Transphobic comedian Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix special is peppered with dangerous anti-trans rhetoric.
Early in The Dreamer, which dropped on Netflix this past Sunday, Chappelle told a story about meeting Jim Carrey on the set of Man on the Moon. The actor starred in the 1999 biopic about comedian Andy Kaufman and famously remained in character the entire time. Chappelle recalled his frustration at having to “pretend” that Carrey was Kaufman even when cameras weren’t rolling.
“Anyway, I say all that to say: That’s how trans people make me feel,” he told the audience.
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Chappelle, who has become infamous in recent years due to his anti-trans jokes in previous Netflix specials and for doubling down on his transphobic remarks in response to the backlash, went on to say that he was done making jokes about trans people.
“If you guys came here to this show tonight thinking that I’m going to make fun of those people again, you’ve come to the wrong show,” he said. “I’m not f**king with those people anymore. It wasn’t worth the trouble. I ain’t saying s**t about them.”
“Maybe three or four times tonight, but that’s it,” he added. “I’m tired of talking about them. And you want to know why I’m tired of talking about them? Because these people acted like I needed them to be funny. Well, that’s ridiculous. I don’t need you.”
Chappelle joked that he would pivot to attacking “handicapped” people. “They’re not as organized as the gays,” he said, “and I love punching down.”
Despite that, Chappelle went on to make several transphobic jabs throughout the special. He claimed that he has been trying to “repair” his relationship with the trans community by writing a “sad” and “moving” play about a Black trans woman whose pronoun is a racial slur.
“It’s a tear-jerker. At the end of the play, she dies of loneliness ’cause white liberals don’t know how to speak to her,” he joked.
In another riff, he parroted anti-trans rhetoric falsely suggesting that cis men simply choose to identify as trans in order to access women’s spaces where they supposedly pose a threat to cis women.
“God forbid I ever go to jail. But if I do, I hope it’s in California,” Chappelle said. “Soon as the judge sentences me, I’ll be like, ‘Before you sentence me, I want the court to know I identify as a woman. Send me to a woman’s jail.’”
He then blithely described hypothetically threatening and sexually assaulting cis women while identifying as trans.
Later, he brought up a 2022 incident in which he was attacked onstage at the Hollywood Bowl. At the time, Chappelle had claimed that the assailant was trans. In fact, the attacker identified as a bisexual cis male and claimed he was triggered by Chappelle’s anti-LGBTQ+ “jokes.”
The attacker reportedly had a switchblade shaped like a gun, and Chappelle joked that he “had a knife that identified as a gun.” He said that because the attacker was bisexual, he worried he “could have been raped.”