Dave Chappelle‘s new special “The Closer” has been a hot topic since it premiered Tuesday, Oct 5, on Netflix.
The comedian used his Netflix special to address backlash he received from the LGBTQ+ community about his jokes specifically relating to the transgendered community. Since the special’s release, many organizations like GLAAD and The National Black Justice Coalition have accused him of “perpetuating transphobia” and are calling for viewers to skip the special.
However, he has garnered support from many people including legendary singer Stevie Wonder.
The special began with Chappelle speaking on DaBaby‘s controversial and now infamous remarks that were made at this year’s Rolling Loud Festival as a jump-off to issue a response to the mounting criticism he’s received from his catalog of specials with Netflix.
“DaBaby was the number-one streaming artist until about a couple weeks ago. He took a nasty spill onstage and said some wild stuff about the LBGTQ community during a concert in Florida. Now, you know I go hard in the paint, but even I saw that shit and was like, ‘G-dd–n, DaBaby,’ ” Chappelle said.
Chappelle then called into question the disparity of public outrage over the rapper’s comments in comparison to his 2018 Wal-Mart altercation that ended with DaBaby shooting and killing a 19-year-old young man in Huntersville, N.C.
Charges against the rapper were subsequently dropped, and DaBaby publicly maintained that the shooting was a result of self-defense, which was backed up by security camera footage.
“A lot of the LGBTQ community doesn’t know DaBaby’s history. He’s a wild guy. He once shot a n—a and killed him in Walmart,” Chappelle said.
“Oh, this is true, Google it….Nothing bad happened to his career. Do you see where I’m going with this? In our country, you can shoot and kill a n—a, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.”
Chapelle discussed the LGBTQ+ community multiple times throughout the special in an attempt to address the transgender community’s continual accusations that he was “punching down on them” during his many stand-ups, including in two of his Netflix specials, “Sticks & Stones” and “Equanimity.”
“Whenever someone says that to me, I know they’ve never seen me for themselves,” he said referencing the “punching down” term.
“They just repeat what they’ve heard. Any of you who ever watched me know, that I’ve never had a problem with transgender people. If you listen to what I’m saying, clearly my problem has always been with white people…”
Chappelle made a promise to the LGBTQ+ community with a request of his own, “I am not telling another joke about you until we are both sure that we are laughing together. I’m telling you, this is done. I’m done talking about it. All I ask from your community, with all humility, will you please stop punching down on my people?”
Following the special, many people threw their support behind Chappelle.
“He literally said he doesn’t have a problem with…nevermind y’all just proving his point.”
“Stop, the majority of comedians who are in this caliber have used all kinds of topics that can strike a cord. Stop being over offended.”
“Dave is just starting a convo that should be talked about. TRUST, he planned this out!”
“I stand with @davechappelle and @dababy! Stop trying to cancel your own community.”
During Dave Chappelle’s live show, Stevie Wonder gave his thoughts on cancel culture and jokes he’s received about his blindness.
“I want us to cancel the idea of feeling that we don’t want anyone to laugh because if we don’t laugh, we cry and I don’t believe that was God’s intention, ever.”
He continued, “…Most of my life, before I was little Stevie and even when I was little Stevie Wonder and even sometimes now, I hear comedians tell jokes about my blindness. But you know what, I never felt that I needed them to cancel their jokes about my life because, you know what, God has blessed me far and beyond and I love the skin I’m in,” he said.
“The Closer” is Chappelle’s sixth and final Netflix special created under his 2016 $20 million-per-release deal with the streaming service.