David Spade Commends Netflix Boss Ted Sarandos for Backing Dave Chappelle

‘We’re comics. We like that’
David Spade Commends Netflix Boss Ted Sarandos for Backing Dave Chappelle

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While Dave Chappelle’s recent comedy specials usually ignite social media firestorms, mainly for his mocks of the trans community, David Spade thinks Netflix boss Ted Sarandos deserves a slap on the back for standing with Chappelle. “When you come out and say, ‘I do back a comedian saying what they want,’ it doesn't mean you agree with it,” Spade told Sarandos on this week’s Fly on the Wall podcast. “It just means let people talk. I think that's commendable. Especially — we’re comics — we like that.” 

Sarandos compared Netflix to a giant bookstore with something for everyone. “You can open any book you want or not,” he offered. “People like to think about all kinds of diversity except for diversity of thought. And comedy is one of these places where you should have a pretty open playground to figure out ideas. Ideas have to live through conversation. I think comedy is a great place to start the conversation.”

“Some people don't agree,” said Spade. “Some people do and it's under the guise of a joke.”

Spade’s cohost Dana Carvey is always down for no-restrictions comedy. “I do think the comedic mind — ‘you're not supposed to say this’ makes you want to say it, you know? ‘You could say all these things but not that thing.’ You're like, ‘Well wait a minute.’ You immediately want to crack that puzzle, right?” 

While Spade says he doesn’t always agree with comics who go too far, he at least admires them for coloring outside the lines. “They're trying stuff,” he says. “It's not the same six jokes that everyone's allowed to use.” 

Comedy is “an art form that has a lot of different shapes,” says Sarandos. “And if you do shock comedy, the hard thing is getting the audience back. So it's a different kind of art … because it's not just a cheap laugh. You have to actually reign the audience back in too. You have to be able to master a lot of different things.” 

One comic who famously disagrees with Sarandos and his “something for everyone” comedy ethos is Hannah GadsbyIn an open letter in 2021, they wrote, “Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted view of the world.”

But Gadsby is back on Netflix this month with Gender Agenda, a special they produced with a lineup of seven genderqueer comedians. “I just asked myself, 'What's something positive that I could do that I could leverage my platform?'" Gadsby told PEOPLE. "The little bit of power that I have to try and humanize the presence of genderqueer and trans comedians on the Netflix platform.”

While there’s plenty for Gadsby and Sarandos to disagree about, both endorse the idea of comedy as conversation. “If you're going to change the conversation, you have to be a part of it,” Gadsby said. “You can't take yourself out of it. So I decided that this is my best guess of how to take my angry words and roll them into something constructive.”


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