Dave Chappelle has completed his series of comedy specials with Netflix. The comedian and streaming giant have enjoyed a nice run together; they brought him out of retirement and he’s been able to get his cult-like following to the service. “The Closer” went up on the site this past week, and for his final special with Netflix Chappelle held nothing back. Naturally he offended everyone, with several groups calling to “cancel” the comedian yet again.
The show was filmed in Detroit, a city Dave jokes he might have dragged a little too hard during his first special with Netflix. During a trailer for the special, actor Morgan Freedman narrates as Dave Chappelle drives a car. He says in the voiceover, “Five specials in as many years, how do you close a body of work that profound?” At the top of his set, Dave doubled down warning fans that this might be the last time they see him for a bit. “This is gonna be my last special for a minute.”
Initial reviews of the show have been mostly mixed, with many calling out Dave for being transphobic and homophobic, something he’s been synonymous with over the years. Twitter did the most damage, with many calling for the special to be pulled and Dave to be “canceled.” A trans Netflix employee tweeted, “I work at @netflix. Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community and the very validity of transness – all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups.”
Someone tweeted in support of Chappelle, saying, “You can’t cancel a man that canceled himself and walked away from $50 Million. He has no criminal activities you can use against him either. I’m interested in seeing y’all try tho.” One of the most emotional moments from the comedy special came when Dave Chappelle told the story about his transgender friend, Daphne Dorman. Daphne would regularly attend Chappelle’s show every time he performed in the Bay Area. Eventually, the two connected, and Chappelle discovered she was an aspiring comedian. Chappelle gave her an opportunity to open a show for him. He joked about Daphne not being great and bombing her set for 45mins, but the two remained friends.
Unfortunately, Daphne would go on to take her own life. Prior to her passing, she would tweet regularly in support of her friend. In August of 2019, following the release of “Sticks and Stones,” Daphne tweeted in support of her friend claiming he’s a master of his craft.
Punching down requires you to consider yourself superior to another group. @DaveChappelle doesn’t consider himself better than me in any way. He isn’t punching up or punching down. He’s punching lines. That’s his job and he’s a master of his craft. #SticksAndStones #imthatdaphne— Daphne Dorman (@DaphneDorman) August 29, 2019
Following The Closer’s release, Daphne’s family came out in support of Dave. Her sisters recalled how much she loved Dave and was in “awe of him”. They also defended him, saying he is an LGBTQ+ alley. Despite all of this, people might still feel the need to try and “end” Dave’s career, something he prepared for in his special. When discussing people “canceling” him on Twitter in the past, he told the crowd, “Apparently, they dragged me on Twitter. I don’t give a […] because Twitter is not a real place.”