As another Dave Chappelle Netflix special brings another round of calls for the comedian to be canceled, it also gave him another opportunity to make it clear that he still doesn’t care.
With jokes from his latest offering, The Closer, leaving some in the LGBTQ community calling for Netflix to cut ties with Chappelle, he addressed the issue at the Hollywood Bowl Thursday in front of a cheering crowd that included Brad Pitt, Tiffany Haddish, and Donnell Rawlings.
“If this is what being canceled is like, I love it,” Chappelle said to a standing ovation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The world’s richest non-movie-star comedian later told the audience, “Fuck Twitter. Fuck NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid-ass networks. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life.”
Twitter has been the platform of choice for many of Chappelle’s detractors, who object to lines in The Closer such as, “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.”
GLAAD tweeted, “Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”
Another quip deemed unfit for streaming was, “I don’t hate gay people, I respect the shit out of you—not all of you. I’m not that fond of these newer gays—too sensitive, too brittle. I miss the old-school gays … the Stonewall gays. They didn’t take shit from anybody.”
When one Twitter user defended Chappelle, TV writer-producer-actress Franchesca Ramsey responded, “‘Hey this is harmful’ isn’t an attempt at ‘cancellation’ nor is it possible to ‘cancel’ a very wealthy & famous man for spreading transphobic bullshit in the name of ‘comedy.’”
Chappelle’s celebrity fans, meanwhile, weren’t only in the audience. After a set from opener Jeff Ross and a screening of Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary, Snoop Dogg, Nas, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Stevie Wonder, Lizzo, and Jon Hamm—star of two of the four 30 Rock episodes Tina Fey self-canceled due to blackface—all took turns joining him onstage.
Other Chappelle Netflix specials that have led offended parties to voice their displeasure include 2019’s Sticks and Stones, because he joked about alleged child molester Michael Jackson and now-convicted sex trafficker R. Kelly, as well as his pair of 2018 specials, Equanimity and The Bird Revolution, in which he addressed controversies springing from trans bits in his two previous specials.
Although cell phones were banned from Thursday’s Hollywood Bowl show, THR reports that a video someone snuck out of the performance captures Wonder telling the audience, “What we need to cancel is hate. What we need to cancel is fear because we have to have love, and we should never cancel that. I want us to cancel the idea of feeling that we don’t want anyone to laugh because if we don’t laugh, we cry. And I don’t believe that was God’s intention—ever.”
In closing, Chappelle said, “Thank god I’m canceled because fuck this shit anyway. I bet you I’ll be someone better than you think.”
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