Stand-up comic Dave Chappelle found himself in hot water again for taking aim at transgender people, a topic for which he's faced backlash before.
Chappelle came under scrutiny for his remarks about the LGBTQ+ community—specifically, trans people—in his 2021 Netflix special The Closer.
In his newest Netflix comedy special The Dreamer, Chappelle sarcastically expressed regret for his transphobic jokes by poking fun at the same marginalized community in addition to mocking disabled people.
Chappelle told the audience in the opening comments from The Dreamer:
“If you guys came here to this show tonight thinking that I’m going to make fun of those people again, you’ve come to the wrong show."
"I’m not f'king with those people anymore. It wasn’t worth the trouble. I ain’t saying shit about them. Maybe three or four times tonight, but that’s it."
"I’m tired of talking about them. And you want to know why I’m tired of talking about them?"
"Because these people acted like I needed them to be funny. Well, that’s ridiculous. I don’t need you."
"I got a whole new angle coming. You guys will never see this sh*t coming. I ain’t doing trans jokes no more.”
Chappelle then declared his comedy routine was going in a new direction by targeting disabled people.
"Tonight, I'm doing all handicapped jokes," snarked Chappelle, adding:
"They're not as organized as the gays and I love punching down."
He took aim at former GOP North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn, who is paraplegic, with an anecdote about allegedly meeting and physically taunting him.
"Then I just walked away. I wanted him to see me do something he couldn't do. I skipped."
While some fans argued that all demographics were fair game, some felt his latest routine was uninspired and humorless.
@nypost Oh wow, how edgy and provocative. A comedian making jokes about marginalized groups. That's definitely something we haven't seen before. And let's all pretend like Dave Chappelle is some kind of brave truth-teller for doing so, as if making jokes at the expense of marginalized\xe2\x80\xa6— (@)
Later in the special, Chappelle revisited the topic of the trans community and said:
“To be honest with you, I’ve been trying to repair my relationship with the transgender community cause I don’t want them to think that I don’t like them."
"You know how I’ve been repairing it? I wrote a play. I did. Cause I know that gays love plays. It’s a very sad play, but it’s moving."
"It’s about a Black transgender woman whose pronoun is, sadly, n***a. It’s a tear-jerker. At the end of the play she dies of loneliness cause white liberals don’t know how to speak to her. It’s sad.”
“God forbid I ever go to jail. But if I do, I hope it’s in California. Soon as the judge sentences me, I’ll be like, ‘Before you sentence me, I want the court to know I identify as a woman. Send me to a woman’s jail.’"
"As soon I get in there, you know what I’mma be doing. ‘Give me your fruit cocktail, b*tch, before I knock your motherf'king teeth out. I’m a girl, just like you, b*tch. Come here and suck this girl d*ck I got. Don’t make me explain myself. I’m a girl.'”
Chappelle's jokes in 2021's The Closer made at the expense of trans people were labeled harmful and they resulted in Netflix employees staging walk-outs and joining protests in solidarity with the trans and LGBTQ+ community.
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos initially defended Chappelle's right to freedom of speech in a memo to employees but later admitted he "screwed up” his handling of internal company correspondence.
"In all my communications I should lean into the humanity up front and not make a blanket statement that could land very differently than it was intended," he told Variety, addressing the fallout.
In a December 31 article, the publication noted that the end credits for The Dreamer include a photo of Sarandos and Chappelle smiling together.