On October 5th, 2021, stand-up comedian and actor Dave Chappelle released his latest comedy special The Closer on streaming service Netflix. Following its release, Dave was met with a number of organizations asking Netflix to pull the special due to controversial remarks, or should we say jokes, made about the trans community.
The story that sticks with us is when Dave speaks of his trans-comedian friend Daphne Dorman. Daphne, a trans woman who opened for Dave at one of his stand-up comedy shows and became what Dave called his friend, was said to later have committed suicide.
Because of the focus on Chappelle’s jokes about the trans community, what many from the community have hoped and consistently asked for is finally coming true. The comedian stated he would not be touching on the subject of the trans community any longer and that The Closer would be his last comedy special.
Now we’re not sure if this comment was due to backlash, losing his friend Daphne, or a little bit of both. Yet, we often hear from celebrities about retirements and last rides creatively in climates such as these and it is our hope that it is not the final go around for Chappelle.
We believe there is a need for voices like Chappelle, to continue to spark conversation and dialogue, pushing us forward for the betterment of us all. But if we continue to call for the silence of creative voices on certain subjects we’ll never be forced to talk about and talk through the issues.
Isn’t that what art should do? Shouldn’t it spark dialogue, even if it makes us uncomfortable?
© 2021 | Michael Nelson for Drty Ones