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Friday Movie Review: Dave Chappelle’s The Closer

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

It is difficult to sum up a comedy routine like Dave Chappelle’s sixth and “final” Netflix special The Closer. Please note that as a conservative white woman, most of his jokes just aren’t as funny to me. I wouldn’t call them offensive because comedy, if done correctly, will always be offensive to someone. Humans can’t help it. We personalize things too much and we become defensive of those things, but if we’re honest we can still find humor in those taboo subjects.

We are told comedy is one of the last bastions of free speech and yet day by day cancel culture comes for the court jesters of our society with alarming speed and efficiency. No longer are the elites of Hollywood humbled by the clowns. And one subsection of humanity seems to be more protected than others from such jokes and humility. This is really Dave Chappelle’s main theme in the special.

I was fully prepared to dislike Dave Chappelle’s comedy at the beginning of the special. I chuckled a few times, I won’t lie, but it’s not something easily relatable to me. Especially when I start off on the defense. Why? Because the majority of his specials are usually about the same tired topic… Race/Racism.

But then he got to his prior jokes about people in the LGBT community. As reported earlier this week, he’s yet again facing backlash for all those hurt feelings. Instead of race, this special was focused on the matter of LGBT insanity.

I won’t ruin the special for those of you that are fans of his with too many quotes if you haven’t seen it. I will simply say that he caught me off guard. For all the hate the left is throwing at him over his special which has been deemed “bigoted” or “socially irresponsible”, there were many, many valid points that were made while he was on that stage in Detroit, Michigan.

Ironically, if you watch his audience you can see who was caught off guard in a negative way. You can see their shocked and disgusted expressions. His main point for the entire show was proven effectively by his own audience.

It’s been okay for decades to joke about race and religion. It’s been okay for black men to use the N word indiscriminately (“hard R” or otherwise). It’s okay to call women all sorts of foul names almost non-stop. It’s okay to make jokes about little boys being sexually assaulted by priests. It’s even okay to make jokes about beating women.

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But you know what it’s not okay to do in today’s society?

Joke about anything having to do with the LGBTQ+ community. Black or white, at least five or six faces in the front rows of that audience fell drastically when the subject was breached. They stopped laughing when Chappelle talked about JK Rowling, or transgenders, or biological sex being a fact. From what I could see as the camera kept zooming in on them, they didn’t laugh for the remainder of the night.

At one point, Chappelle’s comedic style goes for the lecturing tone, but what he had to say was in defense of himself and a friend. This friend was an amateur comedian that just happened to be a male-to-female transgender called Daphne Dorman. Chappelle, who Daphne considered a hero, asked the amateur to come headline his act for the Sticks and Stones tour while in San Francisco. Despite “bombing” hard for 45 minutes, Daphne finished the routine, joined the audience and then joked and talked to Chappelle throughout his performance that night.

Daphne at one point told him after some joking about trans issues, “I just need you to believe that I am having a human experience!” to which Chappelle replied, “I believe you, b****” and then he explained to the crowd. Chappelle said; “I know I believe you, because it takes one to know one.”

Hate his politics, hate his comedic style, you’re welcome to do both. But he’s not wrong on this one. We’re all human and it takes a human to know a human. This isn’t something that most of the conservatives I know need to learn, at least not typically… It’s the Left that need to learn how to be tolerant and accepting of all people, not just their preferred minority group of the week.

Daphne committed suicide not long after it was discovered that the transwoman provided the opening to Chappelle’s act. While the comedian didn’t come right out and accuse the Twitter mob of pushing Daphne to jump off a roof, Chappelle made it clear he didn’t think being “dragged” on the internet helped, either. Especially as most of those criticizing Daphne, did so because of the friendship with “transphobic” Chappelle.

He reminded his present audience and viewers at home that cancel culture destroys lives. “Remember, taking a man’s livelihood is akin to killing him.”

Grade: B-