Dave Chappelle spoke at length about the backlash to his transphobic comments on the second episode of his podcast The Midnight Miracle, comparing being called a transphobe to being called the n-word and claiming that going to see his comedy shows is a “huge act of defiance.”
Speaking with co-hosts Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey, Chappelle recounted an incident last July when the venue First Avenue in Minneapolis canceled his planned comedy show following an uproar over transphobic jokes in his Netflix special, The Closer.
“I guess apparently they had made a pledge to the public at large that they would make their club a safe space for all people, and that they would ban anything they deemed transphobic,” Chappelle said (via Variety). “This is a wild stance for an artistic venue to take, especially one that’s historically a punk rock venue.”
Chappelle’s show was rescheduled for Minneapolis’ Varsity Theater, which was then picketed by protesters. Of the crowd that he previously called a “transgender hit squad,” he said on the podcast, “These were grown people of various genders and gender identities. They threw eggs. They threw eggs at the people who were lined up to see the show.”
“One lady was so mad with the protesters, she picked up a police barricade,” Chappelle added. “You ever seen one? They look like a bike rack. This bitch picked that barricade up by herself and and threw it at the crowd. I gotta tell you, it’s an amazing feat of strength for a woman.”
The 49-year-old comedian also raved about the reception he received from the crowd that night. “When I walked on stage, it was a huge ovation because suddenly going to see a comedy show was this huge act of defiance,” Chappelle said. “I don’t think anyone had any malicious intent. In fact, one of the things that these people, the trans and their surrogates, always say is that my jokes are somehow gonna be the root cause of some impending violence that they feel like is inevitable for my jokes. But I gotta tell you, as abrasive as they were, the way they were protesting, throwing eggs at people, throwing barricades, cussing and screaming, [none of my fans] beat ‘em up. In fact, the people in the crowd would just say, ‘We love you. Like what are you talking about?’”