A new Netflix comedy special from Dave Chappelle was released on Friday under the radar via the streaming giant, and focused on a speech he gave at his alma mater after turning down the school’s offer to take the theater after his renaming controversy over transphobic jokes after him.
His lecture at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC last November was the focus of Netflix and Chappelle’s latest show, What’s in a Name.
It’s unclear how both sides benefited from the new special, as Chappelle’s $60 million deal with Netflix only included four specials, ending with his final and arguably most controversial project, The Closer.
In the new special, Chappelle recalled how students reacted to transphobic jokes made on “The Closer” and how he had to defend his rights to artistic freedom.
“All the children screamed and screamed. I remember saying to the kids, ‘Well, OK, well, what do you think I did wrong?’ And a line formed. These kids said everything about gender and this and that and that, but they said nothing about art.”
He added: “And that’s my biggest criticism of this whole controversy with ‘The Closer’: that you can’t cover an artist’s work and take artistic nuance from their words.
“It would be like you’re reading a newspaper and they’re like, ‘Man getting shot in the face by a six foot rabbit, it’s expected to survive,’ you’d be like, ‘Oh my god,’ and they’re saying it never give you a Bugs Bunny cartoon.”
CHRIS ROCK, DAVE CHAPPELLE PERFORM STAND UP COMEDY SHOW TOGETHER
Chappelle graduated from school in 1991 and returned in November for a surprise visit that left students thinking he was apologizing for insensitive remarks on The Closer.
“When I heard those talking points coming out of the faces of these children, it really, really hurt me. Because I know these kids couldn’t find those words. I’ve heard those words before. The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it,” Chappelle said.
DAVE CHAPPELLES ALMA MATER NAMES THEATER AFTER STAR DESPITE ‘CLOSER’ COUNTERS: ‘STAND BEHIND OUR DECISIONS’
“And it has nothing to do with what you say, I can’t say it. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom to express myself artistically. This is valuable to me. This is not separate from me. It is worth protecting for me, and worth protecting all others who strive in our noble, noble professions.”
He added: “And these children have not understood that they are instruments of oppression. And I didn’t get mad at her. they are children You are a freshman. You are not ready yet. They do not know .”
Some students at the school protested just weeks after Chappelle pledged $100,000 to the art school.
Chappelle was also not invited to a charity event for the theater to be named after him vowed to move away as a prospect at all, when those who criticized him took their money into their hands and donated more to the school than his supporters.
“I’m 16 and I think you’re being childish, you treated it like a child,” said one student, adding that Chappelle was a “fanatic,” Politico Playbook reported at the time after speaking to attendees at the event.
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER
“My friend, with all due respect, I don’t think you could make any of the decisions I have to make on any given day,” he replied, according to students covering the event.
Despite his attempts to engage with the students and the general public, Chappelle declined the offer for the last time last month. The building will instead be named Theater of Artistic Freedom and Expression.
Chappelle, who was a major donor to the school’s theatre, said he was willing to put his name on the building in the future.
His troubles on stage took a violent turn a few months ago when the comedian was attacked by Isaiah Lee during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3.
The suspect was reportedly carrying a replica gun with a knife blade inside when he lunged at Chappelle, police said.