Netflix Releases New Chappelle Special Following ‘The Closer’ Backlash


| LAST UPDATE 07/11/2022

By Arianna Morgan
Dave Chappelle New Netflix
Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Netflix has continued to honor its relationship with Dave Chappelle, as the platform secretly dropped another one of his specials last week. The special, What's In A Name?, was released despite the backlash he received from The Closer.

In 2016, Netflix and Chappelle teamed up to produce three comedy specials for the platform at a whopping $20 million each, and in 2017 he dropped four stand-up specials on the platform that were wildly popular. Then in 2019, he released Sticks and Stones, where he made a few jokes regarding the trans community, and people were less than impressed. However, this became Netflix's most popular stand-up show thus far. Chappelle continued to make jokes regarding trans people in The Closer, which was released in 2021. This created a whole lotta backlash for Netflix and resulted in an employee-led protest, but the special remained on the platform.

Dave Chappelle Netflix Special
 Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
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The Closer was met with a lot of controversies following its release in the Fall of last year. However, Chappelle remained unapologetic about the special and it is still available on Netflix. Almost a year later, Netflix quietly released What's in a Name? which features the comedian giving a speech where he addresses the backlash he faced following the release of The Closer. The 40-minute special was shot on Chappelle's old stomping grounds, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where a theater was planned to be named after him. However, the theater was named the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression instead when Chappelle decided against the renaming due to the controversy.

What's in a Name? mostly covers his time at Duke Ellington, but at one point, he discusses the Q&A session he had at the school following his "cancelation" last year. The recorded Q&A session recorded students who were challenging and criticizing his remarks regarding the trans and LGBTQ communities. During the new special, Chappelle recalls the Q&A saying that the exchange hurt him and that the students' objections to his work were attacking his "freedom of artistic expression." Chappelle finished by saying, the teenagers who had criticized him were "instruments of oppression" and "they're kids, they're not ready yet."

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