Critics have been calling on Netflix to cancel Dave Chappelle’s new special titled The Closer. However, the Hollywood actor/comedian’s show currently has a 96 percent audience score at Rotten Tomatoes, making it somewhat doubtful that the cancel mob will get their way this time.
Chappelle has been fighting an ongoing war with the LGBTQ community for more than a decade. He calls them “the Alphabet people” because they have laid claim to twenty percent of the alphabet with the acronym for their movement. He says, “I’ve got friends who are ‘L’s, I’ve got friends who are ‘B’s, and I’ve got friends who are ‘G’s, but the ‘T’s hate my (expletive-deleted) guts. And I don’t blame them. It’s not their fault. It’s mine. I can’t stop telling jokes about these people.” Minutes later he adds, “I feel bad for ‘T’s, but they’re so confusing. And it’s not all my fault. I feel like they need to take some responsibility for my jokes, because I didn’t come up with the idea that a person can be born in the wrong body on my own, and they have to admit this is a (expletive-deleted) hilarious predicament…what if I was Chinese, but born in this (n-word) body? That’s not funny?”
In one of his specials Chappelle tells the story of writing a sketch fifteen years earlier for his television show, in which he used the word faggot to refer to a gay person, even though the vulgar expletive is in the dictionary. Soon thereafter, Dave received a call from a woman named Renee in the network’s Standards and Practices department. They had a meeting and she told him his sketches were great, but said he’d used a verboten word in reference to the gay community and told him it needed to come out of the sketch. Chappelle says he agreed, but then it occurred to him to ask why he could use the (n-word) with complete impunity but couldn’t use the word faggot to refer to a gay person.
She said, “Because David, you aren’t gay.”
Chappelle replied, “Well, Renee, I’m not a (n-word), either.”
Chappelle has come under fire from the transgender community again, this time for siding with Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling after she had the audacity to tweet, “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with whatever consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill”.
The “Maya” in question refers to Maya Forstater, a tax expert working at the Centre for Global Development whose contract was not renewed after she posted controversial comments such as “men cannot change into women” and “it is unfair and unsafe for trans women to compete in women’s sport.”
Transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox won not one but two fights against female opponents by fracturing the (biological) woman’s skull. Ms. Forstater makes a valid point. Or, as Chappelle jokes, LeBron James could claim to be a transgender woman and play in the WNBA, where he would score on average around 800 points per game.
That’s only a slight exaggeration.
Rowling was viciously attacked by transgender activists, who labeled her a “TERF.” The word TERF is an acronym that stands for “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” The term refers to feminists who don’t believe men can become women simply by wanting to be a woman, and vice versa. It should not come as a surprise to know that people born without ovaries and a uterus are not biological women. Giving birth is not a job done better by females; it is a job reserved exclusively for women. There might be a small but vocal group of people who believe men can become women and women can become men through a combination of surgery, drugs, and therapy, but the reality is that only biological men are born with a “Y” chromosome, and only biological women can give birth to children.
In his 2019 special Sticks and Stones, Dave tells a story about meeting a transgender fan named Daphne Dorman, an aspiring comedian who once asked him, “(Critics) say you normalize R. Kelly by telling jokes about him. I wonder why they never said you normalize transgenders by telling jokes about us?”
Chappelle expanded on his relationship with Daphne in The Closer. He talked about hiring her as his opening act when he played San Francisco, and how terrible her act was. He also talked about how she defended him against the online transgender mob after Sticks and Stones for as long as she could before snapping. Daphne later committed suicide by jumping off a roof.
Critics accused Dave of using Daphne’s death as cover and an excuse to make more transgender jokes. NPR critic Eric Deggans ludicrously claimed Chappelle was using white privilege to excuse his homophobia and transphobia by telling a story about giving a transgender woman a job.
White transgender activist Jocelyn Moore, former show runner for the Netflix series Dear White People, declared she would never work for the network again while Chappelle’s show was on the air, but in the process left herself and the show open to charges of hypocrisy, given the fact her own show is focused on addressing racial tensions at a fictitious ivy league college through quite the progressive lens – white liberals exploiting black people for financial gain.
Dorman’s family rushed to Chappelle’s defense, saying he was an LGBTQ ally and mourning their sister in the way he knew best, through his comedy, but the cancel mob was still coming for him. GLAAD released a statement saying, “Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” but I have news for GLAAD – Dave Chappelle makes fun of everybody. He’s not playing favorites. The National Black Justice Coalition also called for the show to be pulled from the streaming service, but nobody cared.
The most controversial thing Chappelle said in The Closer was, “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. That is a fact.”
Chappelle’s premiere of The Closer opened at the Hollywood Bowl before a sold-out audience, where he mocked critics by saying, “If this is what being cancelled is about, I love it. I don’t know what to tell you except I’m a bad mother-f***er.” In a more serious moment he said, “Do something nice for someone who looks nothing like you. We have to trust one another.”
Words of wisdom, indeed. After the show, the crowd gave Chappelle a standing ovation.
John Leonard is a freelance writer and author of several detective novels including Coastal Empire and Hunter’s Omen, both recently re-edited and re-released. He may be contacted via his website at southernprose.com.
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