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Dave Chappelle's The Closer stopped being fun when it started looking like something from Fox News

  • GQ

    "Maybe you watch comedy specials to endure them, but I watch them to have a good time, and I stop watching them when that’s no longer the case," writes poet Saeed Jones, who is gay and Black, in a GQ essay. "Chappelle argues this makes me 'too sensitive, too brittle'; I just think I have better things to do than watch a standup set that could just as well have been a Fox News special. As a gay Black man, even when I’m watching a comedy special, my identity is inconveniently present. It’s so annoying; I asked my queerness to chill in the other room so I could watch The Closer in peace, but no such luck." Jones points out at the beginning of his essay that Chappelle walked away from Chappelle's Show "when he realized the white people watching him were laughing a little too hard and likely for the wrong reasons." Jones adds: "It’s clear that whatever the hell was going on in 2005, Chappelle intuited that Hollywood was trying to kill him, literally or metaphorically, and I’m Black enough to know exactly what that feels like. I cheered when he decided to save himself instead. I cheered even louder when, having saved himself, he decided to return to the stage. America might love a second-act; I love Black people who get free. Watching Chappelle contort himself to justify ashy ideas about gender, queerness and identity is harrowing, because the only thing more brutal than someone saying hurtful shit is someone saying hurtful shit moments after making you laugh, moments after cracking you up in a way that’s both fun and deeply needed, moments after making you feel like you all got free together. America has only gotten better at trying to kill me. Laughter is no joke, which makes the betrayal, years in the making at this point, all the more devastating. I feel like a fool to have rooted for Dave Chappelle for so long. Things were easier when the men who wanted to hurt me just said so at the jump." ALSO: Damon Wayans says Chappelle "freed the slaves" of comedy from P.C. culture.

    TOPICS: Dave Chappelle, Netflix, Dave Chappelle: The Closer, Damon Wayans, LGBTQ, Standup Comedy