June 14, 2024

Dave Chappelle Courts Controversy Yet Again with New Netflix Special “The Dreamer”

Written by AiBot

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Jan 1, 2024

Comedian Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, “The Dreamer”, debuted on December 31st, once again stirring up controversy over his jokes targeting transgender people and other marginalized groups.


Chappelle has faced backlash since his last Netflix special, 2021’s “The Closer”, for transphobic and homophobic jokes. Despite protests from LGBTQ advocates and Netflix employees, the streaming giant has continued to partner with the comedian.

His upcoming New Year’s Eve special was announced in mid-December with a trailer narrated by Morgan Freeman. While Netflix and Chappelle remained mum on the contents, the title “The Dreamer” implied lofty and optimistic themes.

New Special Includes Raunchy Humor, Seemingly Anti-Trans Jokes

However, upon its premiere, numerous outlets reported that “The Dreamer” doubles down on provocative humor targeting transgender and disabled people.

Chappelle allegedly opened his set at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta by greeting the audience as “ladies and gentlemen, girls and women, transgenders and transies.” He later joked about a transgender friend meeting a woman in a bar and asking what she had “down there,” employing an offensive slur.

The special also apparently includes raunchy humor about chimpanzee genitalia as well as graphic jokes regarding youth gender confirmation surgery.

Chappelle Compares Onstage Assault to Will Smith Oscars Slap

In a widely reported section, Chappelle compared his onstage assault at the Hollywood Bowl last May to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. He joked that Smith’s slap was orchestrated by transgender people to divert attention away from his special.

“It was a trans man,” Chappelle says, indicating that a transgender person incited Smith’s attack on Rock on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

Reactions: From Outrage to Laughs

Chappelle’s unapologetic doubling down has sparked largely negative reactions from LGBTQ organizations and public figures:

  • GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said, “Dave Chappelle’s comedy is simply not funny and his ongoing attacks against marginalized communities are painful and dangerous.”
  • Transgender writer Charlotte Clymer tweeted: “Chappelle goes after just about every group he can. Nothing is too low or too cruel for him. Because painfully unfunny transphobia and homophobia disguised as edgy humor pays his bills.”
  • However, the special has also drawn laughs and cheers from live audiences as well as some fans online claiming critics are overly sensitive or humorless. on social media:
Source Quote
Twitter User “5 minutes in and I already love it. So many snowflakes offended right now”
Youtube comment “The GOAT is back with straight fire as usual”

Trailer Hinting at Special’s Tone Narrated by Morgan Freeman

In retrospect, the trailer for “The Dreamer” offered hints at the provocative tone of Chappelle’s latest special.

Released on December 24th, the 90-second trailer is narrated by the legendary actor Morgan Freeman. Set against historical black-and-white clips, Freeman dramatically champions Chappelle as a visionary comedic voice “weaving history into a tapestry that enthralls the senses.”

Visuals Touch on Racial Strife and Injustice

The trailer combines archival footage depicting racism, such as the assault of a freedom rider in Alabama or fire hoses turned on young civil rights protesters, with clips of Chappelle performing standup onstage.

This juxtaposition frames the comedian as a descendant of civil rights trailblazers, aligned with a legacy of fighting against oppression and injustice. Critics argue this lofty framing rings hollow given Chappelle’s jokes deriding marginalized communities.

Questions Over Netflix’s Continued Partnership

The controversy once again spotlights Netflix’s steadfast commitment to Chappelle despite recurring backlash surrounding his commentary on gender identity and ongoing partnerships with the star.

After “The Closer” debuted in October 2021, transgender Netflix employees and allies staged a walkout in protest. Netflix has continued to host Chappelle’s content, including 2022’s documentary “What’s in a Name?” and his surprise Michigan performance weeks after the Hollywood Bowl attack.

It remains unclear if new calls for the platform to sever ties with the comedian over “The Dreamer” will pressure Netflix to reconsider its relationship.

What Comes Next? Pushback and Continued Success Likely

So what happens now that Chappelle has once again provoked the ire of critics and activists with his uncompromising brand of humor?

If the fallout from “The Closer” offers any precedent, we will likely see continued public outcry, potential organized protests targeting Netflix, and calls to #CancelChappelle on social media. LGBTQ media watchdog GLAAD has demanded Netflix pull “The Dreamer” from its catalog.

However, these campaigns are unlikely to dent Chappelle’s soaring success. Despite the firestorm of controversy, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has stated that “The Closer” was one of the streamer’s most popular comedy specials ever.

Similarly, while Chappelle’s remaining tour dates were postponed after he was attacked onstage in May, he soon announced new multi-million dollar arena tour dates for 2023 with Chris Rock.

In short, while Chappelle has repeatedly affirmed his commitment to unconstrained creative expression regardless of blowback, his controversies do not appear to diminish his status as one of the most acclaimed and highest-paid standup stars worldwide.

Love him or hate him, Dave Chappelle continues finding phenomenal success courting outrage and amplification from his critics as much as from his fans. Though “The Dreamer” may face calls for censorship or cancellation, if history offers any lesson, neither the comedian nor Netflix will be dissuaded from offering his unique voice a prominent platform for the foreseeable future.




AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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