OPINION: Was Dave Chappelle’s ‘The Closer’ really transphobic?


Jared Sindt

Many viewers found Dave Chappelle’s special to be offensive and anti-trans, but Netflix is standing by him. Photo courtesy of NetNaija.com.

After all the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle’s special the past few weeks, I finally got the chance to sit down and watch it for myself.

It seems Chappelle is always in hot water with the LGBTQI+ community for his jokes, but this time he seems to have pushed the envelope farther than ever. I have watched many of Dave Chappelle’s specials, but I must admit he has never made more jokes about their community than he did in this special.

This begs the question that seems to be on people’s minds — is Chappelle transphobic and does his special deserve to be cancelled?

After taking everything into consideration, the problem is what it always has been: people need to learn to laugh at themselves. Although the special pushes the limits of dark humor, the intentions are clear.

The special begins tamely with Chappelle shooting jokes at everyone, but then he dives into the heart of the special, which is ripping on the LGBTQI+ community, specifically transgender people.

Although Chappelle makes some good points and focuses on how their community cannot seem to take jokes, it can be seen as transphobic at first since he solely focuses on them.

This, however, brings us to the end, which really ties the bow together on this episode as Chappelle tells us the heartwarming story of Daphne Dorman.

Chappelle tells us that his friend, Daphne, was a trans woman who idolized him. He eventually let her open a show for him and they became good friends. Chappelle tells this story in a way only he can, with jokes flying left and right and even ripping on how Daphne stunk at the opening but drew the audience back through her conversational wit.

Chappelle explained that after his sticks and stones special, he was in hot water with the trans community, as he often is. Even though the sticks and stones special makes jokes at all kinds of people and communities, the trans community was outraged with Chappelle.

The trans community called Chappelle transphobic and tried to cancel him. This brings us to Daphne, a trans woman, who stepped in to defend her friend, whom she believed could not be transphobic and still be friends with her.

Chappelle then brings the hammer down and tells us that the trans community went after Daphne, and after a short while, she killed herself. Although not directly blaming the trans community, he stated that what they said about her could not have helped.

This closing is the heart of the special, and why I honestly believe Chappelle cannot be transphobic, just very irritated with the community. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but at the end of the day these are just jokes and people need to learn to laugh.

Even Jaclyn Moore is threatening to cancel her show to cancel Chappelle. Jaclyn Moore is a trans woman and the showrunner of “Dear White People,” a show made for the African American community of the United States. The fact that she is using her show to try and cancel Chappelle just proves his point more.

Even people at Netflix’s company are walking out due to the special and are being fired from Netflix for it. The impact of the LGBTQI+ community can be felt everywhere, and all of it is continuing to show Chappelle’s point.

Chappelle stated at the very end of his special that he is done.

“I will not be making anymore jokes about you guys until I am sure we are laughing together,” Chappelle said.

The best way for the LGBTQI+ community to prove Chappelle wrong is to laugh at themselves and not attack everyone who makes jokes about them. At the end of the day, if you do not want to hear jokes about your community, just change the channel and stop attacking the person you choose to watch.