In a new Netflix special entitled The Closer, comedian Dave Chappelle re-addressed controversial issues involving race, gender, and sexual orientation, sparking negative feedback from reviewers.
Chappelle’s comments: Dave Chappelle recently released his latest Netflix special and faced immediate backlash for what his critics characterized as insensitive and inappropriate comments concerning race, gender, and sexual orientation.
During the stand-up routine, Chappelle defended J.K. Rowling for past controversial comments she made concerning the concept of sex.
“If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” Rowling wrote in June of 2020. “I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.”
Chappelle summed up Rowling’s argument as meaning, “Gender is a fact,” and agreed with her assessment.
“I agree, I agree, man,” Chappelle said. “Gender is a fact.”
“Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth,” he continued. “That is a fact.”
“Now, I am not saying that to say that trans women aren’t women,” he noted, approaching his punchline. “I’m not saying it’s not p****, but that’s like beyond p****, or impossible p****. It tastes like p****, but that’s not quite what it is, is it?”
Chappelle concluded the show by asking that the trans community stop “punching down” on his community, pointing to recent movements against black entertainers, such as DaBaby and Kevin Hart, for their politically incorrect statements regarding the LGBTQ+ community.
Reviewers’ Responses: Many media outlets, including Vulture and NPR, skewered Chappelle for crossing the line and unnecessarily affixing his attention on the trans community.
“Too often in The Closer, it just sounds like Chappelle is using white privilege to excuse his own homophobia and transphobia,” wrote NPR’s Eric Deggans.
“The fact is, these are all complicated topics, tough to encapsulate in a single punchline or anecdote,” Deggans observed. “And watching Chappelle talk about them is like watching somebody use a chain saw as a letter opener.”
Vulture writer Craig Jenkins pointed out in his review that Chappelle occasionally “trangress[es] toward profundity,” but his comments about the trans and gay communities are growing old.
“If you only wanted to get through one of these without a long, crabby detour on gay people and gender identity, Closer’s designed to work your nerves,” Jenkins wrote.
Kathryn VanArendonk, another Vulture writer, reiterated Jenkins’ sentiment, posting on twitter: “everything else aside – and it’s hard to set aside – I just have to believe by this point that even the most devoted chappelle audience would love to hear material on something other than his obsession with trans bodies.”
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