We now have some idea of how many people actually watched Dave Chappelle’s controversial comedy special, “The Closer,” thanks to Nielsen’s streaming rankings for the Week of Oct. 4-10.
The Netflix special, which has been harshly criticized over the comedian’s transphobic material (and even led to an employee walkout and protest last month), debuted at No. 7 on Nielsen’s originals list with 399 million minutes viewed. The special’s viewership attracted a 59% male audience, making it the most male-skewing program on this week’s list, with 40% of the audience being African American.
Netflix and Chappelle came under fire from prominent social justice organizations last month for jokes targeting trans and other LGBTQ+ people in his new special. “Gender is a fact,” he says at one point in the hour-plus set. “Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth.” Chappelle then joked about the genitalia of trans women, which he described as “not what it is.”
The backlash led to a protest by LGBTQ groups as well as employees, with one trans staffer getting fired for allegedly leaking financial and viewership data about Chappelle’s show and other content to Bloomberg (the former staffer has since denied the claim and filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board).
“Seinfeld” made the overall list in its second week of availability on Netflix with 590 million minutes streamed, good enough for seventh.
To the shock of nobody given the insane numbers Netflix has put out themselves, “Squid Game” comfortably led with its second straight week of over 3 billion minutes streamed (even if the 3.02 billion was down slightly from the 3.26 billion the week prior).
The streaming service itself said that two-thirds of Netflix households sampled the first season within its first four weeks. In other words, 142 million of Nielsen’s 214 million households watched at least two minutes of any “Squid Game” episode within the first 28 days of its availability.