Comedian Dave Chappelle has never been one to shy away from controversy, and his new Netflix special, “The Dreamer,” is no exception.
Despite facing backlash for his jokes about gender identity in his previous stand-up show, Chappelle decided to double down on his opinions about the transgender community in his latest offering.
In one story that has gone viral on social media, Chappelle recounts a visit to the set of Jim Carrey’s 1999 movie, “The Man on the Moon.” Carrey, known for his method acting approach, insisted on remaining in character as real-life comedian Andy Kaufman.
The crew instructed Chappelle to address Carrey as “Andy” during their meeting. Reflecting on the experience, Chappelle humorously quipped, “I could look at him and I could see he was Jim Carrey. Anyway, I say all that to say that’s how trans people make me feel.”
Chappelle’s candid remarks quickly made waves on social media, earning him praise from conservative commentators and scorn from the left. While some applauded his unfiltered honesty, others criticized him for perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
The comedian, however, seemed unfazed by the controversy, joking that he would only mention trans people “three or four times” in the special because it “wasn’t worth the trouble.”
But Chappelle didn’t stop there. He went on to mock “handicapped” individuals, claiming that he preferred targeting them because “they’re not as organized as the gays, and I love punching down.”
He even shared his plans to identify as a woman if he ever found himself behind bars, just so he could be placed in a women’s prison. It’s safe to say that Chappelle’s brand of humor is not for the faint of heart.
Despite the backlash, Chappelle insisted that he was actually trying to mend his relationship with the transgender community. He revealed that he was writing a play about a Black transgender woman whose pronoun is, unfortunately, a racial slur.
In his signature sarcastic style, Chappelle joked that the play would be a tear-jerker, with the protagonist dying of loneliness because “White liberals don’t know how to speak to her.”
While some entertainment outlets criticized Chappelle’s Netflix special for its heavy focus on gender identity jokes, others defended his right to free speech.
Variety suggested that it might be time for Chappelle to explore new material, while Rolling Stone accused him of being obsessed with trans people. Journalist Sean L. McCarthy, writing for The Daily Beast, expressed frustration with Chappelle and other comedians who dedicate so much of their time to mocking the LGBTQ+ community.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time Chappelle has faced backlash for his jokes about transgender individuals.
In his previous Netflix special, “The Closer,” he ignited a firestorm of controversy that led to calls for Netflix to drop the program and a walkout by some of the company’s employees. Chappelle, however, remained defiant, refusing to bend to anyone’s demands.
Despite the controversy, Chappelle claimed that the LGBTQ+ community had been “loving and supporting” towards him. He blamed “corporate interests” for the attempts to cancel him and declared that he was more than willing to engage in a dialogue with the transgender community, under certain conditions.
Love him or hate him, Dave Chappelle’s comedy has always pushed boundaries and sparked conversations. While his jokes about gender identity may be polarizing, they serve as a reminder that comedy is subjective, and not everyone will find the same things funny.
Whether you agree with him or not, Chappelle’s unapologetic take on transgender jokes in “The Dreamer” is sure to leave a lasting impression.