Review: 'The Closer'

By: 
Ben Miles

Dave Chappelle is a cerebral comic. His act is as bold and at times as profane as anything Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy have ever presented. Nevertheless, Chappelle offers profundity in a manner that few other stand-up acts have.

He weaves together a spectrum of personas as with the alleged (apparent) sexual repression of former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as imitations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocating opportunities for sexual exploits, anonymously, in public bathrooms.

What’s more, Chappelle’s “The Closer” takes transsexualism to task, while openly admitting his own transphobia — he responds to an audience member who shouts “They’re after you” with ‘One ‘they’ or many ‘theys’?”

At another point in the hour-plus act, Chappelle makes the coy observation that Caitlyn Jenner was recognized as “Woman of the Year” after having been a woman for just one-year and never having “a period” in her life.

Chappelle dares to speak of a fistfight with a transgender woman and elaborates on how he punches the individual in the breast area as if he’s going at “chicken tenders.” But is this bit of his act necessarily taboo?

It’s a story that taken out of context might appear cruel and crude but hearing the whole scenario makes clear that Chappelle was challenged by this formidable person. While he perhaps could have walked away, he chose to stand his ground and the two-party fight was on.

The act ends with Chappelle acknowledging a friend he made and that he invited to be the opening act for a show he was performing. The opening provided by this person was, according to Chappelle, just awful.

Nevertheless, he saw comedic talent in this individual and offered to mentor the person in performance technique. The individual, a trans-person went on to open several more Chappelle shows and they became fast friends prior to her suicide.

Although Chappelle refers to himself as transphobic, is he really? After all, would a transphobic individual befriend a transexual person? Not likely.

In spite of the uproar and walkouts over Chappelle’s “The Closer” (his third Netflix special, a deal for which in total it has been rumored has paid him tens of millions of dollars), Chappelle makes some courageous inquiries and takes a powerful stand on behalf of all people.

“The Closer” is currently streaming on Netflix. It’s meant for mature audiences. If it offends you simply change the channel.

You might prefer “The Cosby Show” reruns. Oh, right, no station is airing those repeats.

ben@beachcomber.news

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