The clash on October 20 resulted in a walkout and demonstration against the company, which has now involved Netflix itself. This conflict, highlighted by Dave Chappelle’s controversial Netflix comedy special, The Closer, sheds light on his contentious stance against transgender individuals as the situation unfolds.
Daphne, the trans comedian friend of Dave Chappelle who was mentioned in his previous special “Sticks and Stones,” makes a joke where the punchline blatantly misgenders her. Now, I’m telling you a joke that I would love to hear, as Chappelle says.
I have been stuck with this line as Dorman’s use of Chappelle’s totem, like a type of relationship, has confused and told both the comedy and pain of nature because it says what it says about Dorman and Chappelle. I have attempted to grapple with the aims of Chappelle’s Comedy.
Yes: this is what we would have to deal with, people who said that trans people could cause real-world harm just by being on the platform. After recanting that statement, Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, said in his defense that he didn’t believe Closer could cause any real-world harm. However, both Netflix and Chappelle have faced outrage for amplifying overtly anti-scientific and transphobic views about trans identity.
Should trans people be expected to overcome it? So maybe the genuine question is.
Chappelle aims to transform categories of oppression into a situation where one person’s gain is another person’s loss. However, individual identity does not function in such a manner.
Throughout The Closer, Chappelle disregards Black transgender individuals and portrays whiteness as the preferred shield that most gay and transgender individuals rely on. His analysis lacks subtlety: Chappelle comes close to criticizing social justice movements that primarily prioritize helping white individuals. “Gay people are considered minorities until they want to be white again,” he remarks at one point. Chappelle argues, often shrewdly but with evident hypocrisy, that numerous queer and trans people benefit from white privilege, which ultimately results in them being more sheltered and protected than Chappelle and other Black men in America.
Chappelle frequently brings up conversations about nonbinary and trans identities, particularly focusing on the bodily functions and anatomy, as well as linguistic arguments surrounding pronouns. However, he rarely acknowledges the concerns of genderqueer and queer individuals, instead framing these communities as primarily consisting of people of color. In contrast, he treats the movement for gender and sexual equality as essentially window-dressing, but fails to address the serious problems of oppression, violence against Black individuals, and Black concerns. Chappelle repeatedly attempts to redirect the conversation back to these issues.
She didn’t explicitly say anything about pronouns or make him feel like saying something wrong to cause trouble. Then, he points out that he accepted her because he believed that she understands that he doesn’t need her to tell him “you need to understand me.” Dorman recalls Chappelle praising her good-natured attitude and her skills as a comedian, highlighting the crucial difference that Chappelle makes for Daphne, his friend, using her as his closest lodestar when it comes to accepting trans identity in fact, in the semantic argument.
Thinking about these things is hard. It seems to require a degree of patience for those who are still working out the basic issues surrounding complicated identity vectors — including all the recent comedic material of Chappelle’s politics reactionary and the “canceling” conversation it engenders. It can be especially problematic when they are told they’re wrong or yelled at, especially when they’re trying to get clarity on complex situations. Many people who are frustrated by the perceived policing of free speech and language, as well as the cancel culture, feel this anxiety. Chappelle’s level of anxiety is deeply relatable here.
Chappelle diminishes her humanity and diminishes other individuals who identify as transgender by consistently reducing Dorman’s identity to solely her physical attributes and her connection to them, along with the vocabulary used to describe them. Additionally, Chappelle explicitly expresses his requirement for Dorman to conform to his expectations, disregarding her own autonomy as a transgender woman. Instead, he expects her to demonstrate her entitlement to autonomy through possessing a relaxed and easygoing sense of humor.
Among the most vulnerable populations in society are transgender individuals, who face a significantly high risk of experiencing transphobic violence or being at a heightened risk of suicide. Unfortunately, in 2019, shortly after the release of Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones, Dorman, who was a transgender person, tragically died by suicide.
When critics discuss the real-world impact of Chappelle’s transphobia, they mean the dangerous rhetoric that directly impacts the levels of societal prejudice and anti-trans violence that have already been shown. It’s not just semantics or reactionary comedy; insisting that gender is always tied to biology goes against the science of gender.
Chappelle regards Dorman as a comedian primarily and a trans woman secondarily, which is his approach when he excludes this truth from the equation.
Chappelle appears to believe that all transgender individuals should adopt the mindset of comedians such as Dorman.
She was a comedian at heart. She wasn’t part of their tribe, but she belonged to the trans community. Dorman even claims his own “tribe” for himself, according to Closer. Chappelle views comedians as their own “tribe”.
Embrace the ability to take a joke, always always embrace the most difficult comedians, perhaps the rule is that the chief is one. Comedy is a subculture with its own very particular set of mores and rules. He’s talking about comedy as a worldview, not just talking about Chappelle’s comedy as a medium.
The problem is not the joke-maker, that is your problem. If you are uncomfortable with a joke, you cannot handle it and there may be backlash. Comedians should be able to make jokes without thinking about whether it will make the audience uncomfortable or laugh. The recent conversation about free speech and comedy has focused on the idea that comedians should be able to discomfit their audiences. In 2012, there was a notorious moment when a comedian was heckled by a woman in the audience for making a joke about rape. The logic goes that if the comedian is less sensitive, the audience should also be less sensitive. In the past, this principle has led to comedians privileging their right to make offensive, even disturbing and rude jokes.
When we are confronted with transphobia, Dave Chappelle wants us all to know that the appropriate response should not be pain or hurt, but rather a good-humored deflection of anger. Chappelle recalls a moment during one of Dorman’s shows when a member of the audience interrupted with a transphobic question, and Dorman skillfully shot back by making an even better joke about her own anatomy.
A guy who just wants to be allowed to make transphobic jokes without getting canceled.Output: a man who simply desires the freedom to tell transphobic jokes without facing consequences.
Examples using Hart and DaBaby as his representatives, from the LGBTQIA community to the larger society, Chappelle talks about the concept of “punching down” in his show The Closer. This concept highlights the potential harm of immediately alienating an audience if you fail to make a deeper point. Generally, it is considered a huge thing to avoid punching down, which refers to using the power of comedy to critique institutions and people who hold much power in society. Instead, comedy should target vulnerable groups and refrain from crossing the line. In the world of comedy, there is always another rule that holds dear: if you can take a joke, you should always be able to take it more. So, what’s more important is the ability to understand and appreciate the joke.
As Dorman indicates, Chappelle also cites himself as not targeting any specific social group, considering himself to possess white advantage, and holding the belief that all individuals who identify as queer or trans possess it as well. Committed to making jokes that are homophobic and transphobic, he justifies his act by emphasizing the significance of addressing the suffering experienced by Black communities rather than that of the trans communities, as if completely unrelated. This notion, supported by white fragility, implies that trans individuals are excessively delicate, and Chappelle’s main argument appears to consistently revolve around this concept.
Chappelle’s Show, a legendary comedy hit in 2005, completely killed his own comedy show because he might be reinforcing racist stereotypes instead of critiquing them, which made audiences, mainly white, unironically enjoy the racist joke. As a comedian who frequently uses humor to make points about social and racial justice, Chappelle should better know that his comedy in the real world has hyper-aware impacts. But, all people should realize that he made one joke that made him realize he was rather critiquing racist comedy than enjoying it.
“In his new special, Chappelle starts by applauding a transphobic law that could be used in the wrong way to hurt transgender people. He then gently reprimands an audience member who begins to applaud, and tries to stop the echo of the 2005 moment when people laughed at his jokes about trans individuals. Chappelle should at least know that there is a possibility that his jokes could be taken in the wrong way and hurt transgender people.”
People who are transgender are not confronted with gender policing in every moment of their lives, although they may be confronted with transphobia when they are on stage. It is a learning experience for them to be confronted with it, but it is also transphobic and hurtful. Dave Chappelle knows that the joke he tells is transphobic and hurtful, but he follows it up with the defense that it’s hard for trans people to hear a joke. He suggests that it is good for trans people to be hurt, which implies that being hurt is a privilege for them. However, Chappelle’s comedy does not justify using his white privilege, and he should acknowledge the potential harm and the possibility of further harm.
Can Chappelle and individuals who are transgender “[begin] delving into the core of matters,” as expressed by Chappelle, solely at that point. They have the potential to be listened to, embraced, and cherished — under the conditions set by the individual employing transphobic behavior towards them — once trans individuals have demonstrated their ability to have a lighthearted attitude towards the ongoing objectification and disrespectful disregard of transgender identity concerns experienced by others.
This is not about accepting and embracing trans people, but rather about recognizing the daily experiences of fear that Black Americans face. Dave Chappelle, a man who speaks viscerally about this fear, should be credited with his good humor and love. It is important to never dehumanize trans people or use rhetoric that perpetuates their marginalization. Chappelle, who has dedicated his entire comedy career to using humor to shed light on racism and injustice, is not advocating for equality with his sharp and trenchant commentary.