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 geared toward transgender folks, and the outcry grew louder final fall when Netflix launched a Chappelle particular, “The Closer,” during 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 comments were 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.

On condition 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 latest historical past of jokes about trans folks – and the ensuing backlash.

August: In a sequence of stand-up exhibits at New York Metropolis’s Radio Metropolis Music Corridor, Chappelle made jokes geared toward trans folks for a minimum of 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 on this part endure from the identical issues as these from his specials – they’re rooted in disgust and generalization,” Vulture wrote of a Chappelle joke about ISIS fighters being horrified by transgender troopers. “They’re simply not good.”

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

October 5: Netflix launched Chappelle’s particular “The Nearer.” In it, he goes on an extended tangent about transgender people 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 truth” 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, at least 33 states had introduced anti-transgender legislation, a lot of it geared 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 accessible to stream.

“We don’t permit titles on Netflix which are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t imagine ‘The Nearer’ crosses that line … Some folks discover the artwork of stand-up to be imply spirited however our members get pleasure from it, and it’s an vital a part of our content material providing,” Sarandos wrote.

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

Dave Chappelle attends the UK premiere of

October 19: Sarandos advised Variety he “screwed up” his communications with Netflix workers however reaffirmed he didn’t imagine 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 assist of “The Nearer.” The demonstrators known 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 told CNN they had been disenchanted 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 in regards to the trans neighborhood, he’s not speaking about them, he’s talking out in opposition to them,” comic Nat Puff advised CNN. “And that’s the distinction between saying one thing humorous in regards to the trans neighborhood and saying one thing offensive in regards to the trans neighborhood.”

A fourth comedian, Flame Monroe, one of many solely trans comics whose materials is streaming on Netflix, advised CNN she believes Chappelle ought to be allowed to joke about trans folks, regardless that she initially was shocked 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, during which he seemingly addressed the trans workers at Netflix who participated within the walkout over “The Nearer.”

“It looks like I’m the one one who can’t go to the workplace anymore,” he mentioned.

“I need everybody on this viewers to know that regardless that the media frames it as if it’s me versus that neighborhood, that’s not what it’s,” Chappelle went on. “Don’t blame the LBGTQ (sic) neighborhood for any of this s—. This has nothing to do with them. It’s about company curiosity and what I can say and what I can not say.”

“For the report – and I would like you to know this – everybody I do know from that neighborhood has been nothing however loving and supportive. So I don’t know what all this nonsense is about.”

July 12: “The Nearer” was nominated for two Emmys, together with “excellent selection particular (pre-recorded).” Adele later gained the class.

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

“We imagine in various voices and the liberty of inventive expression, however in honoring that, we overlooked the affect this could have,” wrote First Avenue, the venue well-known for being featured in Prince’s “Purple Rain” movie.

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

Discipline joked on Twitter: “Wait I assumed I cancelled (sic) him. Is it attainable cancel tradition isn’t an actual factor??”

November 10: After the New York Put up reported that a number of “SNL” writers are boycotting Saturday’s episode, Chappelle’s representatives told CNN there are not any points with writers or solid members. “SNL’s” present workers 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.

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