Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Chappelle’s comedy sparks protest

By Carly Newton

Comedy has changed considerably in recent years, for both better and for worse. As the world moves toward political correctness, comedy has followed right along with it — with the exception of comedian Dave Chappelle.

Chappelle, who has been a comedian for several decades now, has made a living off of offending as many people as possible. To appreciate his style of comedy, people have to be willing to laugh at themselves sometimes, which nowadays, people do not want to do.

But, throughout his entire career, Chappelle is consistently testing the boundaries of how much he can get away with in the name of comedy. Which leaves many people wondering, where should the line be drawn? 

Well, some people would argue the line should be drawn at his new Netflix special.

Chappelle’s latest controversy surrounds his stand-up special “The Closer,” that premiered Oct. 5.

In “The Closer,” Chappelle does not hold back with his offensive jokes. This time, he set his target on the transgender community, and he was swiftly met with deserved backlash from many people who felt he took it too far.

At one point, Chappelle declared himself a member of “team TERF,” which stands for trans-exlusionary radical feminists. Members of team TERF do not believe that trans women are actual women.

It sounds more like Dave Chappelle is hiding his hate for the transgender community by passing off his remarks as comedy. Since this is not the first time he has targeted the transgender community, it probably won’t be the last. It seems like he is trying harder to be controversial than he is trying to be funny at this point.

After the release of the special, hundreds of Netflix employees staged a walk-out Oct. 20 to protest Chappelle and his transphobic comments, due to the potential violence his jokes could incite against the marginalized community.

Despite this, Netflix still allowed “The Closer” to air on its platform. After facing much criticism, Netflix still did not see anything wrong with the special.

“Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in an internal memo acquired by Vanity. 

“Some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do,” Sarandos wrote. “Chapelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him. His last special Sticks & Stones, also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award winning stand-up special to date.”

Netflix seems to be supporting Chappelle and sticking by him for the money. It’s sad to see, but it’s not a surprise.

This is why comedy has changed so much in recent years. Comedians should be able to joke about what they want, but they also have to realize that their jokes could potentially harm entire groups of people. 

Dave Chappelle is a good comedian, but he can become even better if he doesn’t have to put others down to make people laugh.


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