It’s been a few years since we’ve had to deal with a fresh Dave Chappelle special. In 2021, when the comic released The Closer on Netflix, there was widespread uproar from the queer community. It was understandable: between Chappelle’s insistence on making trans women the butt of most of his jokes and Netflix’s decision to air the special, trans folks felt ignored, betrayed, and worst of all, scared. Chappelle may have been out of the game for a while, but his audience remains large, and weirdly devoted. Netflix refused to do anything about it, spurring a mass walkout.
Now Chappelle is back with a new special, and surprise surprise, it promises to be just as trans-obsessed as the last. Instead of taking the L, Netflix is doubling down by platforming comics like Ricky Gervais, Matt Rife, and Chappelle, who find humor in punching down. Early this month, the streaming platform announced a new special from Chappelle set to air on the 31st.
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While we can’t say for certain what the new special is about, the comedian’s seeming inability to leave trans people alone doesn’t bode well for a community that’s already suffering on the legislative level.
This year has seen a series of insidious attacks against trans people in school, in public, and even extending to government employees. As journalist Erin Reed has pointed out, anti-trans politicians are using trans kids as part of their platform, going so far as to attempt to make social transition illegal in certain states.
We’ll see exactly what Chappelle’s special is made of when it airs on the 31st—until then, we’ll be doing our level best to forget it exists.
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