Comedian Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix special, The Closer, is his last for the service as he concludes a multi-project deal spanning several years and while he tries to pass it off as an examination of racism and LGBTQ issues, it comes across more as a hypocritical justification of a career spent making vulnerable people feel like shit.
To cap off his numerous comedy specials, Chappelle pledged not to make jokes about the LGBTQ community any longer, offered to negotiate terms for rapper DaBaby, and announced he is a transgender exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) before launching into a derogatory diatribe about transgender women’s genitals.
The collective of so-called “feminists” count Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling among them. Rowling has regularly amplified anti-trans talking points and insinuates that trans women are violent and dangerous.
TERFs have a long history of aligning themselves with the religious right when it comes to transgender people – trans women, in particular. They tend to support laws that exclude trans people from the proper bathroom and sex-segregated facilities and blatantly advocate against trans civil rights using language eerily reminiscent of the fringes of religious conservatives’ horror stories about LGBTQ people.
Chappelle also amplified that claim, saying trans women, in particular, “want me dead.” Throughout the special, he repeatedly circles back to pitting racism against anti-LGBTQ animus.
After pointing out that DaBaby had killed another man and still continued to perform and escaped punishment, but got “cancelled” after making incredibly derogatory comments about gay people, Chappelle made the comparison direct.
“Do you see where I’m going with this?” he quipped. “In our country, you can shoot and kill a n****r, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings!”
Later in the special, Chappelle highlighted the controversy surrounding Rowling and proudly proclaimed that he believed the same thing as Rowling. While transgender women are women, they aren’t “real” women.
After giving the audience an abbreviated and sanitized definition of what a TERF believes, Chappelle made sure his fans knew, “I’m team TERF!”
“Gender is a fact,” he continued. “Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. That is a fact. Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those pussies that they got… you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not pussy, but it’s Beyond Pussy or Impossible Pussy. It tastes like pussy, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood, that’s beet juice.”
He continued to air his grievances with trans people and allies who have confronted him over things he said before, painting himself as a victim of persecution while listing the positive things he’s done for transgender people. He hasn’t been perfect, he says, but he’s evolving.
In the end, he proclaims that he’s done making jokes about “LBGTQ, LMNOPQXYZ people,” saying “it is over.”
“I am not telling another joke about you,” he said, “until we are both sure that we are laughing together.”
“All I ask from your community, with all humility, will you please stop punching down on my community?”