After Dave Chappelle’s alma mater disinvited him from an event, he showed up with cameras for a surprise appearance. It did not go well.
To briefly recap: Chappelle’s The Closer controversy continues to swirl with the comedian continuing to crack trans jokes on tour dates, after he declared in his Netflix special that that he is “Team TERF” (so-called for the trans-exclusionary radical feminist position held by J.K. Rowling). In response to the furor, his former high school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown, quietly cancelled a fundraiser where he was the guest of honor, and the school also pumped the brakes on renaming a theater after the comedian. Dave’s onstage response to this event cancellation: “They’re canceling stuff I didn’t even want to do.”
Well, Dave did show up to the campus despite the event cancellation. He performed at a surprise Tuesday event, where approximately 580 students gathered in an auditorium for a Q&A with the comedian. Amid a chorus of boos and cheers, Chappelle didn’t apologize to the students who had expressed concern for his trans jokes in The Closer. Instead, he cracked more jokes, even in response to their questions, as detailed in a Politico article. The piece notes that some Duke Ellington students have received “death threats” after protesting The Closer, and in turn, the school beefed up security, and students can no longer leave for lunch. And here’s some of the exchanges that went down:
During a Q&A session, one student stepped to the mic and called Chappelle a “bigot,” adding, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child,” according to two students present. The comments were confirmed by Chappelle’s spokesperson Carla Sims.
NO APOLOGIES: Chappelle responded, as recalled the next day by the students, “My friend, with all due respect, I don’t believe you could make one of the decisions I have to make on a given day.” That peeved some students who were hoping for an apology or some semblance of one from Chappelle.
The confrontational atmosphere continued with Chappelle essentially telling any antagonistic students off with no subtlety to be found:
In response to another antagonistic question, Chappelle roughly told the student body of artists: “I’m better than every instrumentalist, artist, no matter what art you do in this school, right now, I’m better than all of you. I’m sure that will change. I’m sure you’ll be household names soon.”
The students recalled that another student in the audience shouted at him, “Your comedy kills,” and Chappelle shot back, “N—— are killed every day.” He then asked, “The media’s not here, right?”
That wasn’t all. Students told Politico that Chappelle didn’t appear to take student’s questions seriously (he frequently laughed or fired back with more jokes), and when one student walked out, he called attention to her departure: “Of course she left early.”
However, the piece does note that Chappelle spoke out against death threats received by students. The comedian reportedly then referred to the student body as his “family” while declaring, “I don’t want to hear about any threats to these kids. These kids don’t deserve that.'” In response, one student told Politico, “If [only] he [had] acted that way the whole time … There was no reason to be mean to us. He was just laughing at kids.”