Dave Chappelle’s ‘The Closer’ Notches 2 Emmy Noms Despite Backlash to Transphobic Jokes

The special is up for Outstanding Variety Special and Directing for a Variety Special

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Despite receiving heavy criticism for telling transphobic jokes several times through its 70-minute runtime, Dave Chappelle and his Netflix special “The Closer” scored two Emmy nominations on Tuesday. The project is up for Outstanding Variety Special and Directing for a Variety Special.

Earlier this year, the embroiled comedian began receiving intense backlash for transphobic jokes he made during the special. Shortly after it was released, he appeared for a Q&A at his alma mater, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., where he faced hostility and booing from the students, who questioned his judgement in making the jokes.

Last week, Netflix quietly released a new project with Chappelle, capturing the speech he gave to those same students in June, in which he doubled down on his offensive remarks.

“The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it,” he said. “And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom, of artistic expression. That is valuable to me.”

Chappelle also complained about how his jokes from “The Closer” – and the special as a whole – were stripped of their “artistic nuance” thanks to the way the media covered them and the criticisms they received.

Before the speech was up, Chappelle called the students who had begrudged him “instruments of oppression” and claimed that they had simply been indoctrinated by their own superiors. “I didn’t get mad at them,” he said. “They’re kids. They’re freshmen. They’re not ready yet. They don’t know.”

In June, fellow comedian Jerrod Carmichael called out Chappelle for his jokes in “The Closer,” as well, lamenting that this is the legacy Chappelle will leave.

“Chappelle, do you know what comes up when you Google your name, bro? That’s the legacy? Your legacy is a bunch of opinions on trans s—?,” he told GQ. “It’s an odd hill to die on. And it’s like, hey, bro. Who the f— are you? Who do you f—? What do you like to do? Childish jokes aside, who the f— are you? It’s just kind of played. But he’s choosing to die on the hill. So, alright, let him.”