In Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, The Closer, the comedian embarks upon a set that covers much of the same well-trod and offensive homophobic ground he’s covered in the past, resulting in criticism and a growing outcry that Netflix remove the special from its platform. Though Netflix has yet to take any solid action despite the outcry, the fact remains that Chappelle, is, once again, in the throes of a public cancelation—and he appears to be enjoying it!
On October 7, Chappelle headlined a screening of Untitled Dave Chappelle Documentary at the Hollywood Bowl. The movie is a documentary about Chappelle’s “Summer Camp” series, which were 50 small shows put on during the first summer of the pandemic, near his home of Yellow Springs, Ohio. These shows brought a lot of famous people to the town and also were meant to “reinvigorate” the spirits of the town, according to The Hollywood Reporter. After the documentary screened, Chappelle took the stage and relished in the applause, from famous people in attendance like Tiffany Haddish and Brad Pitt, then said some choice words about his current imbroglio.
“If this is what being canceled is like, I love it,” he said. “Fuck Twitter. Fuck NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid ass networks. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life.”
Chappelle’s early brand of comedy was “edgy” in 2003, when The Chappelle Show premiered, but his current brand of provocateur-adjacent material is offensive to the point of injury. Though previous iterations of his comedy specials on Netflix have also crossed over into transphobia and homophobia, The Closer doubled down on this rhetoric, enough so to cause an outcry amongst members of the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. It stands to reason that Chappelle should be canceled for his behavior, but the fact is that no one is ever really canceled— and that being branded as such isn’t permanent and doesn’t actually stick.
To his dubious credit, the evening at the Hollywood Bowl ended with Chappelle bringing Stevie Wonder on stage to deliver some closing remarks. “What we need to cancel is hate,” THR reports. “What we need to cancel is fear because we have to have love, and we should never cancel that.” And Chappelle was able to round out the evening by showing a glimmer of kindness, in a statement that counteracts his material: “Do something nice for someone who looks nothing like you,” he said. “We have to trust one another.”