In a recent comedy show held at the Masonic in San Francisco, renowned comedian Dave Chappelle delivered a performance that sparked both controversy and praise. Chappelle’s remarks about the city’s alleged decline and his comedy’s alleged turn towards transphobia have generated intense discussions among audiences and critics alike.
According to a report by SFGate’s Dan Gentile, Chappelle’s routine included what the report described as a “barrage of transphobic dog whistles.” The report claimed that Chappelle’s comedy had taken a darker turn in recent years, with references to being a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and expressing views on the immutability of gender, suggesting a perceived conflict between LGBTQ and Black rights movements.
Chappelle’s alleged disdain for present-day San Francisco was described as “crystal clear” by the report. One example cited was his question regarding the city’s homelessness crisis: “What the f*** happened to this place?” The report also highlighted an incident where Chappelle joked about a homeless person defecating in front of a restaurant, prompting criticism that the comedian had made irresponsible and dangerous remarks.
The writer of the report compared Chappelle’s insulation from criticism, attributed to his talent and wealth, to figures like Joe Rogan and Elon Musk. The article further criticized Chappelle for relying on what it perceived as insensitive and lazy tropes when joking about transgender individuals, rather than using his renowned incisive wit.
While the report claimed that Chappelle repeatedly used the transgender community as a punchline throughout the performance, it acknowledged that the show was sold out, and the room was filled with laughter, indicating a positive response from the audience.
It is worth noting that earlier this year, Chappelle won a Grammy award for Best Comedy Album for his Netflix special “The Closer.” The show sparked considerable anger from some members of the left due to its treatment of the transgender community. Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, responded to the potential backlash by emphasizing that the winners are chosen by the voters, highlighting the organization’s focus on evaluating artistic quality rather than moral positions.
“If the voters feel like a creator deserves a nomination, they’re going to vote for them,” he said. “We’re never going to be in the business of deciding someone’s moral position or where we evaluate them to be on the scale of morality. I think our job is to evaluate the art and the quality of the art. We can make sure that all of our spaces are safe and people don’t feel threatened by anyone. But as far as the nominations or the awards, we really let the voters make that decision.”