Comedy specials have always proven to be the best form of entertainment. Picture this, you just cooked your boiling hot pot of Ramen and you need some sort of entertainment to along with it. Sure, you can watch any episode of your favorite sitcom, but maybe you don’t want to watch anything you’ll have to pay attention to.
So, what do you do? You put on a full-length comedy show. That’s what you do.
There are a lot of celebrities who switched to become stand-up comedians who are just the best at making us laugh our brains off. Some of the greatest are Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais, Kevin Hart, the list goes on. But one of the absolute legends in the comedy industry is Dave Chappelle.
Who Is Dave Chappelle?
David Khari Webber Chappelle is an American comedian/ actor who is best known for his comedy sketch series “Chappelle’s Show”. Chappelle established himself as one of our generation’s most admired comedians during the start of the 21st Century. His first hour-long special titled “Dave Chappelle: Killin’ Them Softly” aired in 2000.
Dave Chappelle started out in the comedy industry at the age of 14, and now 34 years later he is still going strong and humorous. So humorous in fact that Netflix has announced 4 new Dave Chappelle Comedy Specials, all of which will be focused on other veteran comedians.
What’s In the Oven Dave?
The four-part comedy special series will be released on Netflix, and is going to be called “Chappelle’s Home Team”. Each part will feature a veteran comedian introduced by Dave.
The comedians to be featured weren’t chosen at random. Instead, they all have something in common i.e., they have all been in the comedy industry for at least 30 years. As Chappelle himself said, “I’ve been doing this a long time and comedians like Quake and Donnell are not only friends but have inspired my own career. Anyone in the comedy community knows these names and knows their time to shine is long overdue. I am proud to be a part of this moment.”
The first special will premiere on Netflix on 28th February and will feature Nathaniel Martin Stroman, better known by his stage name “Earthquake.”
Wait. Wasn’t Dave Chappelle Cancelled?
Just like any other comedian, throughout his career, Chappelle has been known to tell jokes that are often received as offensive. His Netflix comedy special, The Closer, did not shy away from that content. The special stirred up controversy with a specific community in the audience who hold Chappelle accountable for his targeting jokes hurting the overall sentiment of the community.
The fire started when Chappelle tried to clear up his feuds with the mentioned community, but he ended up making it all much worse. After stating that he in fact is a supportive ally, Dave jokingly called himself transphobic.
Post Special Protests
Great controversy followed the special amongst Netflix viewers and the entire community that felt targeting. Many, including the employees at Netflix who were members of that community, wanted the special to be removed from the streaming platform.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos defended the special amid protests. Sarandos spoke about the incident by stating that he has a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm. Most of the higher-up employees at Netflix claimed that the special does not “cross the line”. Co-CEO Reed Hastings supported “The Closer” by saying “We do not see Dave Chappelle as harmful”.
While a lot of viewers were protesting against Dave Chappelle and “The Closer”, Chappelle’s fans arrived on the scene to counter-protest the employees. The signs they hoisted in support of Chappelle read “jokes are funny” and “Netflix, don’t cancel free speech”. Chappelle’s fans who supported The Closer said that the overall message of the special was lost in translation.
Is Dave Chappelle Still Funny?
Celebrities, mostly comedians, getting backlash over their actions and words is not new news. Not a single Ricky Gervais show goes by without Twitter and news channels storming into labeling the comedian as offensive. Did Chappelle come off as offensive? Probably. But was it funny? The answer to that will let you know whether or not you will watch “The Home Team” when it’s finally released on Netflix.