While Dave Chappelle has always sought to push the boundaries when it comes to his genre of comedy, he has recently faced serious backlash for much of his material. The comic was specifically punished for jokes made at the expense of the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender people. As a result, many decided to protest against many of his recent shows. Chappelle himself knows about the reaction to his feelings and now openly talks about what specifically bothers him about people’s decision to make fun of his work.
The 49-year-old comedian recently spoke about a situation that happened last summer when he was hosting a show at the University Theater in Minneapolis. The postponed event was met with a negative reaction, as protesters surrounded the venue. Chappelle also recalled during an episode of his podcast The Midnight Miracle(opens in new tab) (via DailyMail.com ) that some people threw eggs at those who were standing in line for the show, and said that one person threw a police barricade. into the crowd. The comedian recalled that in the end the performance was not canceled and that when he came on stage, he was applauded because “suddenly going to a comedy show was a huge act of defiance.”
The man who created the “Chappelle Show” many years ago said he didn’t believe any of the protesters acted with “malicious intentions” and also said he doesn’t “get angry” when people criticize his work. However, he argues that he should be allowed to continue sharing his thoughts, despite the fact that many disagree with them.:
I’m not even angry that they disagree with my work. Good, good. What’s the difference? What I disagree with is the idea that because they don’t like it, I’m not allowed to say it. …Art is a subtle effort. I have a belief that they are trying to remove nuances from speech in American culture, that they are forcing people to speak as if they were either right or left. Everything seems absolute, and any opinion I respect is much more subtle than these binary choices they constantly put in front of us. I don’t see the world red or blue.
The star also doubted that the public is trying to “silence” an artist like himself, and said that, in his opinion, such methods have nothing to do with “love”. Instead, he claims it’s all about fear:
They want to be feared. “If you say that, we will punish you.” We’ll come to First Avenue and fuck your performance, we’ll come to the Varsity Theatre and fuck your performance.” And they just can’t do it.
These arguments are part of a broader discussion about the right of a person (or, more precisely, an artist) to freedom of speech. Like him, a number of stars also claim that there is no place for nuances in modern society anymore. However, some may object to this argument, saying that a person’s right to say something does not necessarily protect him from criticism. This is a difficult conversation that is likely to persist for the foreseeable future.
One of the most significant cases when Dave Chappelle really aroused the ire of LGBTQ+ activists was the release in 2021 of one of his Netflix specials, The Closer. After that, many called on the streamer to stop production, claiming that the content could be regarded as hate speech. However, the company’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos confirmed that he would not do so, as he argued that the special did not cross that line and that “artistic freedom is obviously a completely different standard of speech.” The decision was also made public in a criticized internal email that was leaked, resulting in Sarandos apologizing for how the situation was resolved.
Since then, Dave Chappelle has faced opposition in other ways: a man even attacked him on stage during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in May 2022. Explaining why he attacked Chappelle, this man, who has been charged with several offenses, explained that he identifies as bisexual and claimed that the words of the comic “affected” him. Recently, Chappelle has not changed his position on the topics discussed, and his recent comments indicate that he intends to remain firm. But on the other side of this equation, it is highly likely that the protesters will continue to object to his work.