[audience clapping in unison]
♪ Listen carefully ♪
♪ This is for my favorite band Of human beings ♪
♪ The faithful, the graceful, The tragic, the classic ♪
♪ The evidence of things unseen, The book of light ♪
♪ The mansions of the moon The bones are for their own ♪
♪ Recently discovered And everything but no ♪
♪ The doubtest doubts about it Never made it unsure, life! ♪
♪ The gift, peace out the pressure Can’t remember how you came ♪
♪ When I am better, How you exit from the start ♪
♪ The only thing certain is the end ♪
♪ Promise to all and none, Knowing not when ♪
♪ Heartbreak from yesterday, A fret for tomorrow ♪
♪ I leave you now filled with anxiety And hollow ♪
♪ If you break don’t worry, If you worry don’t break ♪
♪ My homie told it to me Just the other day ♪
♪ From the tall castle walls To the mean teeth streets ♪
♪ I hope you get what you are And that you are what you need ♪
Everybody have a seat, be comfortable, relax. I got to tell you… let’s go.
Thank you. I need you guys to know something. And I’m gonna tell you the truth, and don’t get freaked out. This is going to be my last special for a minute.
It is all good. Listen to me. I did it in Detroit for that reason.
That’s right. You wanna know why? ‘Cause I talked so much shit about Detroit in the first special I figured, I might as well, do the last special here. Sorry about that, by the way.
First of all, before I even start, I’m gonna say that “I’m rich and famous.”
And the only reason I say that is ’cause the last 17 months were hell, and I cannot imagine what everybody went through. Well, I’m happy to see you and I’m happy you’re well and I hope everyone you love is okay.
I don’t want you to worry about me, I’m… vaccinated, I… [audience laughs] got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
I got to admit, that’s probably the most n*ggaish decision I’ve made in a long time.
I walk in to the doc like, “Give me the third best option.”
I’ll have what the homeless people are having. So far, so good. And I know you probably heard on the news, I did get coronavirus. And it was something else. Like, okay first of all, when the doctor told me I had coronavirus I got to tell you, I was surprised how it made me feel. I felt dirty. [laughter] I felt gross. ‘Cause I’ve been walking around Texas just touching door knobs and shit, hands all moist. Tipping n*ggas with cash. “Here, take this to your family.” [laughter] I must have killed thousands of people. Just trying to get tonight’s show together so I hope you appreciate it ’cause a lot of n*ggas died for me to get this one off.
I hadn’t felt that dirty in a long time. Last time I can remember, feeling dirty like that, man, I must have been a little boy. I was being molested by a preacher. [laughter] But don’t feel bad for me, I liked it. [laughter] I used to get a kick out of cumming in that fellows face.
Well, he asked me to do it.
They make you quarantine. I had to quarantine for ten days at least. They said “You’re gonna have to stay in the room,” I didn’t go nowhere. And it started making me nuts, ’cause I would just sit in the room and watch videos all day. Now, do you know what I was watching? And I hate to say this, but there was a lot of videos sadly, of Black people… beating up Asians for no reason. These attacks were unprovoked, I couldn’t believe it. And I was sitting in the room watching this shit, it would stress me out. I was stressed already because the whole time when you get coronavirus, at least the first five days you wait, and see how sick you’re gonna get. And it turns out, and this is true… I didn’t get sick at all. [laughter] Not a cough, not a booger, not a fever, nothing. Look at me I am the Magic Johnson of coronavirus.
I just sat in the crib and got stronger all week. But I was stressed, ’cause I kept watching these videos of my beloved Black people beating up my beloved Asian people, and being so cruel. And the whole time I watched those videos, this is fucked up but I couldn’t help but feel like… When I saw these brothers beating these Asians up. It’s probably what’s happening inside of my body.
I didn’t get sick.
I also saw a lot of videos of UFOs. I mean, what the fuck has been going on with that shit? This n*ggas are here. These UFOs keep coming to Earth and it made me think of an idea for a movie. Sounds dumb, but hear me out. In my movie idea we find out that these aliens are originally from Earth. That they are from an ancient civilization that achieved interstellar travel and left the Earth thousands of years ago. Some other planet that they go to and things go terrible for them in the other planet so they come back to Earth and decide that they want to claim the Earth for their very own. It is a pretty good plotline, huh?
[audience] Yeah! I call it Space Jews. [laughter] Space Jews.
[man] We loved it!
Alright. It’s going to get worse than that, hang in there.
It is going to get way worse than that. Then I thought of an idea for a children’s book. I actually wrote it. It is coming out soon. The book is designed to help parents, teach their children about racism which, if you’re a parent you know is an impossible concept to teach to a child. But I’m doing it. The book is about a big, strong beautiful Black man with a benign, regular-ass White name… and he has a White speaking voice. So whenever this motherfucker calls to get a reservation at a restaurant, oh, he gets the reservation. [laughter] That name and that voice, who could resist him? Now I should tell you, this Black man is literally an actual giant. And he is a strong dude. And when he shows up to them restaurants they see that big giant Black dude they say “You can’t come in here.” And they call the police. And then every installment of the book the police come, and they always shoot him.
But remember, no, remember this guy is a giant, these bullets don’t kill him, they don’t even hurt him. They just break his heart. It is called Clifford, the Big Black N*gga, anyone?
This is my last special, because I have an objective tonight. I came here tonight… because this body of work, that I’ve done on Netflix I’m going to complete. All the questions you might have had about all these jokes I’d said in the last few years I hope to answer tonight. And I would like to start by addressing the LBGTQ community, correct.
And I want every member of the community to know that I’ve come here tonight in peace. [laughter] And I hope to negotiate the release of DaBaby.
Sad story! DaBaby was the number one streaming artist until about a couple of weeks ago. Took a nasty spill onstage, and said some… said some wild stuff about the LBGTQ community during a concert in Florida. Now you know, I go hard in the paint but even I saw that shit was like, “God damn, DaBaby.” He pushed the button, didn’t he? He pushed the button. Punched the LBGTQ community, right in the AIDS.
Can’t do that. Can’t do that. But I do believe and I’ll make this point later that the kid made a very egregious mistake. I will acknowledge that. But, you know a lot of the LBGTQ community doesn’t know DaBaby’s history, he’s a wild guy. He once shot a n*gga… and killed him, in Walmart. Oh, this is true, Google it. DaBaby shot and killed a n*gga in Walmart in North Carolina. Nothing bad happened to his career.
Do you see where I am going with this? In our country, you can shoot and kill a n*gga but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings. [laughter] And this is precisely the disparity I wish to discuss. I have a question for the audience and this is a real question, I am not joking around. Is it possible, that a gay person can be racist? [audience] Yes! Yeah!
Do you really think so?
[audience] Yeah! Of course it is possible. Look at Mike Pence.
[audience laughs] [applause]
I am guessing, but I bet you, he is gay.
[woman] Oh my God.
And he is not pride parade gay either, he is sad gay. I feel bad for him. He looks like one of them gays that prays about it. Jesus, please take these dirty feelings out of my heart. [laughter] Please Jesus, make these buttholes ugly to me. I don’t want to keep on tasting these dicks. [laughter] Funny. You guys are confusing your emotions. You think I hate gay people and what you’re really seeing is that I’m jealous of gay people. I’m jealous, I’m not the only Black person, that feels this way. We Blacks, we look at the gay community and we go “God damn it! Look how well that movement is going.”
“Look how well you are doing.”
And we’ve been trapped in this predicament for hundreds of years. How the fuck are you making that kind of progress? I can’t help but feel like if slaves had baby oil and booty shorts… [laughter] …we might have been free a hundred years sooner. You know what I mean? If Martin Luther King was like, “I want everybody to get up on them floats. Get your bodies good and shiny.” I don’t hate gay people at all, I respect the shit out of you. Well, not all of you. I am not that fond of these newer gays. Too sensitive, too brittle. Those aren’t the gays that I grew up with, I missed them old school gays, n*gga. Them Stonewall n*ggas, them the ones that I respect.
They didn’t take shit from anybody, they fought for their freedom. I respect that shit, I’m not even gay and I want to be like a Stonewall n*gga. Them old school, gangster gays. Them glory hole n*ggas, them the ones I like.
These new gays don’t even know what the glory hole is. It’s a hole in the wall, that gay contractors build. [audience laughs] You want to know why they put that hole in the wall? I’ll tell you, there is no nice way to say it. ‘Cause when they want to have some fun they will put their penises in that hole and hope for the best. I respect that shit. It’s a lot of courage on both sides of that hole n*gga. [laughter] I’m not even gay and I want to try that glory hole out.
What if Martin Luther King had to integrate the glory hole? “I don’t care if it is Black lips back there or White lips back there a mouth is a mouth. A warm wet mouth.” I’m going all the way. I got into a fight. I almost got into a fight, it is complicated. I was in a bar in Austin, with my wife and it was during Covid, and a woman came to our table and she was maskless, and this bitch came over, no mask, all “H” words. “Hi, how are you?”
Droplets was coming out of this bitch’s face. We all covered our drinks. Ew! Baby, what are you doing? Now I looked over the table that she came from, and I peeped game. The men at the table were filming me. This happens when you’re famous. People will come over and try to rattle your cage and get you to say something stupid or dumb so that their buddies can film it and get a video of you embarrassing yourself. And clearly I said, “This is what is happening.” And these dumb motherfuckers thought, it was my first rodeo.
Sadly it worked.
I ran right over there, I said… I pointed right in the camera I said, “You is a bitch-ass n*gga for doing this to me.”
And the dude was shocked that I said it. He said “Huh?” And when he did like this, I’ve seen all his fingernails is painted and I realized like, “Oh-oh.” [laughter] “This fellow is gay.” Yeah, you know how I talk. I call everybody a bitch-ass n*gga. You know what I mean? But that is not a right thing to do if they’re gay. You know what I mean? And now I was in trouble and not only that, the motherfucker was huge. He stood up, he was towering over me. He must have been 6′ 5″, a big White corn-fed Texas homosexual, this n*gga was ready to fight. And he started barking on me, but I stood my ground, I wasn’t scared. How could I be scared? This motherfucker’s shirt was tied up in a knot like this. Oh, fuck this guy. Let’s go, n*gga, let’s go. I thought we were going to come to blows. I was ready and then right when you think we would fight, guess what he did? He picked up his phone and he called the police. And this, this thing I am describing is a major issue that I have with that community. Gay people are minorities, until they need to be White again.
I’m being very brutally honest, so we can solve this problem. I’m telling you right now a Black gay person would have never done that to me. ‘Cause a Black gay person knows, when the police shows up they’re not going to care who called ’em. They don’t show up like, “Which one of you n*ggers is Clifford?” [laughter] We’re all Clifford. This happens far too often. Another time, about six years ago, there was a lesbian woman that tried to sell a story about me to TMZ. Thank goodness, TMZ could see right through the sham of that story. This woman claimed that I beat her up in a night club because she was a lesbian. That is fuckin’ crazy. Bitch, I didn’t even know you was a woman.
Thank God! TMZ didn’t believe that because I did beat the shit out of her, I am not gonna lie.
It was her fault, I had no choice. I came into the club minding my own business and a woman came up to me, and she goes “Oh my God, Dave Chappelle.” And I was just being reciprocally nice. “Hey, miss, how are you?” Blah, blah, blah. Benign talk, nothing to it. And all of a sudden this lesbian fellow stepped between us. “Hey n*gga, that’s my girl!” I said, “Yo, my man, back up.” Like that. She said, “I ain’t backing up off shit, n*gga, that’s my girl!” I said, “Bro, you gonna have to give me three feet, like this.” She said, “Stop calling me a man, motherfucker.”
I am a woman.”
I said, “What?” [laughter] And then I looked deep in this n*gga’s cheek bones. And I said, “Oh my God, you are a woman.” This is too much for me to even wrap my mind around but I tell you what, I un-balled my fist immediately and I softened my posture so that she would know, she is in no danger. I even changed the tone of my voice. I said softly, sweetly, like a pimp might say. [laughter] “Bitch, I’m ’bout to slap the shit out of you.”
[cheers and applause]
I should have done it. Oh, I wish I didn’t say that. She dropped that foot back, she was in a perfect southpaw stance. Her shoulders were angled correctly, her head movement was good, I said “Oh, no! this bitch boxes for real.” She threw a wild hook at me and I saw it coming from yesterday, so I slipped it like this… I had no choice, I had to go to work. I let that jab go, you should have seen me go n*gga. I tenderized them titties like chicken cutlets. [laughter] I whooped the toxic masculinity out of that bitch.
That is why I don’t go out no more. Just trying to chill, I’m just trying to live a peaceful life. That’s why I live in Ohio, you know, I live in a little town in Ohio. Must be like 3700 people, small hippie town. Culturally you might feel like, like Ann Arbor to you. [laughter] You know what I mean? Bunch of hippies and shit like that. And n*ggas always ask me like, “Dave, why do you live in that hippie town?” And I’d be embarrassed to tell ’em the truth. Well, you know why I live there? Because Yellow Springs, Ohio has the most beautiful women in the world. And a lot of people might disagree with me but, you got to see them for yourself, they’re gorgeous. But it all depends on what you’re into. You know what I mean? I like White bitches with dirty feet.
If I had a strip club in Yellow Springs, I would have called that shit “Strippies.” All naked hippies, all the time. And I would only hire girls with long titties and long vagina head that looks like they slept on it. And I would keep a pile of dirt, right next to the stage. I’d come up like, “Bitch get your feet in that dirt and get up there and give those people what they came to see.” “Chalk up, bitch.” Couple of years ago I was in Ohio, at a shopping mall. An old White lady… This is true, she was following me around the mall. Which sounds paranoid, but I’m sure she was following me. Mean lady too. You ever see a woman with lines on her face? That just tell you like… even if she’s smiling, it would look like it would hurt the muscles in her face. I knew she was following me, ’cause she was at places that had nothing to do with her I’d be looking around like, “What is this old bitch doing in Gamestop and Footlocker and all the places I like to go?” Every time I see her, she’d just be looking mean on me. And eventually I forgot about it. So, then after, I am shopping I go all the way to the back of the parking lot, I’m parked all the way in the back and as soon as I open my car door I hear a voice go, “David Chappelle.” Just like that. I didn’t even have to look, I knew it was her. And I looked back and sure enough there she was, that face. To be honest with you, she probably wasn’t even that old. She’s probably around my age. But she was a White woman, this bitch looked terrible. [laughter] I’m going all the way. I kept my cool, I was nice. I said, “Hello, miss.” And she didn’t say anything back, all she said was “I watch your comedy.” I said “Oh-oh.” And then she says, this is true, she goes, “Sounds to me… like you, hate women.” I said, “Well, you know what, miss? It’s art.” You are free to interpret this art however you like but I can tell you as the maker of this art that I don’t believe that I feel that way. And she said, “Well, I think…” And I said, “Shut up, bitch! Shut the fuck up!”
“Before I kill you and put you in the trunk. Ain’t nobody around here.”
I’m just kidding, I didn’t say that. I felt that way, but that’s not what I said. I was more clever than that. You know what I said? And this is exactly what I said, I said, “Miss, before you finish that statement, let me ask you a question. Where did you see me? Did you buy a ticket to a concert I did, I doubt that. Or, maybe you watched one of my specials on Netflix. Or… Or… Did I follow you to your car and do my act?” She said, “What?” I said, “Keep it in the comments section, bitch, this is real life, ta-ta.”
And then I drove off. And now I got to tell you and this is gonna surprise some people here, but not everybody. People say things to me all the time but what you don’t know, is it does affect me. I think about it. And that one bothered me a lot, I was driving home, couldn’t stop thinking about what this woman said because she is not the first woman that said that to me. It’s puzzling. You know what I mean? Like, what could I possibly be saying… that would make these bitches think, I hate women. [laughter] Couldn’t figure it out. So, you know what I did? I Googled the dictionary definition of a feminist just to make sure, I was talking about the right thing. And do you know, sir, what the dictionary definition of a feminist is? I didn’t either, listen to this. Webster’s defines a feminist as a human being, not a woman, a human being, that believes in equal rights for women. I was shocked, ’cause that is what that meant ’cause by that definition I would consider myself a feminist, and I didn’t even know that at the time.
All these years, I thought it meant frumpy dyke.
Well, that seems always talking to be some… chick in overalls, “Men are trying to rape us.” “Ah, not you bitch, will you please…”
I know, look, listen, I support the feminist movement, I do in my own ways. Well, you guys did the women’s march, I tried to go and support you and none of my friends would go with me. I asked all the fellows, none of them wanted to go. I tried everything. “Come on y’all, there’s gonna be bitches there.” They was like, “Nope.” [laughter] So what I did is, I called my friend Anj. Anj is a Black woman who is a comedy writer and she’s dope. A matter of fact, a matter of fact, she’s the only woman, that I know personally that pays her ex-husband alimony. And she sounds just like a man when she does it. “Fuck that broke motherfucker” and all that, she says all that shit.
So I hit Anj up, I hit her on the text and all I did, I texted. I said, “Anj, are you going to the women’s march?” And she texted me back, and this is a real text, she said… she said, “I hope those White bitches get tear gassed.”
There is a problem in that feminist movement, isn’t there? From its inception in America there has always been a racial component. When Susan B. Anthony was having that meeting and Sojourner Truth’s Black ass showed up. Read your history books. All the White women asked Sojourner Truth not to speak. They didn’t conflate the issues of women’s rights and slavery. But you know how Black bitches are, so Sojourner Truth went up there anyway.
[applause and cheering]
She did a famous speech, she said “Ain’t I a woman?” “Ain’t I a woman?” That’s right. And listen, listen, listen. I supported the “Me Too” movement, but the whole time, the whole time I thought that the way they handled it was stupid. [laughter] It was, it was White, it was like… they were doing shit, like going to the Golden Globes and all of them would be like “Let’s all go to the Golden Globes and wear black dresses. And give these men a piece of our minds.” Bitch, that is not gonna work. You think Martin Luther King is gonna be like, “I want everybody to keep riding the bus, but wear matching outfits.” [laughter] You got to get off the bus and walk. It’s real talk. A real talk, that was a silly movement. “I want everybody to wear crochet pussy hats so they know we are serious.” What the fuck was y’all doing? And then I said something about it in one of my specials and all these women actresses came after me. I said, “Man, fuck y’all too, you canceled. I ain’t jerking off to none of your pictures again.”
They were like, “Who is he to tell us anything?” I’ll tell you exactly who I am. I’m the one that got off the bus and left $50 million on the bus and walked.
[cheers and applause]
I agreed with these women. I just didn’t agree with what they were doing about it. Right. Right. No, it was annoying as fuck… because if these women were serious, you know what they would have done? They all would have fired their agents. And they would have went to the mailroom of one of these big agencies and found a woman that was bustin’ her hump in there and said, “If you want to talk to us then you have to talk to her.” And if they did that, then she would be big, and they would be big and nobody would get fed to Harvey Weinstein. But did they do that?
Was that their idea? No. Surprisingly it was mine. What I think, the feminist movement needs to be very successful… is a male leader.
I’ll do it. I will. I will lead you women to the promised land. I will make sure you will get equal pay for equal work. I will make sure that nobody harasses you or fucks with you on the job. I will protect all of your interests. And all that I ask for in return… is that you suck my dick.
And now, we’re right back to square one, aren’t we? And now we get to the core of the crisis. What… what is a woman? What is that, in this day and time? Is there even such a thing as a woman or a man or anything? Hmm. Hmm? Seems to be a question nowadays. Now listen, women get mad at me gay people get mad at me, lesbians get mad at me, but I’m gonna tell you right now, and this is true… these transgenders… the n*ggas want me dead.
I’ve gone too far, I’ve said too much. But I got to tell you, I’m very worried about it. I’m not even joking with you. Every time I come out onstage, I be scared. I be lookin’ around the crowd, searching. For knuckles and Adam’s apples to see where the threats might be coming from. A n*gga came up to me on the street the other day. He said, “Careful, Dave, they after you.” I said, “What?” “One they, or many theys?”
Before I even say anything about that community you must know and I hope you all feel the same way I am not indifferent to the suffering of someone else. There’s laws, the mean laws in our country. North Carolina passed a law once. They said a person in North Carolina must use the restroom that corresponds with the gender they were assigned on their birth certificate. No, no, no, no. No, that is not a good law. That is a mean law. No American should have to present a birth certificate to take a shit at Walmart, in Greensboro, North Carolina where DaBaby shot and killed a motherfucker.
You have to ask yourself, if you’re thinking about it, who are these laws designed to protect? Like let’s say they designed this law to protect me, my interests, transphobic comedian, Dave Chappelle. Let’s say I’m in Walmart, doing a little shopping with my family. Now I should tell you if that ever happens in real life, you should know my dreams didn’t work out.
Well let’s say something goes horribly wrong and there I’m in Walmart with the poor Whites rummaging around for mediocre goods and services.
And then I got to go to the restroom. So, I excuse myself from my family. I go to the men’s room. Now I’m standing at the urinal, taking a leak. And this is what this law is gonna do. And suddenly a woman walks into the men’s room. I’m like, that’s strange. And then she stands shoulder to shoulder with me at the urinal, I’m gonna be like, “Bitch, what’s going on with you?”
And then she hikes her skirt up and she pulls a real live, meaty dick out!
What do you think I am going to say? Thank God, she’s in here with me. At least now I know my family is safe. Mm-mm. No, I’m not gonna feel that way at all, I’m gonna feel very uncomfortable. I would feel better if it was a man with a vagina that backed up to the urinal next to me. [audience laughs] I wouldn’t even think about that, I’d just be like, “That’s funny.”
“This guy is peeing out of his butt for some reason.” “Oh my God, he must be a Veteran, thank you for your service.” I’m not indifferent to people’s suffering ’cause I know it’s hard to be everybody. We Blacks, we just got our first big holiday in a long time. Happy belated Juneteenth to the Blacks.
[cheers and applause]
Juneteenth is a strange holiday, isn’t it?
It commemorates when Black people in Texarkana area of the country first found out that they were free. But remember, they were free when they found out. They just didn’t know it yet. Very interesting holiday. You know, I learned something This is a wild story. I learned this past Juneteenth of a story, this is true. And it’s that there was a Black man who was in South Carolina during slavery who somehow got granted his freedom by his so-called master. And when his master granted him the freedom he also gave him a plot of land. Now it turns out, this brother was brilliant. He had a good eye, good knack for farming. And he farmed this plot of land very successfully and made a lot of money, and this is where the story gets crazy. When he got all that money… this n*gga brought some slaves.
Have you ever heard this before? This is a true story. Not only was he a slave owner, he became a slave breeder. And employed tactics that were so cruel even White slave owners were like, “Yo, my man.”
He was a wild dude, but he did it just because that’s what successful people did at the time. He just wanted to be down, what a fuckin’ tragedy. How can a person that went through slavery perpetuate the same evil on a person that looks just like him. It’s mind blowing. And shockingly, they’re making a movie about him. Ironically… it is called Space Jews.
Space Jews. [distant chuckling] The point of that story is this person was invested in a construct. That was the construct of successful people and he just followed the roadmap of successful people. He followed what they called “an incentive.” Now, everyone struggles but I’m very invested in the gender construct, personally. ‘Cause I’m a man with kids, and a wife, and I like that warm, wet soft pussy that my wife has.
This does not mean that I feel like another point of view can’t exist. I was doing a night club in Oakland, 16 years ago and this was the first time that the trans community ever got mad at me that I knew about. And then I was nobody, I had just quit Chappelle Show. It was like a nothing hole in the wall club and I was doing some transgender jokes in Oakland, it was 16 years ago. My pronoun game was not as nice as it is today. I went too far, I said things like tranny and shit I didn’t know these words were bad, and a woman stood up and just gave me the business. Started screaming at me, and I’m sure it was a woman. But she kept calling me transphobic and all this shit I had never even heard these words before, it was really weird. I didn’t trip, I just gazed at Security to look like, “Go on, get that bitch out of here.”
I kept it moving. And then she went to the press. The next day one of the gay papers wrote all of the same things she had said to me, about me in the paper. Misquoted the jokes, and was calling me transphobic you know, these words, I had never heard them before but every time that I talked with anybody from the community since they always repeat the talking points from that article. My least favorite of which being, I hate this phrase they say, “I was punching down on them.” “Punching down”, what the fuck does that mean? Now fast forward. It is 2019. And I am in a restaurant in Ohio, very nice restaurant. It’s Thanksgiving week. And to be honest, it is not a very nice restaurant, but it is a nice restaurant, if you’re a White person from Ohio that has never been anywhere before. [laughter] Picture Chili’s.
I’m sitting in the bar, I’m having a drink by myself and the only other person in the bar is a woman, a couple of stools down. And she was alone, and she was older, and that made me feel sad, ’cause it was the holidays. So, I told the bartender, “Send that woman a drink on me.” Just trying to spread the cheer, and I wish I didn’t. This woman wanted to talk. She wasn’t mean, she was nice, but she just wanted to talk about shit that you know, I mean a n*gga just trying to get drunk don’t want to hear about this bitch remodeling in her bathroom. And I’m sitting there, trying to be polite. Oh, subway tiles? Word. But then she hits a lick. Piqued my interest. She says, “My daughter is coming home for the holidays.” Like, “Oh, that is great news, I’m glad you’re not going to be alone.” And then she goes on and on about how great her daughter is. I guess her daughter got a new agent and she is out in Hollywood, she’s in movies and on television and all this stuff and as she’s telling me this, I’m thinking, this woman is so sweet. She probably doesn’t even know who I am. Or what I do for a living because I know what your daughter’s is out in Hollywood doing.
And then she goes, “Would you like to see her picture?” “Oh now I don’t want to see this woman’s picture, but what am I gonna do?” I’m like, “Okay sure, I’d love to see the picture.” And I grab the picture and this is all I say, this is all I say, “Oh… she is very beautiful.” And as she puts the picture away she… looks mean all of a sudden, like she caught me in some kind of trap. “What did that face mean?” And then she goes, “She’s transgender.” And I think to myself, “Oh, this bitch does know who I am.”
I really resented that trap because that trap doesn’t let me be honest. If I was honest, I wouldn’t have fallen for it. I’d have just looked at the picture like, “Look at that big chiseled jawline, that big thick Joe Rogan neck. Is that a dude? Is your daughter a man?” Can’t say that shit. It’s really annoying. Fast forward, now it’s a couple of days later. It’s the Wednesday… before the Thursday that’s Thanksgiving, and I’m in a totally different bar and this bar, trust me, is not a nice place. It’s foul, it’s one of those bars where the top shelf should be under the sink. [laughter] This is where the poor Whites drink. The Tiki torch Whites. You know what I mean? Them White people, they believe in “Q” and they love Trump. You know what I mean? Like Michigan White people.
I remember I was at this bar one time, it was that kind of bar it is. I was in there one time, I was fucked up and I turned around to everybody in the bar and go “Hey everybody, I am going to buy everyone in the bar a round of drinks.” And all the motherfuckers was like, “Hurrah!” And the bartender knew I was drunk, so she pulled me aside. “Mr. Chappelle, are you sure about that?” That’s going to be 16 dollars.
Tough time for the Whites. And this was a holiday weekend. You know what I mean? These motherfuckers were having a rootin’ tootin’ time. They was in there partying, making all them noises. “Ooh! Ow! Yeow!” You know all them noises White people make before lynching? They was doing all that shit. [audience laughs] I was drunk. I looked over my shoulder, I thought I was trippin’. Guess who was in the bar? I thought I was seeing things, I looked across the room and I saw… the trans-bitch from the picture. [laughter] I couldn’t believe it. I said “What is a trans person, doing in a place like this? This is very dangerous behavior.” And she was with, two big, buff, gay Black dudes. I didn’t know these dudes, but I know they was gay. If they had a dick in their mouth, they wouldn’t look any gayer than they did just sitting there. [laughter] They had 1980s gay face. You know what that is? Remember in the ’80s when gay people looked surprised all the time.
“Close your mouth, n*gga, what is surprising”, you know what I mean? But they was huge, they looked like Jussie Smollett’s trainers.
And I am thinking, “Man these motherfuckers are in a lot of trouble.” So what I do is I stand up and everybody in the bar likes me, so I make a big show of it to make sure that everyone can hear me. Now, I walk right up to her, and I go “Hey! I just met your mother the other night and she told me all the great things you’re doing in Hollywood. And I cannot believe that someone from a podunk place like this can achieve all that, I’m so proud of you. Welcome home.” And the whole bar said “Hurrah!” And I said “Phew.” “That ought to buy her some time.” You know what I mean? A couple of more drinks and these fellows are gonna start asking her for some pussy, she might not have.
And she was very gracious. She said “Thank you so much”, and we shook hands and as she was shaking my hand, her face turned mean, like her mom’s. And she said, “Do you mind, not punching down on my people?” Oh, I don’t like that. Normally, I would’ve let it go, but I was drunk.
I said, “What might you mean, bitch?”
I was careful to call her a bitch, ’cause I didn’t want to blow her cover. [audience laughs] Turns out she wasn’t hiding. She was loud, she was proud. She let me have it in front of everybody. Screaming at me, all the talking points from that article. You transphobic, this and that. Kept clapping her hands in my face. “Let me tell you somethin’.” I said, “Where did you learn this from, Black bitches?” She kept going, “Let me tell you something, honey.” So annoying. She kept calling transgenders, her people. Ain’t that weird? “My people this, my people that.” I said, “What do you mean, your people?” Were you all kidnapped in Transylvanian, brought here as slaves? [laughter] She said, “My people have struggled for decades, honey, decades.” And I looked at them gay Black dudes, like. “Is there anything you n*ggas need to tell this bitch? [laughter] Clifford, Clifford?”
I am exaggerating, she is actually a very nice person and I’m cool with her now, but boy, that shit got on my nerves. And it got on my nerves because, whenever someone says that to me I know they have never seen me for themselves, they just repeat what they’ve heard. Any of you, who have ever watched me know that I’ve never had a problem with transgender people. If you listen to what I’m saying, clearly my problem has always been with White people.
I’ve been arguing with the Whites my entire career. Just when I thought I had you guys on the ropes you changed all the rules. “Oh yeah?” – Yeah, motherfucker! – “Well.” I am a girl now, n*gger. You must treat me as such.
“Call me a girl, n*gger.” It’s annoying as fuck. No, no, go back, go back tonight after the show, watch every special I did on Netflix. Listen to everything I’ve ever said about that community. I’ll go through ’em. I said, “How much do I have to participate in your self image?” I said, “You shouldn’t discuss this in front of Black people.” I said, “I know n*ggas in Brooklyn that wear high heels just to feel safe.” I asked you “Why is it easier for Bruce Jenner to change his gender than it is for Cassius Clay to change his name?”
If you listen to what I’m saying, I’m not even talking about them, I’m talking about us and “they don’t listen.” It’s very annoying. And they have canceled people, more powerful than me. They canceled J.K. Rowling, my God. J.K. Rowling wrote all the Harry Potter books by herself. She sold so many books, the Bible worries about her.
And they canceled it because, she said in an interview and this is not exactly what she said, but effectually she said that gender was a fact. And then the trans community got mad as shit, they started calling her a TERF. I didn’t even know, what the fuck that was. But I know that trans people make up words to win arguments. [laughter] So I looked it up. TERF is an acronym. It stands for Trans-exclusionary radical feminist. This is a real thing, this is a group of women… that hate transgender. They don’t hate transgender women but they look at trans women the way we Blacks might look at Black face. It offends them like, “Oh, this bitch is doing an impression of me.” [laughter] Now I shouldn’t speak on this because I’m not a woman nor am I a trans. But as we’ve established… I am a feminist. [laughter] That’s right.
I’m team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact. You have to look at it from a woman’s perspective. Look at it like this, Caitlyn Jenner whom I have met, wonderful person. Caitlyn Jenner… was voted, woman of the year. Her first year as a woman. Ain’t that something? Beat every bitch in Detroit. She’s better than all of you. [laughter] Never even had a period, ain’t that something? [laughter] I’d be mad as shit if I was a woman. I’d be mad if I was me. If I was in the BET awards, sitting there and they’re like “And the winner for n*gger of the year… Eminem.” My man. [audience laughs] Gender is a fact, this 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. [laughter] Now… I am not saying that to say, that trans women aren’t women. I’m just sayin, that those pussies that they got… You know what I mean?
I’m not saying it is not pussy, but that’s like Beyond Pussy or Impossible Pussy. You know what I mean? It tastes like pussy but that’s not quite what it is, is it? It’s not blood, that is beet juice. [laughter] Oh buddy, I’m in trouble now.
Before I go, I want to share this story with you because it is important to this point. I want your community to know that one of the coolest people I ever met was a transgender woman. And this is not a man that I knew that became a woman, this woman was trans when I met her. Lived in San Francisco, Daphne Dwarman is the name. I would do 18 shows in the Bay Area sometimes in Oakland and Dirty Hood night club and she would be there, white trans woman, laughing loud and hard, at everything I said. Especially the trans jokes, very puzzling… because she was obviously trans. And one night after one of the shows I met her. And what it was, turns out it was her dream to be a comedian. And I was her hero. It was very moving. I could not dislike somebody that felt that way about me. We became fast friends. And when I made that special Sticks and Stones right as it was coming out, I happened to be in San Francisco and I wanted to do a show. But I needed an opening act, and I remembered… that trans woman I had met, so I called her on the phone. And I called her myself, I said, “Hey Daphne, this is Dave Chappelle.” She couldn’t believe it. And I go, “I’m in San Francisco.” And then she started saying a bunch of wild stuff, I was like “Relax now, I don’t want any pussy, I was… [laughter] I’m just calling, because I’m doing a show and I need an opening act. And I was wondering if you’d open the show?” And she was like, “Fuck, yeah.” Now… I didn’t know this at the time but this woman had only done stand up comedy eight times in her life. This was little to no experience and now she’s about to open a show for what many call the GOAT.
She’s an amateur in stature, but in practice, she was very professional. She showed up early, which is something I appreciate ’cause I like people to be on time. She was dressed to the motherfuckin’ nines, I mean, I’m transphobic and even I was like, “You look nice.”
Went up on the stage with all the swag of a professional comedian, grabbed that mic and walked right down the middle and looked at the crowd like a gangster. Man, you should have seen her work. This bitch bombed for 45 minutes, straight.
And I’m not exaggerating, young man. That show was terrible. Stunk. Stunk. And then she brings me on, and you know, I was like a glass of water after a handful of salt. The crowd was happy to see me. I was killing it. But here is what impressed me. Any other comedian I’ve ever seen, if they had bombed as bad as she did, would have snuck out of the back of the theatre and went home and cried or something, but she didn’t do that. Not only did she not leave, she found a seat, right up in front. You know, when a new comedian watches an experienced comedian in comedy we call this “taking class.” And this bitch took my whole class, she sat up there and was laughing as hard as she always laughs as if nothing bad had even happened to her. And I saw her show. Something bad happened to her.
She was drunk. So she starts talking to me, while I’m onstage but the way a person would talk to a television when they were alone. She was talking to me like that. That didn’t bother me ’cause I knew her. But the crowd didn’t like that shit at all ’cause she sucked. And a guy in the back of the room stood up and Daphne’s hair was dyed blonde at the time and the guy screamed out, and his energy felt wild as fuck. He said, “Hey Daphne!” and everybody got clamped, they got tense. We didn’t know who was a heckler or active shooter, and… [laughter] …he said, “Does the carpet match the drapes?” It was fucked up. The whole crowd kind of groaned, ’cause it was so like, mean. Everybody groaned, except for Daphne. She kind of laughed, which was weird. And she didn’t even look all the way back. She said, “Sir, I don’t have carpets I have hardwood floors.” Just like that. [laughter] Just like that.
Boy, when she said that shit, it blew the roof of the place. Cut through all the tension, with that one joke. She had made up for 45 minutes of a stinker of a show. And after that, she could do no wrong. And I kept on rocking, and she kept on talking to me. And then the show became something cooler than a show. It became like a conversation between a Black man and a White trans woman and we started getting to the bottom of shit. All of them questions that you think about that you’d be afraid to ask, I was just asking them and she was answering them and her answers were funny as shit. The crowd was falling out of their chairs and at the end of the show, I go, “Well, Daphne”… I said “Well, that was fun.” I go, “I love you to death, but I have no fuckin’ idea what you’re talking about.” The whole crow laughed except for Daphne. Man, she looks at me like I’m not her friend anymore. Like I’m something bigger than me, like I’m the whole world in a guy. Then she said, “I don’t need you to understand me.” I said, “What?” She said, “I just need you to believe…” Just like that she goes, “…that I’m having a human experience.” And when she said it the whole crowd kind of gasped. And I gave the Fight Club look. I said, “I believe you, bitch.”
Because she didn’t say anything about pronouns. She didn’t say anything about me being in trouble. She said, “Just believe I’m a person and I’m going through it.” I know I believe you, because it takes one to know one.
[cheers and applause]
Then I told the crowd “Good night.” And they started going crazy and before the applause gets to it’s crescendo I was saying, “Don’t forget my opening act, Daphne.” And the crowd stood up. And I looked at her, tears came out of her eyes she couldn’t believe it was happening. I couldn’t believe it was happening ’cause her show stunk. [laughter] And it was a great night. And I remember, the late great Paul Mooney was there bunch of flyers, comedy n*ggas was there.
And we all went backstage and was just drinking and talking shit and laughing and Daphne stole the room, she had everyone cracking up. Spinning the yarn, telling us all these crazy stories about shit, she’d be into. We all laughing real hard, and there she is telling us and everyone is laughing. I’m looking around, I’m like, “Oh my God, she is funny.” I pulled her aside, I said, “You’re hilarious. I didn’t know that when you were onstage.” [laughter] I said, “You’re doing some things wrong but I can help you.” I said, “Anytime I’m in San Francisco why don’t you open the show for me and I’ll just try to give you some pointers and see if you can work this thing out.” She said, “Are you serious?” I was like, “Yeah.” And she grabbed me real tight, hugged me, squeezed me. And I pushed her off violently, ’cause I’m transphobic. I said “Boundaries, bitch!”
When Sticks and Stones came out… a lot of people in the trans community were furious with me and apparently they dragged me on Twitter. I don’t give a fuck, ’cause Twitter is not a real place.
[cheers and applause]
And the hardest thing for a person to do is go against their tribe if they disagree with their tribe, but Daphne did that for me. She wrote a tweet that was very beautiful and what she said was and it is almost exactly what she said. She said, “Punching down on someone, requires you to think less of them and I know him, and he doesn’t. He doesn’t punch up, he doesn’t punch down he punches lines, and he is a master at his craft.” That’s what she said.
Beautiful tweet, beautiful friend, it took a lot of heart to defend me like that, and when she did that the trans community dragged that bitch all over Twitter. For days, they was going in on her, and she was holding her own ’cause she’s funny. But six days after that wonderful night I described to you my friend Daphne killed herself. Oh yeah, this is a true story, my heart was broken. Yeah, it wasn’t the jokes. I don’t know if was them dragging or I don’t know what was going on in her life but I bet dragging her didn’t help. I was very angry at them, I was very angry at her. I felt like Daphne lied to me. She always said, she identified as a woman. And then one day she goes up to the roof of her building and jumps off and kills herself. Clearly… only a man would do some gangster shit like that. Hear me out. As hard as it is to hear a joke like that I’m telling you right now, Daphne would have loved that joke. That is why she was my friend.
[cheers and applause]
I was reading her obituary and I found out, she was survived by a daughter. And the moment I found that out, and this is true Anderson Cooper from CNN texted me. And all he says, it’s very nice, he said, “I’m sorry to hear about your friend.” And I texted him right back. “New phone, who this?” [laughter] He said, “It’s Anderson Cooper.” Oh, I said, “Anderson, look I need to find her family.” And he texted me right back with all the phone numbers and all this information. I say this to say, if you ever want to know about anything gay call Anderson Cooper from CNN. This n*gga is faster than Google. [laughter] What I did is, I got in touch with her family and I started a trust fund for her daughter ’cause I know that is all she ever really cared about.
And I don’t know what the trans community did for her but I don’t care, because I feel like she wasn’t their tribe, she was mine. She was a comedian in her soul.
The daughter is very young, but I hope to be alive when she turns 21 ’cause I’m going to give her this money myself. And by then, by then, I’ll be ready to have the conversation that I’m not ready to have today. But I’ll tell that little girl, “Young lady, I knew your father… [audience laughs] …and he was a wonderful woman.”
Empathy is not gay. Empathy is not Black. Empathy is bi-sexual. It must go both ways. It must go both ways.
Remember, taking a man’s livelihood is akin to killing him. I’m begging you, please do not abort DaBaby.
Kevin Hart dreamt his entire life of hosting the Oscars and when he finally got the job they just took it! It’s not fair. They didn’t kill him, Kevin is a strong guy. But I’m sure it broke old Clifford’s heart. It’s over. LBGTQ, L-M-N-O-P-Q-Y-Z, it is over. I’m not telling another joke about you until we are both sure, that we are laughing together. I’m telling you this is done. I’m done talking about it. All I ask from your community, with all humility will you please stop punching down on my people? Thank you very much and good night.
♪ First I was afraid, I was petrified ♪
♪ Kept thinking I could never live Without you by my side ♪
♪ But then I spent so many nights ♪
♪ Thinking how you did me wrong, and I grew strong ♪
♪ And I learned how to get along ♪ ♪ And so you’re back ♪
♪ From outer space ♪
♪ I just walked in to find you here ♪
♪ With that sad look upon your face ♪
♪ I should have changed that stupid lock ♪
♪ I should have made you leave your key ♪
♪ If I had known for just one second, You’d be back to bother me ♪
♪ Go on now go ♪ ♪ Walk out the door ♪
♪ Just turn around now ♪
♪ You’re not welcome anymore ♪
♪ Weren’t you the one who tried to Hurt me with goodbye ♪
♪ You think I’d crumble You think I’d lay down and die ♪
♪ Oh no not I I will survive ♪
♪ Oh as long as I know how to love I know I’ll be alive ♪
♪ I’ve got all my life to live I’ve got all my love to give ♪
♪ I’ll survive I will survive ♪
♪ Hey hey ♪
♪ It took all the strength I had ♪
♪ Not to fall apart ♪
♪ Kept trying hard to mend the pieces Of my broken heart ♪
♪ And I spent oh-so many nights Just feeling sorry for myself ♪
♪ I used to cry ♪
♪ But now I hold my head up high And you see me ♪
♪ Somebody new ♪
♪ I’m not that chained-up little Person still in love with you ♪
♪ And so you felt like dropping in And just expect me to be free ♪
♪ Well, now I’m saving all my lovin’ For someone who’s loving me ♪
♪ Go on now, go Walk out the door ♪
♪ Just turn around now You’re not wanted anymore ♪
♪ Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye ♪
♪ You think I’d crumble You think I’d lay down and die ♪
♪ Oh no, not I… ♪
34 thoughts on “Dave Chappelle: The Closer (2021) | Transcript”
Dave Chappelle is worthless.
what about you aren`t you?
seems you do not know the true value of art, the words worth or worthless, or the power his voice has proven to have. Time will tell: Who is truly worthless? David Ehrenstein or Dave Chappelle. Can’t wait to see who comes out on top.
Wow… a lot to unpack here. Seeing the quotes even with context- this shit is transphobic, plain and simple
Did you get to the part at the end where he’s defending a trans comedian and pointing out how much of a great human being she was? Watch the special.
And the whole time littering his set with dog-whistle style rhetoric that encourages people to be transphobic: Chappell continues to insult the trans women he claims was a friend — and then refers to “his trans woman friend” as a father. I mean, it’s only funny to someone who doesn’t realize how harmful it is. Chappell doesn’t have this excuse, because people have been telling him in about a 100 ways.
And really half of this set is Dave Chappell doing damage control that his setting up this trans woman to bomb — c’mon, you want me to believe he didn’t know she would bomb? — and then she commits suicide after her idol sets her up to bomb and then she, no doubt highly sensitive as all of us can be at times, kills herself. And he makes a whole special to cover up his responsibility. And then he says “don’t punch down.”
Dave Chappell used to be funny. This special isn’t funny, it’s an apology, and a sad one because he never comes out and says,
I’M SORRY: I, DAVE CHAPPELL, AM PARTY TO THIS WHITE TRANS WOMAN’S DEATH. And to make it better, I’m going to give her daughter a bunch of money to cover up my guilt. Because I’m not man enough to own that I helped kill a person — and I can’t stop using her as a butt of a joke.
How is calling someone a father harmful? Please explain. Daphne Dorman impregnated a woman. If we just look at that sentence – “Daphne Dorman impregnated a woman” there is nothing hateful, it consists of a formal pronoun, a verb, an indefinite article, and a noun. Now class, what logical deductions can be made as to the biological gender of our pronoun?
You dont stop racism by being racist. You do it by being the best human being you can be, so when any race sees you, they see the best of who we all are. When every thousand people like you become become like i just described, the way you described them goes away into the background and those one thousand do not think what color they are when they are on stage, like you do when you are with this kind of material. I know you hurt, but making money telling your audience how racist you are against other racists is admitting you are not willing to stand on your own, but just preaching to the crowd. Everybody is clapping cause you are putting down people who are putting down people. You cannot build people up by putting down those you are putting down. None of your script shows you have material to make your world better for your audience. Tell me what good does that do? You are just agrreing with your black audience that white racists are no different than you are; just trading colors. Show your audience you are better than white or black racists. “Red and yellow, black or whit, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves all the children of the world!” Prove this is so by loving them all unconditionally. just as you would like to be loved. Give us humor so we do not think skin color at all. And if you are funny or not, we won’t.
Couldn’t disagree with you both more. Dave Chappelle is smarter than the average Bear.
No one is saying he isn’t smart. If he was just dumb I’m not sure many people would care. Smart people still do bad things and latch on to harmful ideologies. His being smart enought to make his argument appealing is part of the problem. It is clear here that with few exeptions this set is designed to otherize, demonize, discredit and slander the LGBTQIA+ Commmunities. He designed it to exclusively, claim for himself the mantle of victim and erase any intersectionality that doesn’t support his argument.
Agree. What doesn’t translate is the joke delivery and the sarcasm. Brings so many hard subjects to light and makes the audience FEEL it, even if it’s uncomfortable. I’ve hated the way he uses certain words, but the delivery is spot on. I appreciate that he’s willing to have real discussions.
Seeing the comments, it seems to me that trans activism (as opposed to a trans person) is dishonest, stupid, and nasty. I had a lot of sympathy for the LGB community when they fought for their rights because their arguments made sense and their cause was just. I thought I felt the same way about the transgender cause when they fought for the right to be who they wanted to be, but then it was no longer about them or about protecting people but about persecuting people, making stuff up in order to persecute people, and ignoring facts when the facts are not convenient.
Arguably, Dave Chappelle offended White people, Black people, Asians, Women, Jews, Texans, and many others in his special, but it is significant that only the Trans community took serious offense – not because his words endangered them or denied them their rights but because his narrative was different to their narrative – and that it was not enough to allow them to be who they wanted to be, he had to also stick to their talking points or he would be deemed offensive.
The central premise of many minority causes is that there are many different perspectives, e.g. being Black or Latino or Asian is just as valid as being White; being Gay or Lesbian or Bi is just as valid as being Heterosexual. But Trans activism seems to have taken two paths – one path advocates the validity of being Trans, whereas the other goes beyond self-identity to insist on policing the meaning of words and the perspective of others (in short, rejecting the diversity of views and opposing views). It is not a good idea to use the One Ring to create your ideal society. There are different views on gender (Dave Chappelle also makes this argument), and if the Trans-radicals insist that there is only one correct view, then they are not much different from the Church groups and others who also insist that there is only one correct view of gender, and then it simply comes down to power politics to determine who gets their way.
If the “opposing view” is saying to a trans woman “you are not a woman” or a trans man “you are not a man” then yeah that’s some Karl Popper emergency level we are one step away from genocide level intolerance that cannot be tolerated. Just look the fuck around at how hatred of trans people is the salking horse for all manner of societal opression. Did you read HB@ in NC? there is all kinds of hateful shit in that bill that doesn’t have anything to do with Trans. And let’s not pretend for one second we don’t know who Chapelle’s tired tirade benefits most. White.male.patriarchy.
just for the record, Juan; Male and Patriarchy are redundant af
With context, Chappelle is clearly an ally. He specifies not only that trans women are women, he APOLOGIZES about using the T slur. He obviously does more in the show to clarify his viewpoints, but to me, these are the key points of interest. A transphobe would never apologize for using to T slur. In fact, they’d use it a lot on purpose. He is an ally to the LGBT community. We cannot allow people to ruin someone’s career over poorly paraphrased words.
no one is ruining his career…this comment is laughable. Exactly how is he an ally?
This man is up front and caring. He’s the little boy in the emperor has no clothes story.
Personally I think Mr.. Chappell is more vulgar than amusing but there are those that enjoy his type of humor. As a fellow human he is entitled to his views and as long as there is an audience willing to pay to hear those views nobody has the right to try and cancel his career.
Applause-break comedy is the fucking worst. It might as well have been the Late Show with Steven Colbert
Have you ever been to a stand up show where the comedian didn’t pause for applause? You’re delusional.
Without the delivery, this reads as surprisingly insecure.
That was actually worse than I thought it would be. And I was expecting it to be pretty bad, after seeing his first comeback special, which had poor material, and poor delivery. He keeps trying to act like he’s ignorant when he was raised by two damn professors. It’s pretty clear the audience he’s trying to appeal to – reactionaries. 16 years ago, he left his own show because he decided to draw a line. People like me supported his decision, even though that sudden decision made it hard for everybody else working on that show. Now he’s trying to do his comeback, appealing to these reactionaries, he’s claiming nobody else is allowed to draw a line. His new audience laps it up, and doesn’t question him for a moment. It feeds his ego, and his bank account. Doesn’t achieve anything else. Not deep enough to be philosophy, not funny enough to be comedy, it’s just a middle-aged cis guy ranting about how hard he’s finding it to progress. I could walk into most bars and get the same for free.
Chappelle makes it clear that he needs Dorman to exist on his terms, not hers — not as a trans woman with autonomy, but as a trans woman who’s proven she deserves autonomy by way of having a chill, laid-back sense of humor. Furthermore, in repeatedly reducing Dorman’s existence to her body parts and her relationship to them and the language surrounding them, Chappelle dehumanizes her and dehumanizes other trans people.
Dorman’s fate — she died by suicide shortly after the release of Sticks and Stones in 2019 — directly undermines Chappelle’s logic. Because Dorman was trans, she was at an extremely high risk of dying by suicide or transphobic violence. Any way you look at it, trans people are among the most vulnerable populations in society:
Out of all hate crimes that result in homicide that target LGBTQ and HIV-affected people, 72 percent of the victims are trans women, according to 2013 data.
50 percent of trans people will experience sexual assault or abuse in their lifetimes; this number is even higher for Black trans people.
54 percent of trans people experience intimate partner violence.
Trans people of color are six times more likely to experience police brutality than white cisgender people.
10 percent of trans people experience violence from a family member after coming out as trans. Eight percent of trans people are kicked out of their homes after coming out.
30 percent of trans people experience homelessness at least once in their lives.
In 2015, 30 percent of trans people reported experiencing workplace harassment, including sexual assault, physical harassment, or being fired for their gender expression.
More than 50 percent of trans teens seriously considered suicide in the last year; more than 66 percent of trans teens experienced major symptoms of depression within the two weeks prior to the survey.
This is what Chappelle’s critics mean when they discuss the real-world impact of Chappelle’s transphobia. His comedy, which involves continually insisting, against science, that gender is always tied to biology, isn’t just reactionary semantics. It’s dangerous rhetoric that’s been shown in study after study can directly impact the levels of anti-trans violence and societal prejudice that trans people already face daily.
It’s important not to omit this reality from the equation — which is what Chappelle does when he treats Dorman as though she’s a comedian first and a trans woman second.
Chappelle seems to think all trans people should have the attitude of comedians like Dorman
Chappelle views comedians as their own “tribe.” In The Closer, he even claims Dorman for his own “tribe” and not for the trans community: “She wasn’t their tribe, she was mine,” he says. “She was a comedian in her soul.”
Chappelle’s not just talking about comedy as a medium here, he’s talking about comedy as a worldview. Comedy is a subculture, after all, with its own very particular set of rules and mores. Perhaps the chief rule is the one comedians tend to embrace the hardest: Always, always be able to take a joke.
In the past, this principle has led to the privileging, within the comedy community, of the comedian’s right to make rude, disturbing, or even heinously offensive jokes. The logic goes that if the comedian can take a joke, the audience should be less sensitive, too. (See, for instance, the notorious moment in 2012 when a comedian heckled a woman in the audience who reacted to a sketch about rape jokes by making a rape joke about her.) Much of the recent cultural conversation over comedy and free speech has centered on the idea that comedians should be able to discomfit their audiences, whether in the service of making them laugh or making them think, without backlash — and that if you can’t handle a joke that makes you uncomfortable, that’s your problem, not the joke-maker’s.
Dorman herself was adept at taking an offensive joke. As Chappelle recalls, when an audience member interrupted one of Dorman’s shows with a transphobic question, she shot back by making an even better joke about her own anatomy. This, Chappelle wants us all to know, should be the response when we’re confronted with transphobia: not anger, hurt, or pain; not a walkout in protest of Netflix, but good-humored deflection.
This rule applies, at best, within the realm of comedy, between a comedian and their audience, not to the lived experiences of people in their everyday lives. Chappelle seems to need all trans people to accept the mores of his own very specific professional subculture, and he makes this request sound reasonable — he’s just a guy wanting to be allowed to make transphobic jokes without getting canceled for it, geez — but in practice, it’s baffling. Most people aren’t comedians, and most people are sensitive to jokes designed specifically to hurt them. Chappelle’s idea that trans people should have to prove, like Dorman, that they can take a joke without getting offended before they’re worthy of respect is a bit like a journalist demanding trans people prove they can use AP style before allowing them to command a conversation about their own gender identity.
What’s more, if “always be able to take a joke” is sacrosanct, there’s another rule that comedy holds just as dear: the one about never “punching down.” In comedy, punching down refers to humor that targets vulnerable groups of people who don’t hold much power in society. It exists in opposition to the kind of “punch up” that aims to critique people and institutions with power. Onstage, punching down is generally considered a huge “No” — the kind of thing that can immediately alienate an audience if you’re not doing it to make a deeper point. (Chappelle talks about this concept in The Closer, asking the larger LGBTQIA community not to “punch down” on his people, using Kevin Hart and DaBaby as examples.)
Chappelle’s deeper point seems to return again and again to the idea that trans people are too sensitive and that this sensitivity is somehow bolstered by white fragility. He seems to feel that his prioritization of the pain of Black communities over those of trans communities — as if, again, they are entirely separate — justifies an evening devoted to homophobic and transphobic jokes. Because Chappelle seems to believe that all queer and trans people have white privilege, he views himself as punching neither up nor down and even quotes Dorman as suggesting as much.
But Chappelle, of all people, should know better. He’s hyper-aware, as a comedian who frequently uses humor to make points about racial and social justice, that comedy impacts the real world. In fact, in 2005, Chappelle completely killed his own hit comedy show, the legendary Chappelle’s Show, because of one joke that made him realize, according to an interview he gave to Time, that rather than critiquing racist comedy, he might instead be reinforcing racist stereotypes for white audiences who were enjoying the joke unironically.
At the very least, then, Chappelle should know that there’s a possibility his jokes about trans people could be taken the wrong way and used to hurt trans people. There’s even an echo of the 2005 moment in the new special, when Chappelle has to stop and gently reprimand an audience member who starts to applaud a transphobic law. As Vulture’s Craig Jenkins put it, “You talk enough shit, and you’ll draw flies.”
Rather than acknowledging this possibility and its potential for harm, Chappelle not only justifies his comedy using white privilege, but seems to go a step further: He suggests that being hurt is good for trans and nonbinary people. When he says, “As hard as it is to hear a joke like that,” and then follows it up with any kind of defense, he’s telling audiences that he knows the joke is painful, hurtful, and transphobic — but that it’s somehow productive for trans people to be confronted by it. That it’s a learning experience to be confronted with transphobia onstage, as though trans people aren’t confronted with gender policing in every other moment of their lives.
Only then, in Chappelle’s telling, can Chappelle and trans people “[start] getting to the bottom of shit.” Once trans people have shown him that they’re capable of being good-humored about other people’s continual objectification and degrading dismissal of transgender identity issues, they can — on the terms of the person using transphobia to interact with them — be heard and accepted and loved.
This isn’t equality. Chappelle, who’s spent his entire comedy career using humor to make sharp, trenchant commentary on racism and injustice, should know that. Trans people should never have to just live with or get over or get used to rhetoric that dehumanizes them. The man who speaks viscerally about the fear Black Americans experience daily should know that asking trans people to accept and embrace transphobic ideology isn’t tolerance. It certainly isn’t the love and good humor he wants to be credited with.
And despite the audience laughing with Chappelle, it’s not funny at all.
Correction, October 25, 12:15 pm: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that trans women comprise 72 percent of all hate crime homicides. It has been corrected to state that trans women comprise 72 percent of hate crime homicides targeting LGBTQ and HIV-affected persons.
Jenny, a very well-constructed essay! You make quite a merited case from some very good points to think about, especially the paralleling of racism with transphobia.
“Chappelle makes it clear that he needs Dorman to exist on his terms, not hers ”
How can you possibly say that when you didn’t even know her?
“Furthermore, in repeatedly reducing Dorman’s existence to her body parts and her relationship to them and the language surrounding them, Chappelle dehumanizes her and dehumanizes other trans people.”
Dave reduced Dorman to her body parts by talking about who she was as a person?
“In comedy, punching down refers to humor that targets vulnerable groups of people who don’t hold much power in society. ”
Please stop, don’t give me this pseudo-binary between those who vulnerable and those in power. When intersectionality has taught us, anything is that identity is not black and white. Are you saying a gay trans white woman who is upper middle class is more vulnerable than a cis straight white man who’s a coal miner? LGBTQ community isn’t a monolith where everyone is equally as vulnerable or marginalized. And no, that’s not oppression Olympics that is just facts.
“Because Chappelle seems to believe that all queer and trans people have white privilege, he views himself as punching neither up nor down and even quotes Dorman as suggesting as much.”
No, he seems to believe his punching up as many LGBTQ don’t seem to be aware of their white privilege among their own communities.
“This, Chappelle wants us all to know, should be the response when we’re confronted with transphobia: not anger, hurt, or pain; not a walkout in protest of Netflix, but good-humored deflection.”
Er, did you miss the part where Dave literally mentioned the time when Dorman reacted in hurt and pain as opposed to good nature deflection? v
Like I’m something bigger than me, like I’m the whole world in a guy. Then she said, “I don’t need you to understand me.” I said, “What?” She said, “I just need you to believe…” Just like that she goes, “…that I’m having a human experience.” And when she said it the whole crowd kind of gasped. And I gave the Fight Club look. I said, “I believe you, bitch.”
Because she didn’t say anything about pronouns. She didn’t say anything about me being in trouble. She said, “Just believe I’m a person and I’m going through it.” I know I believe you, because it takes one to know one.
“There’s even an echo of the 2005 moment in the new special, when Chappelle has to stop and gently reprimand an audience member who starts to applaud a transphobic law.”
Gently reprimand? He flat out calls it a “MEAN LAW” you seem to be downplaying this fact because you know it would undermine your entire argument.
“Chappelle not only justifies his comedy using white privilege, but seems to go a step further:”
Okay, you lost all credibility when you claim that Chappelle is using white privilege with his comedy.
“His comedy, which involves continually insisting, against science, that gender is always tied to biology, isn’t just reactionary semantics. It’s dangerous rhetoric that’s been shown in study after study can directly impact the levels of anti-trans violence and societal prejudice that trans people already face daily.”
Citation needed. You have shown no causal link between believing gender is a biological reality (at least to a certain extent) to violence against the trans community.
honest question – which i imagine will only be received as some hate comment…
is there any study on that 72% of hate crime homicides that might indicate if these women had disclosed there possession of a penis to those would be murderers? do you think it might matter at what point in the interaction this information was made available??
Cis people: “Chapelle isn’t transphobic! Nothing he said was transphobic!!”
Chapelle: “Look at that big chiseled jawline, that big thick Joe Rogan neck. Is that a dude? Is your daughter a man?”
Chapelle absolutely is transphobic.
“Chapelle: “Look at that big chiseled jawline, that big thick Joe Rogan neck. Is that a dude? Is your daughter a man?”
Chapelle absolutely is transphobic.”
Wow, the transcript is literally right there but you still choose to cherry pick. v
“And then she goes, “Would you like to see her picture?” “Oh now I don’t want to see this woman’s picture, but what am I gonna do?” I’m like, “Okay sure, I’d love to see the picture.” And I grab the picture and this is all I say, this is all I say, “Oh… she is very beautiful.” And as she puts the picture away she… looks mean all of a sudden, like she caught me in some kind of trap. “What did that face mean?” And then she goes, “She’s transgender.” And I think to myself, “Oh, this bitch does know who I am.”
I really resented that trap because that trap doesn’t let me be honest. If I was honest, I wouldn’t have fallen for it. I’d have just looked at the picture like, “Look at that big chiseled jawline, that big thick Joe Rogan neck. Is that a dude? Is your daughter a man?” Can’t say that shit. ”
He was literally juxtaposing saying a trans daughter is beautiful to saying something offensive to very same woman. He was basically saying ” what exactly did she want me to say, would she rather I out her daughter as trans or be polite and say she’s beautiful like any person would regardless of if they are trans or not”.
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
At one point, the “boundaries, bitch!” part, he ACTUALLY SAYS “I’m transphobic”.
You can take that seriously or not, that’s your prerogative.
But, this is an act, and if you take any of this seriously, you’re missing the point.
Almost no one cares about the fact that he calls women bitches constantly. I’ve never understood this.
Also, can everyone here stop using the term “cisgender” as an all-encompassing opposite to “transgender”? You mention things like the fact that trans people are more likely to suffer police violence than cis people. You should not use the term “cis” here because you don’t know the gender identity of every single person who interacts with or is abused by police. Just because someone doesn’t openly identify as trans doesn’t mean they are cis. Cisgender is a dangerous word that is thrown around far too much. Stop using it unless you know for sure.
Dave Chappelle is right and not only is he right his not the first to make this point about LGBTQ community. To prove it let me compare Dave quote with an article I found.
He picked up his phone and he called the police. And this, this thing I am describing is a major issue that I have with that community. Gay people are minorities, until they need to be White again.
I’m being very brutally honest, so we can solve this problem. I’m telling you right now a Black gay person would have never done that to me. ‘Cause a Black gay person knows, when the police shows up they’re not going to care who called ’em. They don’t show up like, “Which one of you n*ggers is Clifford?” [laughter] We’re all Clifford. ”
Now let’s compare Dave sentiment for this passage in an op-ed piece about white privilege within the LGBTQ from NBC news. v
“Although white queer people share in our queer oppression, they are still beneficiaries of white supremacy — and are not above wielding that power in our “safe spaces.” In 2017 during Philly Pride, for example, the attempt was made to add a black and brown stripe to the rainbow flag. This action was met with anger from white gay men who felt the flag represented unity despite skin color — a particularly tone-deaf defense given that Philadelphia’s gay bars had recently become a hotbed for racism.”
Which leads me to Dave asking the audience v
“Is it possible, that a gay person can be racist? ”
I think this proves that the answer is YES. v
“It isn’t a coincidence that in that same summer of 2017, 11 owners of queer spaces in Philadelphia went through mandatory anti-discrimination training after several incidents at various gay bars — including the discovery of a YouTube video showing bar owner Darryl DePiano using racial slurs in 2016, and other alleged incidents involving racial discrimination.”
Diane, the point there is that he was being polite because it would be rude to look at a random stranger’s child and point out the fact that they clearly don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. But, given the scenario, a person purposefully setting a trap to create an argument – the more appropriate response would have been transparent unadulterated honesty. Pointing out a chiseled jawline and a fat neck on a women may not be polite – but it certainly isn’t treating a trans person unfairly (this is the definition of transphobic.)