 2021 special “The Closer” and its contents following a Q&A conducted between him and the institution’s students.
On the night of July 7, 2022, Netflix quietly dropped a surprise 40-minute special called “What’s In a Name?” by Dave Chappelle. The comedian addresses the concerns over the ceremonies initiated by his alma mater’s decision to rename the theatre in his honor by saying it was not his “idea, aim, or desire” to advocate such a thing and instead announces the new name as Theatre for Artistic Freedom and Expression — “Rather than give this theatre my name, I would like to give these students my message.”
Chappelle’s fellow contemporary, Damon Wayans revealed in a recent interview, “The thing is, you gotta ask yourself as an artist: is it special – or are they taking advantage of me because I’m special?” and added, “Don’t blur the lines. Is this a special or is this a speech?”