Joe Rogan is the latest person to comment on Dave Chappelle’s controversial new special, The Closer.
Joe Rogan has toured with Dave Chappelle. Rogan is also one of the few media personalities to interview the legendary comedian. He also fashions himself as a defender of free speech. So it’s not surprising that on the latest episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, episode 1721, Rogan comes to the defense of Chappelle.
During a conversation with Michael Malice — the host of the YOUR WELCOME podcast — Rogan spoke about trading texts with Dave Chappelle after the blowback of the comedian’s latest special, The Closer, and some of the transphobic material featured.
While he didn’t detail specifics about their conversation — just saying Chappelle is “riding out the storm” — Rogan pushed back on the idea that Chappelle was transphobic.
“He’s not a homophobic or transphobic person. He makes fun of himself. There’s a bit in that special about him getting molested and jerking off on a man’s face or cumming in a man’s face. Look, it’s fun. It’s just making jokes. That doesn’t mean hate. This is the problem with today: if you don’t have an enemy, you make an enemy. And this is a real problem with people. We look for things.”
Rogan continued to focus on Chappelle the character, rather than material the LGBT community found offensive.
“If you get down to Dave Chappelle’s real feelings, he’s a lovely person. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. He loves everybody. He’s not a hateful soul. He’s beyond jealous. He’s just a guy who loves this art form called stand-up comedy and he tries to do his best navigating this world of talking shit about things and saying outrageous things that get huge laughs, or placating really sensitive groups that feel like they’re in a protected class and then the other people that pile onto that, that also feel like this is a protected class. They equate any jokes with hate and this is where they’re wrong.”
Rogan also added that the controversy is probably making The Closer more popular — he called it the Streisand effect — and disagreed with the notion that Netflix should remove the special.
Released on October 5th, The Closer includes an extended monologue where Chappelle spoke about his relationship with the trans community and the fallout around Sticks & Stones, his last Netflix special. In The Closer, Dave Chappelle says he is Team TERF — trans-exclusionary radical feminist — and says “gender is a fact.”
The week the special came out, an employee posted a message encouraging trans workers and allies in Netflix to walkout on October 20th. That employee, who is Black and pregnant, was later fired by Netflix. (According to Netflix, she was fired for leaking internal information to Bloomberg that included information like how much money Chappelle received from his last two specials.)
On October 20th there will be a kick off rally outside Netflix’s Los Angeles headquarters. According to the social media post announcing the kickoff, there will be “a list of firm asks” presented to co-Chief Executive Officer Ted Sarandos.
Sarandos, for his part, has continued to stand by Chappelle. In an internal memo, he wrote, “We don’t allow Netflix titles that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line.”
Watch Joe Rogan’s comments below.