The Closer (An Unhinged Stand-up)

“Transphobia,” could be an alternate title, as the legendary comedian spends half of his new (and probable final) Netflix stand-up special re-hashing old grievances with the transgender community. The disproportion speaks for itself; the very great, and empathic comedian has come apart.


Comedians are subjective truth-sayers. They share their un-filtered, un-apologetic perspective of the world with their audience, while making them laugh about it at the same time. This is what I love about stand-up comedy; it’s such an empathic experience.


The problem with The Closer is two-fold, I believe. First, Chappelle’s perspective is compromised. Compromised by the comedian’s long-standing feud, and subsequent recent confrontations with the Trans community – a very small minority of the population, that has apparently had a huge bearing on the trajectory of Dave’s recent life. Most-notable among his fateful recent experiences was the death of Daphne Dorman, the transgender comedian who opened for Chappelle, and whom he befriended. When Dorman spoke highly of Chappelle as a friend and mentor, the Trans community turned on Dorman, dragging her across twitter. A week later Dorman took her own life (October, 2019).


This experience, and experiences of being heckled, and “trapped,” in public and on social media have gotten to the comedian, who wasn’t built for a global audience. Was anybody? And that’s the second problem – this stand-up performance is streaming on Netflix to 200 Million people. He was only really talking to a few thousand, at the Fillmore in Detroit. It’s easier to read a room, than it is a faceless mob.


Celebrities have their own opinion, comedians especially! You don’t have to believe what they believe. Enjoy the jokes. Laugh at them. Laugh at yourself… And SKIP Chappelle’s latest stand-up special, while your at it. It will save you the headache, and Dave the embarrassment.

Darkness is, Charlie Murphy.
E.F.

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