Forget about canceling provocateur Chappelle’s show… The black celebrities who dishonor their own race are the ones who truly deserve our contempt.
David Matthews is a journalist whose work has appeared in publications such as The Sunday Times, The Mail on Sunday, and The Observer, as well as on the BBC and Channel 4. He is the author of various works, including Voices of the Windrush Generation (Voices of the Windrush Generation). @mrdavematthews is his Twitter handle.
Dave Chappelle is a stand-up comedian. Aren’t you smitten with him? I mean, do you despise him? I mean, do you love to despise him…? Whatever. While the debate continues over whether the self-described “transphobic comedian” deserves to be declared persona non grata for making millions of dollars telling jokes that some people may find offensive, Netflix has suspended a lowly trans employee who tweeted that Chappelle’s latest special, “The Closer,” was a “attack” pitting “us [the trans community]against other marginalized groups.” Oh, my goodness.
Meanwhile, after enjoying a pyrotechnics entrance and a standing ovation at a screening of his untitled documentary at the Hollywood Bowl last Thursday, the 46-year-old comedian, who has already doubled down on his jokes about LGBTQ people, trebled down on the ever-growing ‘translash’ against him. He exclaimed at the crowded LA stadium, “If this is what getting cancelled is like, I love it!” Jaclyn Moore, the showrunner of ‘Dear White People,’ stop it! While female academics, authors, and MPs like Kathleen Stock, J.K. Rowling, and Rosie Duffield can be held accountable for suggesting that women – can we say women, Ed? – have, er, cervixes and vaginas and occasionally have babies and stuff, male comedians, particularly black male comedians, have gotten a pass in recent decades when it comes to playing the court jester card.
Because they have an impenetrable humour wall behind which they can hide, a shield that screams, “I’m only joking, bitches!” black comedians know they can get away with the most deceitful, treasonous, despotic, and yes, transphobic comedy on the globe.
To his credit, Chappelle, like many black comedians, uses his ‘luxury’ to confront culture war hypocrisy, racism, sexual politics, and more racism (we like racism being challenged), resulting in a fascinating but flawed routine. In some respects, his act resembles a combination between a drunken TED Talk and a raunchy best man’s speech, as he tries to flesh out and unpick the intersectional funny bone between the black experience and transgenderism with mediocre results.
Despite the lengths, misfired wit, and at times ‘just give me the f**king cheque’ sloth in his ostensibly final Netflix outing, Chappelle remains the funniest act. News from Brinkwire in a nutshell. Search the internet for further information.