Comedians have always been known to push the boundaries, and joker Dave Chappelle is no exception. But these days, social justice warriors have strong opinions about just how far the funny can go, and about who and who cannot be targets of mockery by comedians.
On Tuesday, Netflix released two new specials hosted by the beloved former “Chappelle Show” host, but not everyone is laughing at the comedian’s jokes about the LGBT community and Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case, the Charlotte Observer reported.
The two shows — titled, “The Age of Spin: Live at the Hollywood Palladium” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas: Live at Austin City Limits” – fit the mold with Chappelle’s characteristic boundary-pushing comedy.
One of the most prominent critics of Chappelle’s jokes is April Reign, the Washington, D.C.-based writer and ex-lawyer known for launching the “#OscarsSoWhite” movement in 2015. She said the comedian’s jokes were “homophobic and transphobic and involved rape culture.”
But Chappelle's material was homophobic and transphobic and involved rape culture. I've grown too much not to speak up about it now.— April (@April)1490149216.0
I would be a hypocrite, a failure as a supporter of LGTBQIA folks & sexual abuse survivors to sit quietly & say nothing about Chappelle.— April (@April)1490149489.0
Another Twitter user, King Kortney, founder of Trans Hack, a company that creates technology that “economically empowers” transgender people, said he was “really offended” by Chappelle’s Netflix series.
There were some, though, who used social media to defend Chappelle, who took a nearly 12-year hiatus from comedy before his shows aired online on Tuesday.
Jake Woolf, a writer for GQ magazine, said he doesn’t like that the comedian has to “explain his jokes mid show because he’s worried about offending people.”
In mid November, Chappelle returned to the limelight when he hosted NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” following the election of President Donald Trump.
Chappelle, alongside fellow comedian Chris Rock, used the appearance to poke fun at liberals upset by Trump’s victory over former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
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The SNL skit portrayed an election-night party, and when Trump won Alaska, one of the white characters reacted, “Oh my God, I think America is racist.”
“I remember my great-grandfather told me something like that,” Chappelle responded. “He was like a slave or something, I don’t know.”
And when another friend wondered why black voters didn’t turn out for Clinton the way they did for former President Barack Obama, Rock said it might have something to do with the Democratic Party “replacing a charismatic 40-year-old black guy with a 70-year-old white woman.”
Chappelle’s next series is set to launch later this year.
(Content warning: Some readers might find the language in the below trailer offensive.)