Can we culturally cancel Dave Chapelle already?
This week, Chapelle started his run of shows at Radio City Musical Hall in New York and reportedly began his hour-long set with 20 minutes of out-of-touch jokes about trans people. Chapelle claimed to be shocked by Trump's ban on trans people in the military, saying trans soldiers would in fact make for the ultimate weapon. “If I was in ISIS in the trenches fighting against the United States and all of the sudden I see a man with a beard and big D-cups titties just rushing my foxhole and shit, I’d be horrified,” he joked. He later seemed to have a genuinely thoughtful response to a fan's letter admonishing his previous transphobic jokes (from his Netflix special), explaining that, “a weird thing happened to me in this moment — it honestly made me feel bad that I made somebody else feel bad.”
But this was actually just a set-up for more foul transphobic humor. “I read in the paper that Caitlyn Jenner was contemplating posing nude in an upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated. And I knew it was politically incorrect to say, so I figured I’d just say it for everybody—yuck. Fuck, man, I just want to read some stats, like why are you cramming man-pussy in the middle of the sports page like that?”
Chapelle also claimed that the only reason "transgenders" were being thrust into the spotlight were because "white men want to do it. If it was just blacks and Mexican like, ‘Hey, y’all, we feel like girls inside.’ They’d be like, ‘Shut up, n-----, no one asked how you felt.’”
I loved The Chapelle Show when it aired as much as anyone else. Back then, Chapelle's comedy felt incisive, groundbreaking. It was dark and edgy, sure, but it was saying something meaningful. It felt like Chapelle was saying things the rest of us were too afraid or unfunny to say. It felt like he was using humor to make valid points about race and class in America.
Now, it just feels like Dave Chapelle is an asshole who should not have access to a microphone.