"This is prob the only negative review of the Chappelle that leaves a mark, in part b/c it's in his hometown Yellow Springs News, an outlet that has never profiled him," The New York Times' Jason Zinoman tweets of the review in the Yellow Springs News. "'we are very protective of Dave,' its editor once told me. It ran as a letter to the editor." The review, titled "Dave Chappelle’s views on gender are problematic and hurtful," was written by Iden Crockett, a Black transgender woman who lives in the village of Yellow Springs. "I don’t know how a white person views blackface because I am not a white person," writes Crockett. "I can infer, from the reactions of the white people that I am close to, that they feel the same way that I do. Mr. Chappelle and the people that he is defending know how they feel when they see a transgender woman. They do not know how it feels to be a transgender woman hearing influential people make these sorts of statements. They could infer, if they felt like doing so, how we felt about it by observing our reactions. My reaction to hearing my life, my day-to-day existence, compared casually to one of the most infamous and widely condemned racist traditions in the country, was shock. It was outrage. It was heartbreak. Knowing that this is the way people in my community — and possibly now the entire country — see me has absolutely broken my heart...By endorsing the worldview of trans-exclusionary feminism and comparing trans female existence to performing in blackface, Dave Chappelle has told me, and the world, how it feels to be Dave Chappelle when he sees a trans woman. He told me that he feels that I am deliberately mocking women in order to reinforce the view of them as inferior."
Will Dave Chappelle's The Closer controversy end Netflix's practice of the $20 million payday for big-name standup specials?: "Here’s how i think the Chappelle story will play out after the protest (Wednesday)," tweets New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman. "The story will fade, Chappelle will get a wave of reputation-burnishing press for ... His upcoming prestige doc about comedy in his small town in Ohio during the pandemic ... and his pouring money into cultural stuff in his small town, including but not limited to a comedy club that is being built right now. Chappelle will be fine. So will free speech in comedy. What this might actually change is Netflix. They might produce a few more trans artists, but also, the days of the $20 million payday for standup special, well, they might be numbered. This was the direction things were moving anyway (Eddie Murphy might be the last one) but now we see (Chappelle) gets less 'efficiency' (metric measuring eyeballs to $) than other comics, and he brings the cost of bad PR, this shifts the calculus for a corporate culture. And worst case: Maybe just fewer comedy specials altogether. I have gotten a few hints of this already. And well, this is not a shock either. HBO also slowed down standup specials after success in other things once upon a time. Things go in cycles."
The problem with Chappelle's The Closer is that he wants the regard of an intellectual without being held to the accompanying standard of rigor: "I’m fine with comedy that relies on contrived analogies and crude caricatures; being a real-deal cultural critic, on the other hand, comes at the expense of your comedic license," says Jason English. "It’s a difficult balancing act, and while he succeeded in just enough places in a couple of his previous shows, he fell gracelessly from the wire in this last one. It has become impossible for me to ignore that Chappelle tends to employ his intellectually dishonest analogies not to clarify the hypocrisy or shortcomings of liberal orthodox thinking, but to excuse bad thinking and behavior by way of obfuscation. (The DaBaby, Kevin Hart, and Louis CK “jokes” being glaring examples.) When the laughs are few and far between, and you’ve planted yourself smack dab in the culture wars raging against criticism, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a free-thinker who doesn’t believe you should have to answer for your thoughts. You can’t camouflage your self-interested rationalizations as an undertaking of a greater noble cause while having nothing besides judgment, condescension, and grandstanding to offer as proof. And that is where the free-thinker and liberal orthodoxy overlap: They prefer judgment and grandstanding to insight. For all their hand-wringing, castigating, contempt, and dismissiveness, something Chappelle’s critics in the media refuse to acknowledge is that his takes might just be more closely aligned to public sentiments than their own. This is not to defend Chappelle, but to harken back to a lesson the left taught me when I worked in civil rights: Removing Chappelle’s special only increases the power and allure of the ideas you aim to counteract and correct."