Comedian Dave Chappelle's Netlfix special "The Closer" began streaming Tuesday.

Comedian Dave Chappelle's Netlfix special "The Closer" began streaming Tuesday. Credit: Getty Images / Sean Rayford

In the last of his contracted specials for Netflix, comedy icon Dave Chappelle focused on transgender people, a topic of much previous controversy for him, as he repeatedly assured that he is not transphobic and reminisced about a late transgender friend, while also drawing social-media ire over jokes about trans sexuality and anatomy.

"Any of you who have watched me know that I have never had a problem with transgender people. If you listen to what I'm saying, clearly my problem has always been with white people," Chappelle, 48, riffed in the 75-minute special "The Closer," which debuted early Tuesday on the streaming service.

"The first thing I did today was watch the new Chappelle special and I have not been able to shake my annoyance ever since," tweeted Kathryn VanArendonk, a staff writer for New York magazine's Vulture.com. "Everything else aside … I just have to believe by this point that even the most devoted Chappelle audience would love to hear material on something other than his obsession with trans bodies … just for a change of pace!"

LGBTQ+ rights activist and writer Taylor Ashbrook wrote in a short essay across nine tweets that, "As a trans woman, I have usually defended Dave Chappelle's specials because I think they're hilarious and his jokes about trans women never felt intentionally malicious. The Closer changed my mind on that. That special felt so lazy and disingenuous and I'm really disappointed."

She added, "I am 100% with Dave Chappelle on the fact that people are too sensitive nowadays and that not everything someone says is meant to be mean, but that then doesn't give you an excuse to go the complete opposite direction and just be a total ... [jerk] to an entire group of people."

Lesbian comedian Elsa Eli Waithe told TheWrap.com in a statement, "Sure, everything is fair game. But he uses his platform to make jokes about rape victims, trans folks and the LGBTQ community. With all that's going on in the world, that's what he chooses to do?"

Some of Chappelle's fans complimented Chappelle "for being an equal opportunity offender. Nothing is sacred and he's just too happy to venture into risky territories no other comedian would touch with a ten foot pole. His audacity is a joy to behold and #TheCloser is easily one of his best specials yet."

Representatives for Chappelle and for Netflix did not respond to Newsday requests for comment.

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