So-called comedian Dave Chapelle says he’s ‘Team TERF’ while defending JK Rowling

A still from Dave Chappelle's special The Closer on Netflix

Dave Chappelle is facing backlash for remarks he made about the LGBT+ community and declaring he’s “Team TERF” in his new special, The Closer.

During the show, which premiered Tuesday (5 October) on Netflix, Chappelle addressed statements he made in the past, including about trans people. In one monologue, the comedian mused about the controversy surrounding JK Rowling before declaring he agreed with her, saying “gender is a fact”.

“Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth,” Chappelle said. “That is a fact.”

He continued: “Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those pussies that they got… you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not pussy, but it’s Beyond pussy or Impossible pussy. It tastes like pussy, but that’s not quite what it is, is it?

“That’s not blood. That’s beet juice.”

He also declared that he is “team TERF”, an acronym that stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”.

Dave Chappelle also declared that people who watch his specials would “know that I never had a problem with transgender people”. He then seemingly drew a line between the Black and queer communities, saying his problem hadn’t been with LGBT+ people but white people.

“If you listen to what I’m saying, clearly, my problem has always been with white people,” Chappelle proclaimed.

However, Chappelle’s jokes sparked criticism online, with many people saying they felt more malicious than hilarious.

Others pointed out that his jokes exposed his “utter lack of acknowledgement of Black LGBT+ people”.

Elsewhere in The Closer, Dave Chappelle said he would like to “negotiate the release of DaBaby” after the rapper faced backlash over a number of his remarks about AIDS and HIV and the LGBT+ community earlier this year.

Chappelle began by saying that a “lot of the LGBT community doesn’t know DaBaby’s history” as he “once shot a n****r and killed him”.

He said “nothing bad happened to his career” after this incident before quipping that the public appeared more offended by DaBaby’s anti-LGBT+ statements than the killing of a Black man.

“Do you see where I’m going with this? In our country, you can shoot and kill a n****r, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings,” Chappelle proclaimed.

According to NME, DaBaby was arrested in connection to a fatal altercation at a Walmart in North Carolina in November 2018 where one man was shot and killed. DaBaby insisted he never pulled the trigger, but he was later found guilty of a misdemeanour charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

In the end, Chappelle declared he was done making jokes about the LGBT+ community. He said he won’t be “telling another joke about you” until “we are both sure that we are laughing together”.

“All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people?” Chappelle said.

Dave Chappelle has a long history of using trans women as the punchline of his jokes

In his 2019 Netflix special Sticks & Stones, Chappelle declared trans people “hate my f***ing guts and I don’t blame them”, adding he “can’t stop writing jokes” about the trans community.

He said he didn’t realise that he was “breaking an unwritten and unspoken rule of show business” where “you are never, ever, allowed to upset the alphabet people”.

“I feel bad for the Ts,” he adds. “But they’re so confusing… the fact is if a person can be born in the wrong body, they have to admit that’s a f***ing hilarious predicament.”

He also declared in his 2018 special Equanimity that the transgender community “hates me the most”, and he “didn’t realise how bad it was”.

Last year, RuPaul’s Drag Race royalty Bob the Drag Queen called on Dave Chappelle to stop making jokes about the trans community.

Bob told E! host Justin Sylvester on the Just the Sip podcast that she always “looked up to Chappelle”, but his “comedy lately has been really doubling down on this idea that trans people are a joke or that trans existence is funny”.

“When Dave Chappelle – who’s one of the most respected Black people in comedy – goes on TV or when Netflix gives him money to say, ‘I can stop laughing at trans people, they’re just so funny’, it validates the idea for other people to double down and agree with him,” Bob said.

Bob suggested that Dave could instead “use his voice to say trans people are valid” and “stand up for trans people”.