Dave Chappelle's latest stand-up special on Netflix has been the topic of much debate, with many calling out his controversial transphobic views presented in his jokes. While some have defended Chappelle's rhetoric as free speech, others have pointed out the harm that this kind of comedy can inspire. Raphael Bob-Waksberg, writer and creator of the Netflix show Bojack Horseman, also made an interesting point on Twitter, wondering why Chappelle has basically been given free rein to say whatever he wants by his employer.
"Still mystified that apparently Dave Chapelle's deal is that he says whatever he wants and Netflix just has to air it, unedited," Bob-Waksberg tweeted. "Is that normal, for comedians? Because Netflix once asked me to change a joke because they were worried it might upset David Fincher." Bob-Waksberg went on to tweet that he would reveal the offending joke if followers made donations to the Trans Lifeline. "My point was it's silly for a network to pretend their hands are tied when it comes to the content they put on their network," Bob-Waksberg continued.
Yay! THANK YOU! I don't know if this scene is worth it, but you gave over $2000 to Trans Lifeline today and that's definitely worth it. pic.twitter.com/i6ztDYxP3C— Raphael Bob-Waksberg (@RaphaelBW) December 8, 2021
Bob-Waksberg went on to reveal the offending scene, which included some rather innocuous jokes about Fincher. "Here are my last thoughts on this before I turn off this hell machine for the night: 1) Good pushback and feedback (if it's good!) makes art better and if you as a network don't know how to give it, you might as well be throwing your money down the toilet," Bob-Waksberg tweeted. "2) For a comedian who famously walked away from his hit TV show because he was worried he was Making Things Worse, it's remarkable how many of his fans (and collaborators!) believe comedians have no responsibility to not Make Things Worse."
Despite pushback for his remarks, Chappelle clearly still has fan support and gleefully celebrated the concept of being canceled before a sold-out crowd of 19,000 at the Chase Center for a screening of his new documentary, Untitled, in November. "Man, I love being canceled," Chappelle quipped to the enthusiastic crowd. "It is a huge relief. It's like getting Capone on tax evasion." The documentary focuses on Chappelle's efforts to host outdoor comedy shows at the height of the pandemic, and following the screening, he addressed the backlash.
"For the past three or four weeks, they've been saying in the news that I've been canceled. It doesn't matter," he said. "The point is, no matter what they say, we are together." He likened the discussion around his special to the backlash he faced when he quit Chappelle's Show in 2003. "I'm going through something," Chappelle said. "It might be history."