'Dave Chappelle: Untitled': All about comedian's 11-day US tour amid controversy
Dave Chappelle remains defiant following the controversy over his latest Netflix comedy special and has gone back on the road for an 11-date tour across the country.
The veteran comedian, 48, launched a sold-out, in-person screening of his 'Untitled' documentary at the Chase Center in San Francisco Thursday night, November 4, where more than 18,000 fans packed the arena. Chappelle has faced calls to be canceled in recent weeks following controversial jokes he made in a stand-up special deemed transphobic by some critics.
"It's been a hell of a few weeks," Chappelle said on stage Thursday, appearing to dismiss the controversy by saying that it was only happening "in a corner of the world that just happens to control the media." He joked, "Man, I love being canceled. It's a huge relief!" and said he was able to ignore the outrage in part because he's "rich and famous." He added, "When you're in the eye of the storm, it all just swirls around you."
Chappelle caused an uproar after asserting in his jokes that "gender is a fact" and criticized what he referred to as the thin skin of the trans community. His jokes were based upon observations made by Harry Potter author J K Rowling, who stated in 2019 that trans women weren't actually women and rather a threat to a woman's identity. The latest documentary is said to be "fueled by the murder of George Floyd, shut-in by the closures of business due to the pandemic and provides economic and comic relief."
Chappelle addressed the backlash for the first time last week in a five-minute video he posted to Instagram. The post saw him reveal how he had been uninvited by film festivals and that several distributors had backed out of picking up his film. He said it was part of the reason why he decided to take matters into his own hands and head out on the road to screen the documentary to fans himself.
According to Chappelle, 'Untitled' documents the comedian's efforts to hold stand-up shows in a neighbor's cornfield in Ohio during the pandemic. He said he had been invited to "every film festival in the United States," but following the controversy surrounding his Netflix special 'The Closer', "they began disinviting me from these film festivals and now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, not nobody will touch this film." He added, "Thank god for Ted Sarandos at Netflix, he's the only one who didn't cancel me yet."
Sarandos, who is the co-chief executive for the streaming service, initially defended Chappelle's special and told staff in an email that "content on screen doesn't translate to real-world harm." However, he later backed down and apologized for his stance. Meanwhile, Chappelle continued to defend his special in last week's Instagram upload, claiming the controversy isn't about the LGBTQ community. "Do not blame the LGBTQ community for any of this s**t. That has nothing to do with this," he said. "It's about corporate interest and what I can say and I cannot say."
Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, Chappelle's documentary features stand-up shows he held in his neighbor's Ohio cornfield during the coronavirus pandemic last year. "The best comedians on Earth came to my home and broke bread with me and we lived our ways, we found a way to keep moving forward," he said. Chappelle was seen speaking in-depth about the police killing of George Floyd on the first night of the shows that took place in May 2020. "I desperately want people to see this movie," he said on Instagram. "But I understand why investors would be nervous."
It was due to the reluctance of producers that Chappelle decided to air the film on his own accord in ten other American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis between now and November 22. "You will be able to see this movie in its entirety and you can see what they're trying to obstruct you from seeing and you can judge for yourself," the comedian asserted.
November 7, 7 pm: Target Center - Minneapolis, MN
November 9, 7 pm: Wells Fargo Arena - Des Moines, IA
November 12, 7 pm: Gainbridge Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, IN
November 14, 7 pm: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse - Cleveland, OH
November 15, 7 pm: Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, Canada
November 17, 7 pm: Heritage Bank Center - Cincinnati, OH
November 19, 7 pm: Schottenstein Center - Columbus, OH
November 21, 7 pm: State Farm Arena - Atlanta, GA
November 22, 7 pm: Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
November 23, 7 pm: Capital One Arena - Washington, DC
The tickets for Dave Chappelle's 11-day tour of 'Untitled' can be purchased from Ticketmaster.