Comedian Dave Chappelle is getting support from an unlikely source: a transgender comedian.
Flame Monroe, a Chicago-based comedian that recently appeared on the Netflix comedy series Tiffany Haddish’s They Ready, appeared on CNN to talk about the issue of Chappelle’s incendiary comments about the trans community.
“It made me scream out loud laughing,’ she said. “Because I’m a comedian, I’m a human, and I know who Dave Chappelle is and what Dave Chappelle is. He’s a comedian.”
Monroe said some of the comic’s comments made her gasp, but that “when it’s the truth, and it’s funny, it’s just humor. It’s laughter, we keep missing that. We have to be able to take, as grown people, and stop being so sensitized in this world. It’s only a joke. Nobody lost their lives.”
The idea of losing lives is at the crux of the Chappelle issue, with many saying his comments perpetuate violence against trans people.
In his Netflix special The Closer, Chappelle compared trans women’s genitals to plant-based meat alternatives. He also said he was “team TERF,” or trans exclusionary radical feminists, a group that denies the identity of trans women as women.
Monroe said trans comics mostly joke about the trans experience, and that it’s unfair to get upset when other people do it.
“As a trans person and a comedian, we mostly crack jokes about who we are and how we identify in my experience, and I’m only speaking for me,” she said. “You can’t ask for inclusion 24/7 and then conveniently want to be excluded because some truths are being told in a comedic fashion about your community.”
Chappelle’s comments in the special caused a walkout at Netflix recently. Protestors chanted “trans lives matter” and shared a list of demands for the streaming giant.
Jill Soloway, the creator of the Transparent, a drama about a patriarch deciding to transition late in life, attended the protest and said that Chappelle’s choice to broadcast “his outrage … is infinitely amplified gender violence.”
“I want trans representation on the Netflix board, this (expletive) week,” Soloway said.
It’s also worth noting that many other trans comedians have slammed Chappelle over the latest special. Currently, The Closer is still available to view on Netflix.