Dave Chappelle keeps feeding his own The Closer controversy. He continues cracking trans jokes on tour, and his high school alma mater, Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown, responded to student backlash by quietly cancelling a fundraiser where he was the guest of honor. The school hasn’t yet cancelled the decision to name a theater after the comedian, although they’ve pumped the brakes on the official renaming. Dave initially reacted to the fundraiser cancellation with a bit of a slam. He then showed up at Duke Ellington for a Q&A, which led to him being booed by high schoolers who called him a “bigot,” and he responded by declaring, “I’m better than all of you.”
What a fine mess. In the aftermath, Dave has apparently decided to take the question of the theater renaming into his own hands. He’s asking fans and non-fans to vote (either for or against the theater being named “Chappelle”) by opening their wallets to Duke Ellington and expressing a preference. On Instagram, he wrote, “If you object to my receiving this honor, I urge you to donate to the school noting your objection. If you are in favor of the theater being named ‘Chappelle,’ I urge you to donate to the school, noting your approval.” Then he upped the stakes with a kicker:
“Whichever opinion donates the highest collective dollar amount, wins… If by April, those against the ‘Chappelle’ theater exceed the donations of those who are neutral or in favor of the theater being named ‘Chappelle’, I will gladly steal aside. If not, I will happily attend the naming ceremony. And if you don’t care enough to donate… please shut the f*ck up, forever.“
The Washington Post previously pointed out how Chappelle described Duke Ellington’s theater renaming to be “the most significant honor of my life.” And then The Closer controversy began, and the renaming postponement led Chappelle rep Carla Sims to declare that the comedian “supports the school and any effort to contribute to open conversations vs. cancellations.” Granted, he wants people to vote with their wallets, and this should ultimately benefit the theater, although it must be noted that the school has beefed up security after threats against students who protested Chappelle’s trans jokes, and that security surely cost a good deal of money. And naturally, Dave couldn’t resist that “shut the f*ck up” at the end.
You can read Chappelle’s full Instagram post below.