‘Suddenly, Going to See a Comedy Show Was This Huge Act of Defiance’: Dave Chappelle Claims Trans Activists Threw Eggs at His Fans
Dave Chappelle says that his fanbase is under attack from egg-throwing transgender activists.
Chappelle’s long and arduous friction with the transgender community and their allies in recent years has had comedy fans scrambling to proudly and publicly yoke themselves to either side of the debate on whether Chappelle’s comments are bigoted attacks on a marginalized group or a complex expression of free thought that is more nuanced than his detractors will acknowledge. The recent protests of Chappelle’s performances and criticism of their content may have been a benediction to the comedian as he’s found the sunny side of the pushback in his belief that being a Chappelle fan is now a noble act of rebellion against oppression.
In the most recent episode of Chappelle’s podcast, The Midnight Miracle, Chappelle told co-hosts Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey his side of the story surrounding the much-publicized protests to one of Chappelle’s performances in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past July. Surprising no one familiar with the comedian’s public comments in recent years, Chappelle believes that he and his fans were subjected to unconscionable oppression when his followers each paid him hundreds of dollars to do an hour of comedy in front of an adoring crowd.
During the episode, Chappelle explained the background of his summer set in Minneapolis which became a newsworthy event when community members pressured First Avenue club to cancel a scheduled appearance by Chappelle in response to his anti-trans comments. “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,” said Chappelle. It wouldn’t take long for arguably the most popular comedian in the world to find a different theater in Minneapolis that would host a show for Netflix’ biggest star – the historic Varsity Theater eagerly booked Chappelle for a surrogate show.
According to Chappelle, the protesters that assembled outside his backup venue were as diverse as they were enraged – and armed. “These were grown people of various genders and gender identities,” the comedian explained, “They threw eggs. They threw eggs at the (fans) who were lined up to see the show.”
The egg-throwing accusation is corroborated by the media coverage from the time of the protests, although only in one specific instance – Fox News Digital reported that one man was hit by an egg as he entered the venue, though they expressed doubt that the breakfast missile was launched by a trans ally looking to voice their disapproval of the controversial comic, writing, “Onlookers believed the person who threw the egg was not part of the protest.”
Chappelle emphasized the fury of the protestors as he explained, “One lady was so mad with the protesters, she picked up a police barricade.” Chappelle joked to his co-hosts, “You ever seen one? They look like a bike rack. This b—- picked that barricade up by herself and threw it at the crowd. I gotta tell you, it’s an amazing feat of strength for a woman.”
“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 of the performance itself. “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,” Chappelle said of the protestors. “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?'”
As strange as it is for Chappelle to commend his fans for not physically assaulting people who were holding picket signs, it’s in line with how Chappelle has fashioned himself and his followers as oppressed advocates for freedom. Local news outlets also reported that some of the protesters of his show in July crossed the line — five people were arrested during the protests for reasons ranging from suspicion of vandalism to suspicion of fourth-degree assault (less than substantial bodily harm).
Though Chappelle's egg-throwing allegations against his protestors may be true in a couple instances, the finger-pointing is effectively another deflection — via podcast, interview, stand-up special, whatever — which erases the very real grievances of his critics.