In March 2017, when Netflix unveiled two stand-up comedy specials from Dave Chappelle — the black comedian best known for Chappelle’s Show, a 2003 sketch comedy TV series that ran for three seasons on Comedy Central — numerous commentators noted his unfunny homophobic and transphobic material. And now that Chappelle is back hosting a 16-show run at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, he’s back at it again, starting off his set with 20-minutes of transphobia.
Dave Schilling, a writer with New York magazine, recently caught Chappelle’s show and recounted his transphobic material:
“He started by talking about how he was ‘shocked!’ by Trump’s ban on transgender officers in the military, because he didn’t realize there were any trans people in the military. ‘Sounds like a secret weapon to me,’ he continued. ‘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.’ …
After mentioning a fan who wrote a letter expressing displeasure with Chappelle’s transphobic jokes, Chappelle said he felt bad but wasn’t sure which of his many transgender jokes they were talking about. He then said it was probably this one:
“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?”
He ended his transgender material by saying that he thought that trans topics are only so topical right now because so many “white men” want to be trans — apparently ignoring Laverne Cox, Janet Mock and TS Madison’s contributions to the conversation.
He then asked, “Since when has America given a fuck about how anyone feels inside?” and added, “If it was just blacks and Mexican like, ‘Hey, y’all, we feel like girls inside.’ They’d be like, ‘Shut up, nigger, no one asked how you felt.’”
While Chappelle’s evening of stand-up also included other guests like Lil’ Wayne, The Roots and Judd Apatow (a director who has included homophobic material into his own comedy films), Chappelle’s transphobic material threatens to overshadow his show and even his entirely legacy, especially since it comes on the heels of another comedian joking about killing trans women and a very deadly year for trans women of color in the U.S..