Dave Chappelle gets standing ovation amid backlash over trans jokes: 'If this is what being canceled is like, I love it'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Dave Chappelle is cool with being "canceled."

The comedian has been under fire for remarks made about the LGBTQ community in his new Netflix special, The Closer, but you wouldn't know that by the standing ovation he received at his sold-out show on Thursday at the Hollywood Bowl. The event was a screening of his documentary, Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary Film, about the socially distant comedy shows he did in Ohio early in the pandemic, and included a live performance with some friends, including Snoop Dogg, Lizzo, Stevie Wonder and Jon Hamm.

“If this is what being canceled is about, I love it,” Chappelle told the star-studded crowd, which included a masked-up Brad Pitt and Tiffany Haddish.

Comedian Dave Chappelle arrives at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Dave Chappelle is mocking cancel culture amid controversy over his Netflix special. (Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

The Hollywood Reporter noted he did not repeat the jokes that drew harsh criticism, including from GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition. However, he did blast Twitter and media outlets for so-called cancel culture.

"F**k Twitter. F**k NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid ass networks," he said. "I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life.”

And his take shouldn't surprise anyone, he said. "I don’t know what to tell you, except I’m a bad motherf**ker.”

While there was a phone ban during the show, Wonder also touched on comedy and cancel culture.

“What we need to cancel is hate," said the singer. " 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.”

But on the same day he was called out for transphobia, Chappelle called for a "kindness conspiracy," and encouraged the 18,000 people in the crowd: "Do something nice for someone who looks nothing like you. We have to trust one another.”

Since Chappelle's new special dropped on Tuesday, he has been under fire for using transgender people as punchlines. He ranted, "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." He made fun of the genitalia of trans women and defended J.K. Rowling, who has faced her own allegations of transphobia. He also declared his support of women called TERFs, or "trans-exclusionary radical feminists."

GLAAD said in a statement that the comic's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities." Dear White People showrunner Jaclyn Moore, who is trans, called for a boycott of Netflix.

This is not new terrain for Chappelle, who has been accused of transphobia and homophobia before. In previous specials, he's targeted the community, singling out Caitlyn Jenner and mocking pronouns. It hasn't been limited to his specials, either.

Netflix had no comment when reached by Yahoo Entertainment.

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