- Dave Chappelle was criticized by students at his alma mater over his comedy special “The Closer.”
- One student called the comedian a “bigot” while another told him his “comedy kills.”
- Chappelle sparked controversy over comments he made about the trans community in his Netflix special.
Dave Chappelle made a surprise visit to his former high school, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, during which he was criticized by current students and called a “bigot,” according to a report in Politico.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts — which is based in Northwest D.C. — initially postponed plans to rename its theater after Chappelle earlier this month and halted plans for the comedian to appear at a school fundraiser after students threatened to organize a walkout over comments Chappelle made about Trans people in his recent Netflix comedy special “The Closer.”
However, Politico reported that Chappelle’s surprise visit to the school was attended by up to 580 students, some of whom took to the microphone during a Q&A session to criticize the comedian.
The report states that one student called Chappelle a “bigot” before adding: “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
In response, according to students who were present and spoke to Politico, Chappelle said: “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.”
Politico confirmed that these comments were made with Chappelle’s spokesperson Carla Sims. Insider has contacted representatives for Chappelle for further comment.
The report later states that a student in the audience shouted “your comedy kills” at Chappelle, to which he responded: “N—–s are killed every day.”
A parent of a child who attends the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, but withheld their identity, spoke to Politico about the event.
“As a parent, I have to say I have a real problem,” they told the publication. “He was being dead serious and using the N-word on the record. What kind of judgment is the school showing to allow that?”
Carla Sims, Chappelle’s spokesperson, provided Politico with a statement in response: “They are complaining that he talked and said the N-word. If anything, Dave is putting the school on the map.”
Dave Chappelle has been a prominent supporter of Duke Ellington School of the Arts over the years, donating a total of $US100,000 ($AU139,211) and giving the school one of his Emmy awards, according to Deadline. Chappelle also held a masterclass for students in 2017 featuring fellow actors Bradley Cooper and Chris Tucker.
The outcry over “The Closer” — the sixth stand-up special Chappelle has debuted on Netflix — has been widespread. In the special, Chappelle voiced support for the “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling, who has been criticized for anti-trans comments. During a monologue, Chappelle also said that “gender is a fact” and “every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth.”