In the not-so-distant past, comedians made careers out of mocking the most sacred topics in society. Religion, politics, men, women, kids, sex, stereotypes; comedy poked fun at everything humans hold dear, with many stand-up routines employing honesty to address the uncomfortable. Being offensive was always the point.
That was before trans-identifying people became an untouchable class. Thanks to some jokes at their expense, one of comedy’s most respected professionals has become a target for the woke mob. Dave Chappelle isn’t hateful or bigoted. He certainly isn’t conservative. But by the standards of leftists, the “Half Baked” star has committed the ultimate sin.
Compared to some diatribes against the trans agenda, Chappelle’s jokes about that group are downright tame. But that doesn’t matter to activists. The fact that Chappelle has a platform to potentially “spread hate” means that the 48-year-old comedian must be ostracized.
How did we get to this point?
Chappelle’s history of humor on trans topics goes back to 2017. That’s when he first gained attention for joking about then-President Trump banning trans people from the military and questioning why everyone was so in love with Caitlyn Jenner.
“Sounds like a secret weapon to me,” the comedian quipped during his set at Radio City Music Hall at the time. “If I was in ISIS in the trenches fighting against the United States and all of the sudden I see a man with a beard and big D-cups titties just rushing my foxhole and s***, I’d be horrified.”
As for Jenner, Chappelle claimed a large part of everyone’s attention and acceptance was due to the reality star’s skin color.
“The only reason all of us are talking about transgenders is because white men want to do it. If it was just blacks and Mexican like, ‘Hey, y’all, we feel like girls inside.’ They’d be like, ‘Shut up, n*****, no one asked how you felt,’’” he said.
The saga came to a head in October 2021 with the release of Chappelle’s Netflix special, “The Closer.” In it, the Emmy Award winning comedian made a couple of jokes about trans people that would inspire an all out war.
“They canceled J.K. Rowling – my God. Effectually she said gender was fact, the trans community got mad as s***, they started calling her a TERF [trans-exclusionary radical feminist] … I’m Team TERF.”
“Gender is a fact,” Chappelle says in the special. “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. Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those p*****s that they got … you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not p****, but it’s Beyond P**** or Impossible P****.”
“Any of you who have ever watched me know that I have 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 jokes later.
These jokes prompted a protest from Netflix employees, demanding that the streaming giant remove “The Closer” from the platform. But unlike so many other CEOs who have bowed to activist pressure lately, Netflix head Ted Sarandos doubled down on the network’s defense of Chappelle and his right to free speech.
“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,” Sarandos wrote in a letter to managers in mid-October.
“I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
“We know that a number of you have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle’s latest special on Netflix,” the email continued. “With ‘The Closer,’ we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real-world harm…While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”
Chappelle responded to the controversy by offering to meet with the activists and swearing he harbors no hate for the group. He was just making jokes.
In May, Chappelle got attacked on stage while performing a stand-up routine for the “Netflix Is a Joke” festival. The attacker brandished a replica handgun containing a retractable knife blade. He was later identified as Isaiah Lee, 23, of Los Angeles.
Lee told The Post in late May that he thinks Chappelle should be more “sensitive” about the content of his jokes. “I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Lee said. “I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”
“It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke,” Lee continued.
Luckily, Chappelle wasn’t harmed and even made light of the situation. “I am going to kill that n*****,” the comedian said. “It was a trans man,” he quipped, which led to laughter and applause from the audience.
In July 2022, the comedian’s show at the iconic Minnesota music venue First Avenue caved to backlash from protestors. They canceled Chappelle‘s show hours before it was scheduled to start, The Daily Wire reported.
“The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission,” a statement from the venue said in part.
“We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have,” the theater added. “We know there are some who will not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback.”
Chappelle responded to the cancellation by telling jokes, of course. The comedian addressed protesters outside the show, “swearing through bullhorns and picking fights with fans” and is said to refer to the crowd as “a small group of transgender lunatics.” He claimed the be able to “see a transgender hit squad coming from a mile away.”
Most recently, Chappelle delighted fans by showing up unexpectedly to perform the opening act for Chris Rock and Kevin Hart as part of their “Only Headliners Allowed” tour stop at Madison Square Garden.
“Had to sneak my way in here,” Chappelle reportedly joked upon arrival. “Despite what you may have read about in the news, I’m OK, and I appreciate the support,” he said.
Activists are furious, fans are nonchalant, and Chappelle’s coworkers have voiced their support all along. In response to the comedian’s surprise MSG appearance, Hart couldn’t have been happier.
“Last night was by far the best moment of my career,” he tweeted after the show. “I can’t even explain it … I can’t find the words … Just know that last night was the true definition of a ‘EPIC NIGHT’ … I love my brothers more than words can explain. We made history last night!!! #RockHartChappelle”
There’s no chance that trans activists will stop trying to cancel Chappelle. What they may not realize is the more they try, the more material they’re providing for one of the funniest men in Hollywood.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.