Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Observations from Dave Chappelle: The Closer

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 10, 2021

Last night, I watched Dave Chappelle’s “comedy” show “The Closer” on Netflix.

The word comedy appears in quotation marks because, Mr. Chappelle’s performance is not comedy. Not practically, anyway.  Only virtually.

Did the audience laugh? Yes, a few times.

But a few laughs does not a comedian make.

Is Dave Chappelle a funny man?

He sure is! And, he’s had some absolutely BRILLIANT strokes of comedic genius — at least to my way of thinking.

The list of Mr. Chappelle’s awards for comedic excellence tell but a partial story, and includes:

3 Grammy Awards for Best Comedy Album;

5 Emmy Awards — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2021, Dave Chappelle, Host Saturday Night Live “Host: Dave Chappelle”),

• 2-Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) (2018, Dave Chappelle: Equanimity; 2020, Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones),

• Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special (2020, Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones), and

• Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2017, Dave Chappelle, Host Saturday Night Live “Host: Dave Chappelle”); and the coveted

Mark Twain Prize for American Humor presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., among others. Of note, Richard Pryor was the award’s first recipient.

He’s certainly not a comedian along the lines, or in the style of comedienne Carol Burnett (also a Mark Twain Prize laureate), and her co-stars Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, and Vicki Lawrence, but when his series “Chappelle’s Show” (2003-2006) was in production on The Comedy Channel, one of his most brilliant pieces (in my estimation) was “Clayton Bigsby, the World’s Only Black White Supremacist.” Perhaps you’re familiar with it.

Neither is Mr. Chappelle’s comedy style like the acerbic, even venomous, late comedian Don Rickles, infamous for his notoriously wicked, and caustic sense of humor.

Nor is Mr. Chappelle’s humor like that of the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who, as he constantly reminded us, got no respect. His brand of self-deprecating humor was his iconic comedic trademark.

No, Mr. Chappelle’s style of humor is somewhat a blend of the above-mentioned comics, and incorporates elements of them all.

To be funny, comedy must, and does, examine real life. There’s science fiction, and science fiction comedy (such as “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” or “Doctor Who” parodies), but there’s no “fantasy comedy.” Everything comedy does, is based upon real life, or examples which could be real – or believable. But at its core, it is human action and interaction which forms the basis of comedy.

And, to be certain, as obliquely implied above, there are various styles of comedic presentation. Slapstick, sarcasm, irony, hypocrisy, stupidity, comédie noire, physical humor (such as with the late John Ritter, of “Three’s Company”), spoof, burlesque, surreal (such as with the play “Waiting for Godot”), lowbrow/highbrow, etc., are but a few of the numerous styles and types of comedy.

But again, they’re all based in reality, insofar as the events and actions they portray are, or could be, true, or actually occur.

But Mr. Chappelle’s performance in “The Closer” on Netflix was more a focus upon social commentary, and a period in his life in the earlier stages of his career in which he was perceived as “transphobic” (as he said) by the LGBTQ community. And in that sense, it was less about comedy — though there were a few physical gags (placing his hand in front of his crotch as if holding his penis to urinate), and mental pictures planted in the audience member’s imaginations — and more about social commentary… along with abundant explanatory self-defense.

In setting the background to establish the premise of his performance, Mr. Chappelle took effort to portray himself as an average mid-Westerner, a family man from a small, rural Ohio town — one with a population significantly under 5,000 — and one who occasionally shops at Wal-Mart, as many Americans do. He also made it a point to let the audience know that he was Black man, as if they didn’t already know, or couldn’t tell by looking at him. However, he very rarely openly stated that he was a Black man — most were only by implication, and association.

Throughout his entire Netflix performance in “The Closer,” Mr. Chappelle’s “humor” was more an example of life’s genuine absurdities, commingled with the sufferings it also often brings. Such dark humor has often been associated with and among the Jewish community, where similar suffering has been a characteristic hallmark among that people group.

And, true to form, from the outset of his monologue, as he did in almost each instance, Mr. Chappelle identified the basis of his observations, before, or sometimes after, making a comedic remark.

He “tested” his audience to determine if they would understand, or “get it” when he twice shared the “Space Jews” trope.

In one such instance he described sitting at home in COVID quarantine and watching videos all day long, and said that he would call his next movie “Space Jews.”

“These UFOs keep coming to Earth and it made me think of an idea for a movie. Sounds dumb, but hear me out. In my movie idea, we find out that these aliens are originally from Earth — that they are from an ancient civilization that achieved interstellar travel and left the Earth thousands of years ago. Some other planet that they go to, and things go terrible for them on the other planet, so they come back to Earth, [and] decide that they want to claim the Earth for their very own. It’s a pretty good plot line, huh?

“Yeah! I call it ‘Space Jews.’ ‘Space Jews.’”

He paused purposely, albeit briefly, for response, but the audience members at The Fillmore, in downtown Detroit, MI where his August performance was recorded, were mostly silent to that joke.

Mr. Chappelle then said:

“Alright, it’s gonna get worse than that – hang in there.”

Shortly after that, he then related a story from America’s slavery era, in which a White slave owner granted one of his slaves, a Black man, freedom; that freedman then went on to own farmland and bought slaves of his own. Mr. Chappelle remarked that,

“Not only was he a slave owner, he became a slave breeder and employed tactics that were so cruel, even White slave owners were like, ‘Yo, my man.’ He was a wild dude, but he did it because that’s what successful people did at the time.”

Following his relating of that story, Mr. Chappelle then rhetorically asked,
“How can a person that went through slavery perpetuate the same evil on a person that looks just like him? It’s mind blowing. And shockingly, they’re making a movie about him. Ironically, it’s called ‘Space Jews.’”

“Space Jews. [distant chuckling] The point of that story is this person was invested in a construct. That was the construct of successful people and he just followed the roadmap of successful people. He followed what they called “an incentive.” Now, everyone struggles, but I’m very invested in the gender construct, personally. ‘Cause I’m a man with kids, and a wife, and I like that warm, wet soft pussy that my wife has.” [applause]

Again, though the story he related was quite true — and illustrated a peculiarly perplexing irony from a real-life example — the audience apparently was neither aware, nor understood, and laughter was sparse, to non-existent.

Unknown to some, the term “Space Jews” is a trope — a trope is defined as being a “figure of speech using words in non-literal ways, such as a metaphor.” The site TV Tropes writes of the trope “Space Jews” that:

“The Space Jew is an alien, monster, animal, or other nonhuman creature that embodies stereotypical aspects of a real-world racial, ethnic, or religious stereotype, whether Jewish, Black, Asian, White or whatever. Sometimes this trope is played intentionally, while other times it might simply be a subconscious or accidental move on the part of the authors.”

Both of those examples which Mr. Chappelle shared — the Space Jews trope, and the real-life Black American slave owner example — were examples of high-brow humor, insofar as only those educated about such matters would have understood, and only “insiders” in the realm of creative writing for screen, or broadcast would have understood; so in that sense, his use of irony in real-life as comedic examples were very esoteric, as well.

Mr. Chappelle also took deliberate aim at the recent phenomenon of the so-called “cancel culture,” when he said,

“They canceled J.K. Rowling — my god. Effectually she said gender was a fact. The trans community got mad as shit, they started calling her a ‘TERF.’ I’m team TERF.”

The acronym TERF stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, and according to the transsexual community – which originated the term – characterizes those who are feminist and transphobic.

Mr. Chappelle continued and stated indisputable scientific fact when he said that,

“Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. This is a fact.”

The medical scientific community has addressed the matter of people born with ambiguous genitalia, or Disorder of Sexual Development (DSD), which occurs because of hormonal problems during the antenatal (prenatal) development process, and is a phenomenon in which an either an X-Y, or X-X chromosomal combination results in an incompletely formed penis, undescended testicles, malformed vagina, or uterus, or the appearance of both external features, or indeterminate morphological variants, and has stated that it is fairly common idiosyncrasy, per se, and depending upon the categorization of characteristics, occurs between 1 in 1500 to 1 in 4500 births. It is a complex sociological and medical diagnosis or problem, insofar as it also involves known matters of mental health, and other certain risks. Most babies born with intersex features, or which suffer from DSD, are assigned a female gender.

And then, there’s the incompletely understood matter of gender dysphoria, in which a sexually unambiguous male, or female, in some way, for some unknown reason, strongly feels within their psyche that they are feminine, or masculine (incongruous with their physical genitalia), and the socio-sexual identity with which they were “assigned” sociologically. Such individuals may, though not always, seek medical mental health help to understand themselves, and/or seek sexual reassignment surgery.

Drawing parallels, to illustrate the ironic hypocrisy of social injustice and inequity, he also specifically mentioned the instance of a public murder committed in a WalMart by Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, a Black rap artist who calls himself “DaBaby,” who shot and killed 19-year old Jalyn Craig at a Wal-Mart store on Bryton Town Center Drive on November 5, 2018 in Huntersville, NC. Originally charged with the misdemeanor offense of carrying a concealed firearm, that charge was dropped, and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office nol prossed (refused to prosecute) a case for death.

About that matter, Mr. Chappelle said,

“This is my last special, because I have an objective tonight. I came here tonight… because this body of work, that I’ve done on Netflix, I’m going to complete. All the questions you might have had about all these jokes I’d said in the last few years I hope to answer tonight. And I would like to start by addressing the LBGTQ community, correct.

“I want every member of that community to know that I come here tonight in peace. And I hope to negotiate the release of DaBaby.

“Sad story! Sad story! DaBaby was the number one streaming artist until about a couple of weeks ago. Took a nasty spill onstage, and said some… said some wild stuff about the LBGTQ community during a concert in Florida. Now you know, I go hard in the paint but even I saw that shit was like, ‘god damn, DaBaby!’ He pushed the button, didn’t he? He pushed the button. Punched the LBGTQ community, right in the AIDS.

“DaBaby was the number one streaming artist until a couple of weeks ago. He took a nasty spill on stage and said some wild stuff about the LGTBQ community during a concert in Florida. Now, you know even I go hard in the paint, but even I saw that shit and was like ‘god damn, DaBaby!’ Ooohhh, he pushed the button, didn’t he? He pushed the button — punched the LGTBQ community right in the AIDS.

“Can’t do that. Can’t do that.

“But I do believe, and I’ll make this point later, that the kid made a very egregious mistake, I will acknowledge that. But, you know, a lot of the LGBTQ community doesn’t know DaBaby’s history, he’s a wild guy. He once shot a nigga… and killed him in Walmart. Oh, this is true, Google it. DaBaby shot and killed a nigga in Walmart in North Carolina.

“Do you see where I’m going with this?

“In our country, you can shoot and kill a nigga, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.

“And this is precisely the disparity that I wish to discuss.

“I have a question for the audience — and this is a real question, I am not joking around. Is it possible, that a gay person can be racist? 

[audience] “Yes. Yeah!

“Do you really think so?

“Yeah! Of course it is possible. Look at Mike Pence.

“I am guessing, but I bet you, he is gay.


“And he is not ‘pride parade’ gay either, he is sad gay. I feel bad for him. He looks like one of them gays that prays about it. ‘Jesus, please take these dirty feelings out of my heart. Please Jesus, make these buttholes ugly to me. I don’t want to keep on tasting these dicks.’ Funny.

“You guys are confusing your emotions. You think I hate gay people and what you’re really seeing is that I’m jealous of gay people. I’m jealous, I’m not the only Black person, that feels this way. We Blacks, we look at the gay community and we go ‘goddamn it! Look how well that movement is going.’

”Look how well you are doing.”

[NOTE: To “go hard in the paint” means to aggressively finish a task, trying very hard (making diligent effort) to get it done. The term originates from basketball and the free throw line, referring to the rectangular lane beneath the hoop on the basketball court, which may sometimes be painted with the team’s colors, thus giving rise to the term, approximately since the 1980’s. That area, the “paint,” because it is very near the goal, is the center of aggressive action in games, and in that area, players must aggressively drive to the hoop – “go hard” – in order to score.]

Mr. Chappelle then began to describe a point in the very early stages of his career, which was the first instance of him being accused of being “transphobic.”

“Now, everyone struggles but I’m very invested in the gender construct, personally. ‘Cause I’m a man with kids, and a wife, and I like that warm, wet soft pussy that my wife has.


This does not mean that I feel like another point of view can’t exist. I was doing a night club in Oakland, 16 years ago and this was the first time that the trans community ever got mad at me that I knew about. And then I was nobody, I had just quit Chappelle Show. It was like a nothing hole in the wall club and I was doing some transgender jokes in Oakland, it was 16 years ago. My pronoun game was not as nice as it is today. I went too far, I said things like tranny and shit I didn’t know these words were bad, and a woman stood up and just gave me the business. Started screaming at me, and I’m sure it was a woman. But she kept calling me transphobic and all this shit I had never even heard these words before, it was really weird. I didn’t trip, I just gazed at Security to look like, “Go on, get that bitch out of here.”

[audience laughs]

“I kept it moving. And then she went to the press. The next day one of the gay papers wrote all of the same things she had said to me, about me, in the paper. Misquoted the jokes, and was calling me transphobic you know, these words, I had never heard them before but every time that I talked with anybody from the community since they always repeat the talking points from that article. My least favorite of which being, I hate this phrase they say, “I was punching down on them.” “Punching down”… what the fuck does that mean?

Mr. Chappelle also gave a Webster’s Dictionary definition of the term “feminist” — a person who holds “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” — and stated that he was one.

“And now I got to tell you and this is gonna surprise some people here, but not everybody. People say things to me all the time but what you don’t know, is it does affect me. I think about it. And that one bothered me a lot, I was driving home, couldn’t stop thinking about what this woman said because she is not the first woman that said that to me. It’s puzzling. You know what I mean? Like, what could I possibly be saying… that would make these bitches think, I hate women. [laughter] Couldn’t figure it out. So, you know what I did? I Googled the dictionary definition of a feminist just to make sure, I was talking about the right thing. And do you know, sir, what the dictionary definition of a feminist is? I didn’t either, listen to this. Webster’s defines a feminist as a human being, not a woman, a human being, that believes in equal rights for women. I was shocked, ’cause that is what that meant ’cause by that definition I would consider myself a feminist, and I didn’t even know that at the time.


“All these years, I thought it meant frumpy dyke.

[audience laughs]

“Well, that seems always talking to be some… chick in overalls, “Men are trying to rape us.” “Ah, not you bitch, will you please…”

[audience laughs]

“I know, look, listen, I support the feminist movement, I do in my own ways. Well, you guys did the women’s march, I tried to go and support you and none of my friends would go with me. I asked all the fellows, none of them wanted to go. I tried everything. “Come on y’all, there’s gonna be bitches there.” They was like, “Nope.” [laughter] So what I did is, I called my friend Anj. Anj is a Black woman who is a comedy writer and she’s dope. A matter of fact, a matter of fact, she’s the only woman, that I know personally that pays her ex-husband alimony. And she sounds just like a man when she does it. “Fuck that broke motherfucker” and all that, she says all that shit.


So I hit Anj up, I hit her on the text and all I did, I texted. I said, “Anj, are you going to the women’s march?” And she texted me back, and this is a real text, she said… she said, “I hope those White bitches get tear gassed.”

[audience laughs]

“There is a problem in that feminist movement, isn’t there? From its inception in America there has always been a racial component. When Susan B. Anthony was having that meeting and Sojourner Truth’s Black ass showed up. Read your history books. All the White women asked Sojourner Truth not to speak. They didn’t conflate the issues of women’s rights and slavery. But you know how Black bitches are, so Sojourner Truth went up there anyway.

[applause and cheering]

“She did a famous speech, she said “Ain’t I a woman?” “Ain’t I a woman?” That’s right. And listen, listen, listen. I supported the “Me Too” movement, but the whole time, the whole time I thought that the way they handled it was stupid. [laughter] It was, it was White, it was like… they were doing shit, like going to the Golden Globes and all of them would be like “Let’s all go to the Golden Globes and wear black dresses. And give these men a piece of our minds.” Bitch, that is not gonna work. You think Martin Luther King is gonna be like, “I want everybody to keep riding the bus, but wear matching outfits.” [laughter] You got to get off the bus and walk. It’s real talk. A real talk, that was a silly movement. “I want everybody to wear crocheted pussy hats so they know we are serious.” What the fuck was y’all doing? And then I said something about it in one of my specials and all these women actresses came after me. I said, “Man, fuck y’all too, you canceled. I ain’t jerking off to none of your pictures again.”

“They were like, “Who is he to tell us anything?” I’ll tell you exactly who I am. I’m the one that got off the bus and left $50 million on the bus and walked.

“I agreed with these women. I just didn’t agree with what they were doing about it. Right. Right. No, it was annoying as fuck… because if these women were serious, you know what they would have done? They all would have fired their agents. And they would have went to the mailroom of one of these big agencies and found a woman that was bustin’ her hump in there and said, “If you want to talk to us then you have to talk to her.” And if they did that, then she would be big, and they would be big and nobody would get fed to Harvey Weinstein. But did they do that?

[audience] No!


“Was that their idea? No. Surprisingly it was mine. What I think, the feminist movement needs to be very successful… is a male leader.

[audience laughs]

“I’ll do it. I will. I will lead you women to the promised land. I will make sure you will get equal pay for equal work. I will make sure that nobody harasses you or fucks with you on the job. I will protect all of your interests. And all that I ask for in return… is that you suck my dick.

[audience laughs]

“And now, we’re right back to square one, aren’t we? And now we get to the core of the crisis. What… what is a woman? What is that, in this day and time? Is there even such a thing as a woman or a man or anything? Hmm. Hmm? Seems to be a question nowadays. Now listen, women get mad at me gay people get mad at me, lesbians get mad at me, but I’m gonna tell you right now, and this is true… these transgenders… the niggas want me dead.


“I’ve gone too far, I’ve said too much. But I got to tell you, I’m very worried about it. I’m not even joking with you. Every time I come out onstage, I be scared. I be lookin’ around the crowd, searching. For knuckles and Adam’s apples to see where the threats might be coming from. A nigga came up to me on the street the other day. He said, “Careful, Dave, they after you.” I said, “What?” “One they, or many theys?”


“Before I even say anything about that community you must know – and I hope you all feel the same way – I am not indifferent to the suffering of someone else. There’s laws, the mean laws in our country. North Carolina passed a law once. They said a person in North Carolina must use the restroom that corresponds with the gender they were assigned on their birth certificate. No, no, no, no. No, that is not a good law. That is a mean law. No American should have to present a birth certificate to take a shit at Walmart, in Greensboro, North Carolina where DaBaby shot and killed a motherfucker.”


As he began the conclusion of his performance, in order to further exemplify that he was not “transphobic,” which was what the LGBTQ community accused him of being, he took even greater effort to specifically share the story of the development of a collegial, professional friendship with a transgender woman who frequently attended his shows in the San Francisco Bay, and greater Los Angeles Basin areas, and elsewhere, in the Golden State. As he said, s/he sat on the front row, and laughed the loudest and longest at all of his jokes, including the gay and transgender ones, and not only was she a frequent, even constant, figure in the audiences for which he performed, but she defended him and his humor. Her name? Daphne Dorman.

As time progressed, and their friendship developed, he learned that s/he aspired to be a comedian, and once, when he was due to appear at a San Francisco show, asked if s/he would like to open for him, because he needed a prelude to his show. S/he accepted, and bombed. Her 45-minute performance was a bust – an utter failure, not funny, and inescapably so. Mr. Chappelle was nonplussed, but later offered tips on how to improve such an abysmally flat, and painful performance.

But there was one bright-and-shining star in her otherwise failed routine.
And, true to form, Mr. Chappelle’s number one fan/transsexual/wanna-be comedian/wanna-be woman appeared in the front row of his audience, and laughed the loudest, longest, and the most at all of his jokes… including the gay and transgender jokes, and even the not-so funny ones.

It was at that particular performance which she opened for him – and “bombed for 45 minutes, straight” – that an anonymous audience member recognized Mr. Chappelle’s self-styled “number-one fan,” and cat-called asking, “Hey! Daphne! Does the carpet match the drapes?!?” — an obviously oblique referral to the question of the color of one’s pubic hair, and the color of hair upon one’s head.

Daphne replied in a loud voice saying, “Honey, I don’t have carpeting… I have all-hardwood floors,” and the audience went wild with laughter. After the show, Mr. Chappelle invited Daphne backstage to the dressing room, and in conversation, then recognized Daphne’s potential as a comedian, and said to his Netflix audience, “She was funny!”

Mr. Chappelle reminded his Netflix audience that he had never “punched down” on the LGBTQ community, because both of them were “having a human experience,” however tortured it might be.

“Just believe I’m a person and I’m going through it,” he said that she told him.

“I believe you because it takes one to know one,” he replied.

He then reminded his Netflix audience that, “Empathy is not gay. Empathy is not Black. Empathy is bisexual – it must go both ways.”

Mr. Chappelle also described to his Netflix audience how well the LGBTQ community had progressed their agenda to be treated equally, and marveled at how quickly it had achieved broad acceptance… in comparison to the arduously lengthy, and still-ongoing struggle of the Black community, and rhetorically, in feigned amazement, asked sardonically, “How did you do that?”

“You guys are confusing the emotions. You think I hate gay people, and what you’re really seeing is that I am jealous of gay people. We Blacks, we look at the gay community and go, ‘goddamn it! Look at how well that movement is going.’ We’ve been trapped in this predicament for hundreds of years. How the fuck are you making that kind of progress? I can’t help but feel that if slaves had body oil and booty shorts, we might’ve been free a hundred years sooner.

“You know what I mean? If Martin Luther King was like, ‘I want everybody to get up on them floats. Get your bodies good and shiny.’ I don’t hate gay people at all, I respect the shit out of you. Well, not all of you. I am not that fond of these newer gays. Too sensitive, too brittle. Those aren’t the gays that I grew up with, I missed them old school gays, nigga. Them Stonewall niggas, them the ones that I respect.

“They didn’t take shit from anybody, they fought for their freedom. I respect that shit, I’m not even gay and I want to be like a Stonewall nigga. Them old school, gangster gays. Them glory hole niggas, them the ones I like.

“These new gays don’t even know what the glory hole is. It’s a hole in the wall, that gay contractors build. You want to know why they put that hole in the wall? I’ll tell you, there is no nice way to say it. ‘Cause when they want to have some fun they will put their penises in that hole and hope for the best. I respect that shit. It’s a lot of courage on both sides of that hole nigga. I’m not even gay and I want to try that glory hole out.

“What if Martin Luther King had to integrate the glory hole? ‘I don’t care if it is Black lips back there or White lips back there a mouth is a mouth. A warm wet mouth. I’m going all the way.’

“I got into a fight. I almost got into a fight – it is complicated. I was in a bar in Austin, with my wife and it was during COVID, and a woman came to our table – and she was maskless – and this bitch came over, no mask, all “H” words. ‘Hi, how are you?’ [breathing out heavily]

”Droplets was coming out of this bitch’s face. We all covered our drinks. Ew! Baby, what are you doing? Now I looked over the table that she came from, and I peeped game. The men at the table were filming me. This happens when you’re famous. People will come over and try to rattle your cage and get you to say something stupid or dumb so that their buddies can film it and get a video of you embarrassing yourself. And clearly I said, ‘This is what is happening.’ And these dumb motherfuckers thought, it was my first rodeo.

“Sadly, it worked.

“I ran right over there, I said… I pointed right in the camera I said, ‘You is a bitch-ass nigga for doing this to me.’

“And the dude was shocked that I said it. He said ‘Huh?’ And when he did like this, I’ve seen all his fingernails is painted and I realized like, ‘Uh-oh. This fellow is gay.’

“Yeah, you know how I talk. I call everybody a bitch-ass nigga. You know what I mean? But that is not a right thing to do if they’re gay. You know what I mean?

“And now I was in trouble, and not only that, the motherfucker was huge. He stood up, he was towering over me. He must have been 6′ 5″, a big White corn-fed Texas homosexual, this nigga was ready to fight. And he started barking on me, but I stood my ground, I wasn’t scared. How could I be scared? This motherfucker’s shirt was tied up in a knot like this. [gestures at midriff]

“Oh, fuck this guy. Let’s go, nigga, let’s go.

“I thought we were going to come to blows. I was ready, and then right when you think we would fight, guess what he did?

“He picked up his phone and he called the police.

“And this… this thing I am describing is a major issue that I have with that community.

“Gay people are minorities, until they need to be White again.

“I’m being very brutally honest, so we can solve this problem. I’m telling you right now, a Black gay person would have never done that to me. ‘Cause a Black gay person knows, when the police shows up, they’re not going to care who called ’em. They don’t show up like, ‘Which one of you niggers is Clifford?’ [laughter] We’re all Clifford.

“This happens far too often. Another time, about six years ago, there was a lesbian woman that tried to sell a story about me to TMZ. Thank goodness, TMZ could see right through the sham of that story. This woman claimed that I beat her up in a night club because she was a lesbian.

“That is fuckin’ crazy. Bitch, I didn’t even know you was a woman.

“Thank god! TMZ didn’t believe that, because I did beat the shit out of her, I am not gonna lie.

“It was her fault, I had no choice. I came into the club minding my own business and a woman came up to me, and she goes ‘Oh my God, Dave Chappelle.’ And I was just being reciprocally nice. ‘Hey, miss, how are you?’ Blah, blah, blah. Benign talk, nothing to it. And all of a sudden this lesbian fellow stepped between us. ‘Hey nigga, that’s my girl!’ I said, ‘Yo, my man, back up,’ like that.

She said, ‘I ain’t backing up off shit, nigga, that’s my girl!’

“I said, ‘Bro, you gonna have to give me three feet, like this.’

She said, ‘Stop calling me a man, motherfucker.’

”I said, ‘What?’ [laughter]

“And then I looked deep in this nigga’s cheek bones. And I said, ‘Oh my God, you are a woman.’

“This is too much for me to even wrap my mind around. But I tell you what, I un-balled my fist immediately and I softened my posture so that she would know, she is in no danger. I even changed the tone of my voice. I said softly, sweetly, like a pimp might say. ‘Bitch, I’m ’bout to slap the shit out of you.’

“I should have done it. Oh, I wish I didn’t say that. She dropped that foot back, she was in a perfect southpaw stance. Her shoulders were angled correctly, her head movement was good, I said ‘Oh, no! this bitch boxes for real.’

“She threw a wild hook at me and I saw it coming from yesterday, so I slipped it like this… I had no choice, I had to go to work. I let that jab go, you should have seen me go nigga. I tenderized them titties like chicken cutlets. [laughter] I whooped the toxic masculinity out of that bitch.

“That is why I don’t go out no more. Just trying to chill, I’m just trying to live a peaceful life. That’s why I live in Ohio, you know, I live in a little town in Ohio. Must be like 3700 people, small hippie town. Culturally you might feel like, like Ann Arbor to you. [laughter] You know what I mean? Bunch of hippies and shit like that. And niggas always ask me like, ‘Dave, why do you live in that hippie town?’ And I’d be embarrassed to tell ’em the truth.

“Well, you know why I live there?

“Because Yellow Springs, Ohio has the most beautiful women in the world. And a lot of people might disagree with me but, you got to see them for yourself, they’re gorgeous. But it all depends on what you’re into. You know what I mean? I like White bitches with dirty feet.”

Throughout his performance, Mr. Chappelle consistently reminded the Netflix audience that he had NEVER belittled the LGBTQ community, nor transsexuals. But similarly throughout his performance, he consistently pointed out absurdities, such as the so-called “bathroom laws” in some, predominately Southern, states which require individuals to use the public toilet facilities corresponding to the sex indicated on their birth certificate, and asked rhetorically, “Who are those laws designed to protect?” and wondered how they would be enforced.

Mr. Chappelle then made the observation that, in some instances, laws are designed to protect minorities from abuse (often from a majority), and illustrated with a hypothetical example, comically portrayed, of using a public toilet at Wal-Mart in Greensboro, NC, a city where “lunch counter sit-ins” occurred organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which was a precursor to the greater Civil Rights movement, which also practiced non-violent demonstrations that characterized the broader national efforts (though again, predominately in the South) in public demonstrations for equal rights and justice.

He then proceeded to hypothetically illustrate the absurdity of him using a urinal in such a facility, only to have an obviously-female-appearing individual to stand beside him, and “hike up her dress and pull out a meaty penis” to urinate. From there, he examined the opposite perspective, one in which a transsexual male might use the urinal “and squat” upon it. His next remark was, “maybe he was a veteran… thank you for your service,” the unmentioned oblique supposition being that the individual’s penis was a casualty of warfare. The audience roared with laughter.

“Let’s say I’m in Walmart, doing a little shopping with my family. Now, I should tell you, if that ever happens in real life, you should know my dreams didn’t work out.


“Well, let’s say something goes horribly wrong, and there I’m in Walmart with the poor Whites rummaging around for mediocre goods and services.

[audience laughs]

“And then, I got to go to the restroom. So, I excuse myself from my family. I go to the men’s room. Now I’m standing at the urinal, taking a leak. And this is what this law is gonna do. And suddenly a woman walks into the men’s room. I’m like, ‘that’s strange.’ And then she stands shoulder to shoulder with me at the urinal, I’m gonna be like, “Bitch, what’s going on with you?”


“And then she hikes her skirt up and she pulls a real live, meaty dick out!


“What do you think I am going to say? Thank God, she’s in here with me. At least now I know my family is safe. Mm-mm. No, I’m not gonna feel that way at all, I’m gonna feel very uncomfortable. I would feel better if it was a man with a vagina that backed up to the urinal next to me. [audience laughs] I wouldn’t even think about that, I’d just be like, “That’s funny.”

[audience laughs]

“This guy is peeing out of his butt for some reason.” “Oh my God, he must be a Veteran… thank you for your service.” I’m not indifferent to people’s suffering ’cause I know it’s hard to be everybody.

[cheers and applause]

In closing, he shared a story about his friend Daphne Dorman and how, after his 2019 “Sticks & Stones” performance which garnered criticism from the LGBTQ community, Daphne defended him because she believed he was being unjustly attacked as being “transphobic.”

Sadly, the LGBTQ community turned on one of their own, and viciously bullied her online. One week later, she committed suicide by jumping from a tall building. He then remarked – quite accurately – that, such an action was typically a male-type of suicide, saying “that’s a thing a man would do” — a light example of comédie noire — and quickly followed up with “that’s the type of joke Daphne would have liked.”

He then proceeded to share how Anderson Cooper, CNN’s gay presenter, had shared condolences with him by contacting him via text message very quickly after Mr. Chappelle had publicly shared the sad news of Daphne Dorman’s death. And then, he shared how, following Daphne’s death, he read her obituary and learned that s/he had a surviving daughter, and in response to the daughter’s loss, had done a very humanitarian thing, and established a trust fund for her, and without skipping a beat – in wholehearted sincerity – deadpanned saying, “I’m looking forward to the day when she turns 21, and I’m able to give that fund to her, and say, ‘honey… I knew your father.’” The audience only chuckled politely.

“Before I go, I want to share this story with you because it is important to this point. I want your community to know that one of the coolest people I ever met was a transgender woman. And this is not a man that I knew that became a woman, this woman was trans when I met her. Lived in San Francisco, Daphne Dorman is the name. I would do 18 shows in the Bay Area sometimes in Oakland and Dirty Hood night club and she would be there, white trans woman, laughing loud and hard, at everything I said. Especially the trans jokes, very puzzling… because she was obviously trans. And one night after one of the shows I met her. And what it was, turns out it was her dream to be a comedian. And I was her hero. It was very moving. I could not dislike somebody that felt that way about me. We became fast friends. And when I made that special Sticks and Stones right as it was coming out, I happened to be in San Francisco and I wanted to do a show. But I needed an opening act, and I remembered… that trans woman I had met, so I called her on the phone. And I called her myself, I said, “Hey Daphne, this is Dave Chappelle.” She couldn’t believe it. And I go, “I’m in San Francisco.” And then she started saying a bunch of wild stuff, I was like “Relax now, I don’t want any pussy, I was… [laughter] I’m just calling, because I’m doing a show and I need an opening act. And I was wondering if you’d open the show?” And she was like, “Fuck, yeah.” Now… I didn’t know this at the time but this woman had only done stand up comedy eight times in her life. This was little to no experience and now she’s about to open a show for what many call the GOAT.
[NOTE: GOAT is an acronym for Greatest Of All Time.]

[audience cheers]

“She’s an amateur in stature, but in practice, she was very professional. She showed up early, which is something I appreciate ’cause I like people to be on time. She was dressed to the motherfuckin’ nines, I mean, I’m transphobic and even I was like, “You look nice.”


“Went up on the stage with all the swag of a professional comedian, grabbed that mic and walked right down the middle and looked at the crowd like a gangster. Man, you should have seen her work. This bitch bombed for 45 minutes, straight.


“And I’m not exaggerating, young man. That show was terrible. Stunk. Stunk. And then she brings me on, and you know, I was like a glass of water after a handful of salt. The crowd was happy to see me. I was killing it. But here is what impressed me. Any other comedian I’ve ever seen, if they had bombed as bad as she did, would have snuck out of the back of the theater and went home and cried or something, but she didn’t do that. Not only did she not leave, she found a seat, right up in front. You know, when a new comedian watches an experienced comedian in comedy we call this “taking class.” And this bitch took my whole class, she sat up there and was laughing as hard as she always laughs as if nothing bad had even happened to her. And I saw her show. Something bad happened to her.

[audience laughs]

“She was drunk. So she starts talking to me, while I’m onstage but the way a person would talk to a television when they were alone. She was talking to me like that. That didn’t bother me ’cause I knew her. But the crowd didn’t like that shit at all ’cause she sucked. And a guy in the back of the room stood up and Daphne’s hair was dyed blonde at the time and the guy screamed out, and his energy felt wild as fuck. He said, “Hey Daphne!” and everybody got clamped, they got tense. We didn’t know who was a heckler or active shooter, and… [laughter] …he said, “Does the carpet match the drapes?” It was fucked up. The whole crowd kind of groaned, ’cause it was so like, mean. Everybody groaned, except for Daphne. She kind of laughed, which was weird. And she didn’t even look all the way back. She said, “Sir, I don’t have carpets, I have hardwood floors.” Just like that. [laughter] Just like that.


“Boy, when she said that shit, it blew the roof of the place. Cut through all the tension, with that one joke. She had made up for 45 minutes of a stinker of a show. And after that, she could do no wrong. And I kept on rocking, and she kept on talking to me. And then the show became something cooler than a show. It became like a conversation between a Black man and a White trans woman and we started getting to the bottom of shit. All of them questions that you think about that you’d be afraid to ask, I was just asking them and she was answering them and her answers were funny as shit. The crowd was falling out of their chairs and at the end of the show, I go, “Well, Daphne”… I said “Well, that was fun.” I go, “I love you to death, but I have no fuckin’ idea what you’re talking about.” The whole crowd laughed except for Daphne. Man, she looks at me like I’m not her friend anymore. Like I’m something bigger than me, like I’m the whole world in a guy. Then she said, “I don’t need you to understand me.” I said, “What?” She said, “I just need you to believe…” Just like that she goes, “…that I’m having a human experience.” And when she said it the whole crowd kind of gasped. And I gave the Fight Club look. I said, “I believe you, bitch.”


“Because she didn’t say anything about pronouns. She didn’t say anything about me being in trouble. She said, “Just believe I’m a person and I’m going through it.” I know, I believe you, because it takes one to know one.

[cheers and applause]

“Then I told the crowd “Good night.” And they started going crazy and before the applause gets to its crescendo I was saying, “Don’t forget my opening act, Daphne.” And the crowd stood up. And I looked at her, tears came out of her eyes she couldn’t believe it was happening. I couldn’t believe it was happening ’cause her show stunk. [laughter] And it was a great night. And I remember, the late great Paul Mooney was there, a bunch of flyers, comedy niggas was there.


“And we all went backstage and was just drinking and talking shit and laughing and Daphne stole the room, she had everyone cracking up. Spinning the yarn, telling us all these crazy stories about shit, she’d be into. We all laughing real hard, and there she is telling us and everyone is laughing. I’m looking around, I’m like, “Oh my God, she is funny.” I pulled her aside, I said, “You’re hilarious. I didn’t know that when you were onstage.” [laughter] I said, “You’re doing some things wrong but I can help you.” I said, “Anytime I’m in San Francisco why don’t you open the show for me and I’ll just try to give you some pointers and see if you can work this thing out.” She said, “Are you serious?” I was like, “Yeah.” And she grabbed me real tight, hugged me, squeezed me. And I pushed her off violently, ’cause I’m transphobic. [sarastically] I said “Boundaries, bitch!”

[audience laughs]

“When Sticks and Stones came out… a lot of people in the trans community were furious with me, and apparently they dragged me on Twitter. I don’t give a fuck, ’cause Twitter is not a real place.

[audience laughs]
[cheers and applause]

“And the hardest thing for a person to do is go against their tribe if they disagree with their tribe, but Daphne did that for me. She wrote a tweet that was very beautiful and what she said was – and it is almost exactly what she said. She said, “Punching down on someone, requires you to think less of them, and I know him, and he doesn’t. He doesn’t punch up, he doesn’t punch down he punches lines, and he is a master at his craft.” That’s what she said.

[audience cheers]

“Beautiful tweet, beautiful friend, it took a lot of heart to defend me like that, and when she did that the trans community dragged that bitch all over Twitter. For days, they was going in on her, and she was holding her own ’cause she’s funny. But six days after that wonderful night I described to you, my friend Daphne killed herself. Oh yeah, this is a true story, my heart was broken. Yeah, it wasn’t the jokes. I don’t know if was them dragging or, I don’t know what was going on in her life, but I bet dragging her didn’t help. I was very angry at them, I was very angry at her. I felt like Daphne lied to me. She always said, she identified as a woman. And then one day she goes up to the roof of her building and jumps off and kills herself. Clearly… only a man would do some gangster shit like that. Hear me out. As hard as it is to hear a joke like that I’m telling you right now, Daphne would have loved that joke. That is why she was my friend.

[cheers and applause]

“I was reading her obituary and I found out, she was survived by a daughter. And the moment I found that out – and this is true – Anderson Cooper from CNN texted me. And all he says – it’s very nice – he said, “I’m sorry to hear about your friend.” And I texted him right back. “New phone, who this?” [laughter] He said, “It’s Anderson Cooper.” Oh, I said, “Anderson, look I need to find her family.” And he texted me right back with all the phone numbers and all this information. I say this to say, if you ever want to know about anything gay, call Anderson Cooper from CNN. This nigga is faster than Google. [laughter] What I did is, I got in touch with her family and I started a trust fund for her daughter ’cause I know that is all she ever really cared about.


“And I don’t know what the trans community did for her but I don’t care, because I feel like she wasn’t their tribe, she was mine. She was a comedian in her soul.


“The daughter is very young, but I hope to be alive when she turns 21 ’cause I’m going to give her this money myself. And by then, by then, I’ll be ready to have the conversation that I’m not ready to have today. But I’ll tell that little girl, “Young lady, I knew your father… [audience laughs] …and he was a wonderful woman.”


“Empathy is not gay. Empathy is not Black. Empathy is bi-sexual. It must go both ways. It must go both ways.”



But again, Mr. Chappelle’s “humor” was more an idiomatic social commentary based upon a series of public observations about the inequities of various people groups, than it was traditional comedic routine, or slapstick — though it incorporated elements of low-brow humor, high-brow humor, sarcasm, absurdity, irony, and more, all in the context of equality, or the lack thereof.

Mr. Chappelle’s numerous observations from his performance were met with criticism from numerous diverse communities — LGBTQ, Jews, Whites, Blacks, entertainment critics, etc. — almost immediately after the Netflix special aired, though from the outset of his performance, he noted that in this present age, people wear their feelings on their sleeve, can’t take a joke, and choose to get insulted, instead of laughing at themselves (the inability, or refusal, to laugh at oneself demonstrates serious emotional unhealthiness and psychological sickness). That was essentially the same thing that now-late comedian Robin Williams said on the Tonight Show, shortly before Conan O’Brien left as host: “Fuck the bastards, they can’t take a joke!” which was directed at NBC officials, to which Williams and O’Brien danced an improvised jig on the dais while saying it in unison.

Mr. Chappelle’s closing remarks addressed an other example of hypocrisy and inequity, along with an announcement that he would cease telling LGBTQ jokes, and a request for justice and equity:

“Kevin Hart dreamt his entire life of hosting the Oscars, and when he finally got the job, they just took it! It’s not fair. They didn’t kill him, Kevin is a strong guy. But I’m sure it broke old Clifford’s heart. It’s over. LBGTQ, L-M-N-O-P-Q-Y-Z… it is over. I’m not telling another joke about you until we are both sure, that we are laughing together. I’m telling you, this is done. I’m done talking about it. All I ask from your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people? Thank you very much and good night.”

The closing credits rolled to background music by Gloria Gaynor performing her most well-known song, the 1978 hit, “I Will Survive.”

First I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong, and I grew strong
And I learned how to get along

And so you’re back
From outer space
I just walked in to find you here
With that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second, that you’d be back to bother me

Go on now go, walk out the door
Just turn around now, ’cause 
you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to Hurt me with goodbye?
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no not I, I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll be alive
I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give
And I’ll survive, I will survive , hey, hey

It took all the strength I had 
Not to fall apart
Just trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart
And I spent oh-so many nights just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry, but now I hold my head up high
And you see me, somebody new
I’m not that chained-up little person still in love with you
And so you felt like dropping in, and just expect me to be free
Well, now I’m saving all my lovin’ for someone who’s loving me

Go on now, go walk out the door
Just turn around now, you’re not wanted anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye?
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh no, not I…

 Mr. Chappelle’s comedic genius was upon full display in his Netflix special “The Closer,” which was pre-recorded at The Fillmore in Detroit, MI in August, 2021.

His humor was like the formerly top-secret SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance jet aircraft — flying 5 times faster than the speed of sound, at the furthest limits of Earth’s atmosphere and the edge of outer space.

For the exceedingly greatest part, the Detroit, MI audience didn’t “get it,” precisely because it was THAT FAR over their heads.

And apparently, for most of his critics, it was as well.

Those who criticized his performance ostensibly have an inability to understand, and even more sadly, to laugh at themselves, which is demonstrative of a very psychologically sick society.

One Response to “Observations from Dave Chappelle: The Closer”

  1. […] we mustn’t forget Dave Chappelle, who similarly garnered criticism for his comedic story-telling in his “The Clo…, who was criticized for sharing a true life story from an aspiring comedian who befriended […]


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