Dave Chappelle is back and is as unapologetic as ever. With two new specials streaming on Netflix, the former Chappelle’s Show star is front and center again in the comedy world after an elusive 10 years.
Over the weekend, Chappelle crashed Chris Rock’s “The Total Blackout Tour” in New Orleans, and to the delight of fans, the two comedians traded jokes back and forth onstage for 90 minutes. Chappelle has been under fire from some viewers regarding transphobic and rape jokes he made during his specials. According to one audience member, he may have altered some material after the backlash.
The New Orleans Advocate writes, “[Dave] riffed on the Zika virus, Caitlyn Jenner, and the Amish. He tried to tamp down the backlash over the Bill Cosby rape jokes he makes in a new Netflix special. ‘Coming after me for feminist issues is a waste of time,’ he said, then cracked, ‘You know what the feminist movement needs? A male leader.’”
While Chappelle’s sharp humor remained intact during his hiatus, the political climate is certainly more fragile than it was in 2005 when he left his Comedy Central series at its peak. In “The Age of Spin,” Chappelle jokes about pitching a movie about a superhero who rapes women. “He saves way more than he rapes and he only rapes to save,” he says, “but he does rape.” He also goes into a lengthy, controversial bit about Bill Cosby.
Backlash over his Netflix specials hasn’t just come from female viewers, as Chappelle has also upset members of the LGBTQ community.
In “The Age of Spin,” Chappelle talks about how his wife’s gay friends love to have political arguments. Recently, it was over a petition in federal court about taking the words “husband” and “wife” out of the law because it discriminates against gay couples.
“I was like … trust me, take your chips and get out the f*** out of the casino,” Dave jokes. “Go outside, talk it over amongst yourselves, and whichever one of you is gayer … that’s the wife!”
He then transitioned into talking about the “T” in LGBTQ.
“Whenever I see one of them ‘T’s’ on the street I’m like, ‘Damn, I miss Bruce [Jenner.] I’m sorry guys, I’m 42, I remember Bruce Jenner before the Kardashians, before all of that. This motherf***er was a white American superhero,” Chappelle tells the L.A. crowd. “When I heard he was going to do it I was scared — I didn’t think the public was ready, I didn’t think the media was ready, and you know what? I was wrong. Not only did the public embrace him, the media was nice … I was shocked!”
Dave Chappelle “The American” was happy and thought, “Good for America.” Dave Chappelle “The Black American” was a little jealous.
“How the f*** are transgender people beating black people in the discrimination Olympics?” he continues. “If the police shot half as many transgenders as they did n****s last year, there would be a war in L.A. I know black dudes in Brooklyn, hard street motherf***ers, that wear high heels just to feel safe.”
Another bit in the Deep in the Heart of Texas special also takes aim at transgender rights as Chappelle recalls a story about being at a party where a trans girl passed out.
“Whatever it was, it was definitely a man in a dress,” Chappelle says, before going over to ask if “he” is OK. Chappelle is reprimanded for using the wrong pronoun. “I support anyone’s right to be who they are inside, but to what degree do I have to participate in your self-image? Why do I have to switch up my pronoun game for this motherf***er?”
Many viewers took issue with the material.
Dave Chappelle is a funny dude, but that homophobic and transphobic nonsense just derailed the whole thing for me. Major bummer.
— KeenAnvil (@keenanvil) March 22, 2017
Dave Chappelle could destroy gay and trans privilege because everyone loves him. He is the chik fi la of comedy
— Uncle Hotep (@handymayhem) March 22, 2017
Oof….This 1st Dave Chappelle special is pretty bad. These gay and trans jokes are offensive and not funny
— cory grindberg (@corygrindberg) March 22, 2017
However, he has his equal share of supporters.
First they came for Jerry Seinfeld, then Steve Martin, now Dave Chappelle. Millennials may end up being the generation that abolished humor.
— Christian Hartsock (@Chris_Hartsock) March 23, 2017
i don't like the fact that dave chappelle now feels the need to explain his own jokes mid show because he's worried about offending people
— Jake Woolf (@jakewoolf) March 22, 2017
Jesus Christ, the legend Dave Chappelle had to actually give a warning that he makes fun of Caitlyn Jenner? Come onnnnnnn
— 92WinMets (@Tim55081) March 21, 2017
How y'all beg for a Dave Chappelle return and then get offended when you get a Dave Chappelle return?
— Anderson .Maack (@theMack_G) March 23, 2017
Chappelle’s Netflix deal is reportedly around $60 million, and his third special is set to be recorded later this year.
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