Chappelle’s routine isn’t transgressive. It isn’t edgy. It doesn’t cross any red lines. Chappelle may throw some elbows in the paint sometimes, but on transgenderism, he is as thoughtful and sensitive as anyone could possibly hope a stand-up comic could be.
Which is why I put quotation marks around “controversial” above. What controversy? A handful of Netflix employees — the New York Times reported it was “dozens” in a firm that employs 9,400 — attended a rally last week to make some noise about Chappelle, but every day in this country there are “dozens” of protesters showing up to rally against this or that. Dozens of protesters routinely show up for school-board meetings without the national media taking any interest whatsoever, much less assigning two reporters to the matter as the Times did.
The Chappelle affair, then, is merely a case of the media hyping and exaggerating the popularity of an extremist agenda enthusiastically backed by its woke reporters and commentators. And what is that agenda? No jokes that find humor in transgenderism. Not even the mildest, tamest, gentlest, most sympathetic comic musings are permitted. We’re watching the rollout of a new policy before our eyes; transgender jokes are the new N-word and must be scrubbed from the public discourse. Chappelle may be too popular to be shut down, but the rest of the culture is receiving the message loud and clear. To the comics who pride themselves on being “rebels” and “free thinkers” who “break boundaries” and “don’t play by the rules,” it’s your move.