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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.83 minutes to read.

“I was once a fan of the man and his comedy. I was entranced by his searing observations on race, and because of that I overlooked his homophobic comments. I cheered his bravery when he walked away from “Chappelle’s Show” on Comedy Central in 2006, which he later said was partly out of concern that he was perpetuating racial stereotypes rather than satirizing and challenging them after he noticed a staffer laughing at him, not with him. I supported his demands that Netflix remove the same program from its lineup because he didn’t think he was being fairly compensated…

The more I watched Chappelle’s work, however, the more his constant stream of humor hostile to LGBTQ people left a sour taste in my mouth. He often hits the mark on race even as he can’t see the humanity of gay people. Instead of coming up with better jokes that don’t verbally punch queer folks, he leans into the controversy masquerading as a truth-teller…

I don’t want Chappelle to be canceled. I want him to pull out the threads of homophobia and transphobia that run through the quilt of his otherwise brilliant work… There’s a difference between being the subject of a joke and being the butt of it. Dave Chappelle, who left Comedy Central when the laughing was at him instead of with him, should understand the distinction.”

–Michael Crawford, NBC News Opinion

“In “The Closer,” which ostensibly takes on cancel culture, Chappelle appears convinced the LGBTQ community is as focused on him as he is on them. I can assure you, queer people wouldn’t be speaking out against Chappelle if he didn’t incessantly rant about them.

Chappelle implies “that community” is too sensitive and quickly shouts “cancel culture” at his critics. Let’s be clear, he’s not canceled: Chappelle’s shows sell out, he lands major deals with streaming services and was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2019. Just because Chappelle is criticized on social media and the subject of think pieces doesn’t mean he’s been canceled…

If the restrictions on speech and expression Chappelle rails against truly existed, “The Closer” would never have been released. That’s not to say Chappelle doesn’t have a right to run his mouth. On the other hand, viewers also have the right to react. It cuts both ways, but it’s critical to remember that unlike the communities who bear the brunt of his jokes, Chappelle is in no way powerless.

The sad reality is trans people are still too often seen as freaks. Too many people still consider gay men as thin-skinned sissies, lesbians as man-hating and overly aggressive. Even on my own Instagram page, one person justified Chappelle with “gay jokes are funny.” God forbid they speak out; in Chappelle’s twisted universe, they are somehow the villain for being “too sensitive.”

I don’t know if Mr. Chappelle is anti-LGBTQ himself, but I do know his words will become weapons for transphobes and homophobes. He should ask himself why he is speaking their language.”

–Clay Cane, CNN Opinion

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.84 minutes to read.

“‘Gender is a fact’ would not have been a controversial statement 20 years ago, and only a small minority would disagree with that statement even today. If saying “Gender is a fact” makes you transphobic, no matter how respectful you may be of the feelings of trans people, no matter how gracious you may be to trans people, no matter if you have (as Chappelle has) set up a trust fund for the daughter of a trans person (Daphne), then the trans movement is insisting on ruling out of bounds the views of most people. When you declare most people out of bounds, though, you’re really just marking your own position as extreme. That isn’t the path to acceptance, and the angry calls by trans activists for Chappelle’s special to be yanked strike most people as far more troubling than anything Chappelle has ever said. Whatever happened to “agree to disagree”? Chappelle is telling trans folks, “I respect you, but I disagree with you.” Trans individuals and their allies reply that disagreement is itself disrespect, and not only is it disrespect, it’s hateful and beyond the pale. It must be punished. Chappelle is one of the finest practitioners of his art in America. Shutting him down can’t be the answer to the question of how trans people can gain respect.”

–Kyle Smith, National Review

“There’s an understandable tendency to view the debate about transgender ideology today as a marginal issue, affecting a minuscule number of people, and at most, a trivial matter in the larger culture wars. And I can see why. It does seem on the surface to be about maybe 0.2 percent of humanity. And if you venture an opinion on it, the consequences are intense — so why bother?

And, overwhelmingly, the elite media in the United States prevents readers from knowing that a debate is even happening, let alone what it is really about…

And so when the greatest living comedian, Dave Chappelle, bases almost an entire Netflix special on the subject — alternately hilarious and humane, brutal and true — and wades into the debate with wellies on, the exact same piece about the special will be written in much of elite media…

And guess what? They’re all wrong. Chappelle’s final Netflix special, “The Closer,” is a classic. Far from being outdated, it’s slightly ahead of its time, as the pushback against wokeness gains traction. It is extremely funny, a bit meta, monumentally mischievous, and I sat with another homo through the whole thing, stoned, laughing our asses off — especially when he made fun of us. The way the elite media portrays us, you’d think every member of the BLT community is so fragile we cannot laugh at ourselves. It doesn’t occur to them that, for many of us, Chappelle is a breath of honest air, doing what every comic should do: take aim at every suffocating piety of the powers that be — including the increasingly weird 2SLGBTQQIA+ mafia — and detonating them all.”

–Andrew Sullivan, Substack