Dave Chappelle Responds to Backlash for Anti-Trans Jokes


Dave Chappelle is speaking out.

In the second episode of his The Midnight Miracle podcast with co-hosts Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey, he addressed the backlash he’s gotten for anti-trans jokes.

Last July, Minneapolis’ First Avenue club cancelled his comedy show due to the backlash.

Keep reading to find out more…

“I guess apparently they had made a pledge to the public at large that they would make their club a safe space for all people, and that they would ban anything they deemed transphobic,” he said on the podcast, via Variety.

“This is a wild stance for an artistic venue to take, especially one that’s historically a punk rock venue.”

He ended up playing the Varsity Theater, which attracted protesters.

“These were grown people of various genders and gender identities,” he said. “They threw eggs. They threw eggs at the [fans] who were lined up to see the show.”

“One lady was so mad with the protesters, she picked up a police barricade. You ever seen one? They look like a bike rack. This b-tch picked that barricade up by herself and and threw it at the crowd. I gotta tell you, it’s an amazing feat of strength for a woman,” he continued.

“When I walked on stage, it was a huge ovation because suddenly going to see a comedy show was this huge act of defiance. I don’t think anyone had any malicious intent. In fact, one of the things that these people, the trans and their surrogates, always say is that my jokes are somehow gonna be the root cause of some impending violence that they feel like is inevitable for my jokes. But I gotta tell you, as abrasive as they were, the way they were protesting, throwing eggs at people, throwing barricades, cussing and screaming, [none of my fans] beat ‘em up. In fact, the people in the crowd would just say, ‘We love you. Like what are you talking about?’”

He continued: “Now I have a belief that the gay community is not monolithic, and I think that in regards to me, that there’s probably a variety of opinions throughout that. But there’s a thing they do where they deliberately obscure what I think they believe is the intent of my work to make a moment of it that I don’t know that the work necessarily merits. You know what I mean?”

“I’m not even mad that they take issue with my work. Good, fine. Who cares? What I take issue with is the idea that because they don’t like it, I’m not allowed to say it. Art is a nuanced endeavor. I have a belief that they are trying to take the nuance out of speech in American culture, that they’re making people speak as if they’re either on the right or the left. Everything seems absolute, and any opinion I respect is way more nuanced than these binary choices they keep putting in front of us. I don’t see the world in red or blue,” Dave said.

“Trying to silence a person like me, I don’t think it has anything to do with being loved. They want to be feared. ‘If you say this, then we will punish you. We’ll come to First Avenue and f-ck your show up and we’ll come to the Varsity Theater and f-ck your show up.’ And they just don’t get to do that.”

A fellow comedian and friend opened up about the backlash to his jokes recently.

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