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Dave Chappelle's trans jokes in Netflix special frustrate liberal critics: 'He's learned nothing'

Comedian Dave Chappelle continues to anger the left for not backing down on making jokes targeting the LGBTQ community in his latest comedy special for Netflix.

Comedian Dave Chappelle's latest comedy special for Netflix was attacked by media critics for continuing to make jokes about the transgender movement, following a years-long pattern of the comedian frustrating the left.

In "The Dreamer" released on December 31, the brash comic tells a story about meeting Jim Carrey on the set of his 1999 movie, "The Man on the Moon." Carrey employed a "method" approach to portraying Andy Kaufman by remaining in character at all times, and Chappelle was told by the crew to address Carrey as "Andy" when meeting him.

"I wanted to meet Jim Carrey and I had to pretend this n---a was Andy Kaufman all afternoon. And he was clearly Jim Carrey," he remarked. "I could look at him and I could see he was Jim Carrey. Anyway, I say all that to say that's how trans people make me feel."

The comedian made several other jokes about gender identity and "preferred pronouns" in the routine that angered critics.

Rolling Stone, Variety, BuzzFeed and others accused the comedian of being "obsessed" with mocking the trans community.


"Dave Chappelle’s ‘The Dreamer’ Proves He’s Obsessed With Trans People," bristled Rolling Stone's Marlow Stern.

"It’s unfortunate that Chappelle’s The Dreamer is, like some of his prior Netflix specials, obsessively fixated on the trans community, because it’s not an area he particularly excels at, resorting to puerile premises and punchlines. There are, of course, ways to artfully tell a trans joke — take Michelle Wolf’s recent Netflix special It’s Great to Be Here — but Chappelle is apparently incapable of having most of his bits extend beyond mocking genitalia or pronouns. It’s not just tired but uninspired," he wrote.

The U.K.-based Telegraph gave the special just one star, calling Chappelle a "broken record" for continuing the trans jokes.

"Maybe it’s time for Dave Chappelle to try some new material," Variety editor William Earl suggested, with his article lamenting the comedian's "obsession with mocking trans people."

Chappelle has previously drawn backlash from LGBTQ activists and spurred a protest from Netflix employees with his comments in support of J.K. Rowling in his 2021 Netflix special, "The Closer."


The Daily Beast's Sean L. McCarthy admitted he was frustrated by the comic doubling down in spite of past controversies.

"Dave Chappelle’s New Netflix Special Proves He’s Learned Nothing," the journalist wrote.

"It feels so frustrating to sit and watch comedians with the stature of Chappelle and [Ricky] Gervais devote so much of their time and energy to bullying the LGBTQ+ community when they could be doing anything else on stage. And then they have the temerity to question us, the audience, for not laughing with them," he criticized.

"Bigots are already calling Chappelle 'brave' for repeating the same old trans myths," BuzzFeed also scoffed.

"Fox Across America" host Jimmy Failla said Chappelle's critics seemed to misunderstand that stand-up comedy works best when it makes fun of everyone.

"When you make fun of a community at a comedy show, that's the highest form of inclusion there is. That's true equality. If you take one community and you put them off limits at some kiddie table, like, 'Oh, you can't make fun of these people,' that's not equality, that's infantilizing them. That's treating them like a lesser than. And the whole point of comedy is that the people who patronize it, okay, they like and they appreciate the power of being able to laugh at ourselves and to laugh at each other and laugh at our differences," Failla told Fox News Digital.

Failla, whose comedy special "They're Just Jokes" launches on Fox Nation Wednesday, claimed Chappelle is targeted by the left because he remains one of the few top comics who has withstood attempts to cancel him.

"The reason Chappelle gets as much heat as he does is because we've kind of incentivized outrage in the modern era. Getting mad at a comic usually means you'll be rewarded like, 'Hey, I'm upset, give me something.' And the truth is, Chappelle is the greatest ally small-time comedians have because he's the one big name comic who's not shying away from the social pressure," he remarked.

"Jokes only work when the audience finds a kernel of truth in what we're saying. So when you watch this special, what's noteworthy is not the attacks or the blowback. As people attack everything these days. It's that he gets explosive laughter for the punchline because people see a lot of truth in what he's saying," Failla said.

Conservative comedian Tim Young agreed that the left wasn't actually offended but was using their outrage to profit off of Chappelle's popularity. 

"Liberals aren't actually offended by Dave Chappelle's comedy - they are just pretending to be offended for both clicks on the internet and to see what type of power they can wield over free speech and someone who is exponentially more famous than they will ever be," Young told Fox News Digital.

If liberals were actually offended they could just ignore his comedy, rather than try to get him canceled, as some did with his 2021 Netflix special, Young suggested.

"If someone is so offended by someone else's words, they could just not watch or listen to the words and walk away - but in this case, leftists are choosing to try to control someone else's words by acting out - which if rewarded by silencing someone like Chappelle, would be terrible for both our culture and America as a whole," he said. "Free speech protects the speech we don't like - and that's a good thing."

Clips from the latest special went viral on social media after some conservative accounts shared the Carrey story.

While the media grumbled about these jokes, some conservatives praised the comedian for not backing down from the controversial topic.

"Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix special is out, and he’s telling the truth about trans," "Billboard Chris" praised while sharing the clip, which garnered over 10 million views in 24 hours.

"Precisely. Dave Chappelle gets it," former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines applauded.

In the midst of the Netflix scandal, the comedy icon continued to perform at sold-out shows and win awards.

For "Closer," he won best comedy album at the 2023 Grammy Awards, sparking an immediate backlash from entertainment outlets, who spun Chappelle’s achievement as a victory for "transphobic" people. 

Fox News' Jeffrey Clark contributed to this report.

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