Comedian Dave Chappelle, who was the subject of a cancel campaign and even a boycott of Netflix, is making waves once again with the release of a new special “What’s in a Name?”, describing some of the students who criticized him as “instruments of oppression” by regurgitating words they did not understand.
The special, which Netflix dropped on Thursday, consists of a speech in which the popular comedian addresses the backlash he received for making so-called “transphobic jokes” in his standup.
The speech, which took place at Chappelle’s alma mater, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in November 2021, during a planned event to rename the school’s theater after him. The event saw the comedian booed and cheered by different segments of the audience.
Chappelle fended off the woke mob and took questions from numerous hostile students, including one who accused him of being childish and denounced him as a “bigot,” Rebel News reported.
Chappelle announced that he decided against having the theatre named after him, and the space was ultimately named the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression in his honour.
“All the kids were screaming and yelling. I remember, I said to the kids, I go, ‘Well, okay, well what do you guys think I did wrong?’ And a line formed. These kids said everything about gender, and this and that and the other, but they didn’t say anything about art,” Chappelle said, Variety reported.
“And this is my biggest gripe with this whole controversy with ‘The Closer’: That you cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance from his words. It would be like if you were reading a newspaper and they say, ‘Man Shot in the Face by a Six-Foot Rabbit Expected to Survive,’ you’d be like, ‘Oh my god,’ and they never tell you it’s a Bugs Bunny cartoon.”
While Chappelle took much of the criticism in stride, he admitted that he was personally affected by some of their comments.
“When I heard those talking points coming out of these children’s faces, that really, sincerely, hurt me,” Chappelle said. “Because I know those kids didn’t come up with those words. I’ve heard those words before. The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it.”
“And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom, of artistic expression,” he added. “That is valuable to me. That is not severed from me. It’s worth protecting for me, and it’s worth protecting for everyone else who endeavors in our noble, noble professions.”
“And these kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression. And I didn’t get mad at them,” Chappelle concluded. “They’re kids. They’re freshmen. They’re not ready yet. They don’t know.”