Dave Chappelle on ‘SNL’: A timeline of the controversy round his transgender jokes


Tonight Dave Chappelle will host “Saturday Night Live” for the third time – an look that’s courting controversy earlier than he even takes the stage.

The comic has drawn rising ire in recent times for making jokes aimed toward transgender folks, and the outcry grew louder final fall when Netflix launched a Chappelle particular, “The Closer,” through which he doubled down on his feedback.

Netflix stood by Chappelle, who went on a nationwide tour after the particular and largely ignored the controversy after addressing it in his act.

However his feedback have been criticized by fellow comics, followers, trans advocates and a few Netflix workers, and a Minnesota venue canceled a Chappelle present this yr over the controversy.

Provided that context, it was surprising to some “SNL” viewers to see him invited again to Studio 8H. Right here’s a have a look at Chappelle’s current historical past of jokes about trans folks – and the ensuing backlash.

August: In a sequence of stand-up reveals at New York Metropolis’s Radio Metropolis Music Corridor, Chappelle made jokes aimed toward trans folks for not less than 20 minutes, Vulture reported. He made specific jokes about trans folks’s our bodies and referred to trans folks as “transgenders,” amongst different feedback, Vulture mentioned.

These weren’t the primary jokes Chappelle had made at trans folks’s expense. However he delivered them in New York after drawing some backlash for earlier feedback.

“That joke and others in this section suffer from the same problems as those from his specials – they are rooted in disgust and generalization,” Vulture wrote of a Chappelle joke about ISIS fighters being horrified by transgender troopers. “They’re just not good.”

August 26: Netflix launched a stand-up particular, “Sticks and Stones,” through which Chappelle carried out extra materials about trans folks, together with some content material from his Radio Metropolis reveals. In an epilogue to the particular, he introduced up his good friend Daphne Dorman, a trans comic, whom he mentioned laughed hardest at his jokes about trans folks.

October 5: Netflix launched Chappelle’s particular “The Closer.” In it, he goes on an prolonged tangent about transgender folks and makes a number of jokes at their expense. He misgenders a trans comic, as soon as once more makes specific jokes about trans ladies’s our bodies and defends TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists.

He additionally referred to trans folks as “transgenders,” states that “gender is a fact” and later says that Dorman died by suicide shortly after she was criticized by different trans folks for defending Chappelle after “Sticks and Stones.”

On the time Chappelle’s particular was launched, not less than 33 states had launched anti-transgender laws, a lot of it aimed toward younger trans folks.

October 13: Amid calls from LGBTQ advocates, fellow comedians, Netflix workers and social justice organizations to tug the particular, Netflix stood by Chappelle.

In a letter obtained by the Verge and Selection, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos advised workers that the particular will stay out there to stream.

“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line … Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering,” Sarandos wrote.

Netflix suspended three workers for attending a digital assembly of administrators to debate the particular with out notifying the assembly organizer prematurely. Amongst them was Terra Area, a trans senior software program engineer who had publicly criticized the particular and Netflix. Her suspension was later reversed.

October 19: Sarandos advised Selection he “screwed up” his communications with Netflix workers however reaffirmed he didn’t consider the particular qualifies as “hate speech.”

October 20: Round 65 demonstrators, together with Netflix workers and trans advocates, participated in a walkout in protest of Netflix’s help of “The Closer.” The demonstrators referred to as on Netflix to rent extra trans and non-binary executives and fund extra trans and non-binary expertise.

October 24: Three trans stand-up comics advised CNN they have been upset by Chappelle’s jokes, regardless that all three mentioned they as soon as thought-about the celebrated performer as a comedy inspiration. Whereas all of them agreed that jokes about trans folks aren’t inherently offensive, they mentioned Chappelle’s set was infused with the identical hateful rhetoric and language utilized by anti-transgender critics.

“When he talks about the trans community, he’s not talking about them, he’s speaking out against them,” comic Nat Puff advised CNN. “And that’s the difference between saying something funny about the trans community and saying something offensive about the trans community.”

A fourth comedian, Flame Monroe, one of many solely trans comics whose materials is streaming on Netflix, advised CNN she believes Chappelle must be allowed to joke about trans folks, regardless that she initially was greatly surprised by a few of his feedback.

October 25: Chappelle addressed critics at a present in Nashville, showing alongside Joe Rogan, the podcast host who’s been criticized for dismissing the effectiveness of vaccines and utilizing racial slurs, amongst different controversies.

Chappelle launched movies on his official Instagram account from the set, through which he seemingly addressed the trans workers at Netflix who participated within the walkout over “The Closer.”

“It seems like I’m the only one who can’t go to the office anymore,” he mentioned.

“I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames it as though it’s me versus that community, that’s not what it is,” Chappelle went on. “Do not blame the LBGTQ (sic) community for any of this s—. This has nothing to do with them. It’s about corporate interest and what I can say and what I cannot say.”

“For the record – and I need you to know this – everyone I know from that community has been nothing but loving and supportive. So I don’t know what all this nonsense is about.”

July 12: “The Closer” was nominated for 2 Emmys, together with “outstanding variety special (pre-recorded).” Adele later received the class.

July 21: A Minneapolis venue canceled Chappelle’s sold-out present hours earlier than its doorways have been set to open, apologizing to “staff, artists and our community” after receiving criticism for internet hosting Chappelle.

“We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have,” wrote First Avenue, the venue well-known for being featured in Prince’s “Purple Rain” movie.

November 5: “Saturday Night Live” announced Chappelle could be its post-midterms host. The backlash was swift.

Area joked on Twitter: “Wait I thought I cancelled (sic) him. Is it possible cancel culture isn’t a real thing??”

November 10: After the New York Put up reported that a number of “SNL” writers are boycotting Saturday’s episode, Chappelle’s representatives advised CNN there are not any points with writers or solid members. “SNL’s” present employees consists of nonbinary solid member Molly Kearney and nonbinary author Celeste Yim.

Chappelle will take the stage dwell Saturday at 11:30 p.m. ET.