Dave Chappelle’s latest special, The Closer, has earned him as many fans as it has enemies. The National Black Justice Coalition urged Netflix to remove it from the platform the show has still maintained a surprisingly high rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
But now it seems that fellow comedians with particular experience with transgender issues are coming out to break down just why his jokes were harmful. Several trans comedians have been sharing threads on Twitter including Hollis Black. They made a post where they shared many of their thoughts on The Closer and Chappelle.
“Every year or two one of the most famous and acclaimed comics does a special where he gets applause for saying things that make me want to die and never express who I am, and then all the people in the comedy world get into a fight about it in which one half decides that jokes are more important than safety.
I’m not thin skinned, make a joke at my expense and I usually laugh, I LIKE being roasted. But this was something else, this was a room of people laughing at the very concept of my identity.”
Another trans comedian, Robin Trans, brought up Daphne Dorman — the trans comedian Chappelle claimed he tested his jokes on before her suicide in 2019.
“A lot’s been said about how he used her as a shield, his ‘trans best friend’ and that should be pointed out. But what I find even grosser was that he used her death to take a swipe at cancel culture. Now his fans think that other trans people bullied her into suicide. Disgusting.”
“I hate even bringing Daphne up. I have friends who actually knew her. She was a real person. I saw what was happening to her on Facebook after she opened for Chappelle. A lot of HIS fans attacked her. She was also going through a LOT. There were so many factors.
To presume that this thing you’re obsessed with (cancel culture) killed her & making that the focal point of your story is absolutely sociopathic behaviour. And I’ve also heard that they were not close friends. I’m inclined to believe that. I’d never use a friend’s death this way.”
As Dave Chappelle saying he’s been canceled feels hollow while trans employees are suspended at Netflix after speaking out, it will be interesting to see if more comedians, trans or not, speak out against content in The Closer.