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They Can’t Cancel Dave Chappelle. But Can They Cancel Comedy?

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Comedian Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special has done what he does best: Make leftists fall over themselves to cry about his comedy. The show elicited the usual, whiny-assed vitriol and accusations of transphobia and all the other evil things.

In a piece for The Washington Post, author Brian Broome wrote:

I have enjoyed Chappelle’s comedy in the past. But I could not laugh at “The Closer.” It felt, in a word, mean. Perhaps that’s because it hit too close to home. But it also felt like a vendetta. Like he had a score to settle against all the gay and trans folk who have challenged him in one way or another about his views.

Broome recounted an incident he witnessed on a bus, in which a black person was harassed by other black men because he was effeminate. These men ended up beating the victim of their harassment. The bus driver resolved the situation by telling the victim to get off the bus and wait for the next one.

The author writes:

Those men, wherever they are, are probably laughing with Chappelle tonight. To some degree, he has affirmed for them that they all did the right thing.

The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon also took issue with Chappelle’s special. He writes:

Cancel culture isn’t real, but the demand to learn is. And that’s where people like Dave Chappelle fall short. They place the anxiety on opportunity, instead of the point of view and how that reverberates through society.

The author continued:

The idea is that we’re so sensitive that artists can no longer express themselves, because if they go too close to the line then paranoid queers will join arms and make it so they can never work again. Not only do they always work again, but that’s such a bad-faith interpretation of what these discussions are about that it’s almost laughable a person being paid tens of millions of dollars to opine on Netflix makes it his mission statement.

Netflix producer Jaclyn Moore, who happens to be transgender, announced she would no longer work with the company after the special aired. She tweeted:

I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art… But I’ve been thrown against walls because, “I’m not a ‘real’ woman.” I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done.

On Instagram, she said she “won’t work for @netflix again as long as they keep promoting and profiting from dangerous transphobic content.”

During an interview with Variety, she insisted that Chappelle’s language is “the same language used by people who seek to hurt us.”

These are only a few of the individuals who are once again trying to get Chappelle canceled for refusing to bow to the woke crowd.

During his special, he made jokes about transgenders and members of the LGBTQ community. He also poked fun at Jews and white people. He also expressed solidarity with TERFs, which stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists.” In referencing the term, he observed that “transgenders make up words to win arguments.”

It was a brilliant observation, but it actually applies to the entire left.

The comedian also gave a biting commentary about American society and its relationship to black America versus the LGBTQ community. “In our country, you can shoot and kill a n*gga, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.”

The harsh reality for the hard left is that they absolutely cannot cancel Dave Chappelle. He is already established as one of the top comedians in American history. He’s not going anywhere unless he chooses to. They have been trying for years to take him down and have failed miserably.

However, this does not mean the Cancel Culture Community™ can’t still do its thing. Indeed, their true objective goes far beyond Chappelle. Adherents of wokeism seem intent on altering comedy in a way that conforms to their theology. If they get their way, comedy will cease being comedy and will transform into a culture in which stand-up performances are simply a series of virtue-signaling one-liners — more designed to elicit applause than laughs.

In a 2016 interview with Vulture, comedian, actor, and musician Donald Glover decried the new trend in which performers sought to get “clapter,” rather than actually telling funny jokes. He said:

“The No. 1 thing we kept coming back to is that it needs to be funny first and foremost. I never wanted this sh*t to be important. I never wanted this show to be about diversity; all that sh*t is wack to me. There’s a lot of clapter going on.”

The term “clapter,” which was coined by Seth Meyers, describes a phenomenon in which a comedian favors political pandering over authentic humor. Alleged comedians like Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and others routinely engage in this form of virtue-signaling, garnering roaring applause for saying mean things about Republicans and conservatives. In seeking this low-hanging fruit, they are diminishing the comedic art form by trying to stay in the good graces of the Church of Wokeism.

This is where the wokeist crowd seeks to take comedy.

People like Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, and other famous comedians are bucking this trend, refusing to give in. These people reflect the type of comedy many of us grew up with; biting, acerbic content that pushed the limits of what is acceptable to say in public. They take potshots at cultural norms believed to be sacrosanct, and they do it with impunity.

Will the left succeed in remaking comedy? It is certainly possible. But given the success of Chappelle’s specials, it is easy to see that the rest of the American public has not gotten sensitive enough to accept the paradigm the left wishes to foist upon it.