Jerrod Carmichael Lambasts ‘Egomaniac’ Dave Chappelle for Expecting A Public Apology Mid-Beef

Carmichael claims that the two comedians have been quietly feuding since he questioned Chappelle’s legacy in 2022
Jerrod Carmichael Lambasts ‘Egomaniac’ Dave Chappelle for Expecting A Public Apology Mid-Beef

Almost two years after Jerrod Carmichael challenged Dave Chappelle over his legacy of spearheading criticism of the transgender community by asking Chappelle bluntly, “Who the fuck are you?” Carmichael’s ready to answer that question for him, recently calling Chappelle an “egomaniac.” Don’t be surprised when Chappelle uses that name for his next eight-figure Netflix special.

In his 2022 GQ profile, Carmichael, who had just come out of the closet in his Emmy-winning stand-up special Rothaniel, openly addressed Chappelle over his obsession with targeting transgender people in every special of his lucrative Netflix deal. “Chappelle, do you know what comes up when you Google your name, bro?” Carmichael asked. “That’s the legacy? Your legacy is a bunch of opinions on trans shit? It’s an odd hill to die on. And it’s like, ‘Hey, bro, who the fuck are you? Who do you fuck? What do you like to do?’” Carmichael continued of Chappelle’s anti-trans crusade. “It’s just kind of played. But he’s choosing to die on the hill. So, alright, let him.”

Since then, Chappelle has been quiet on Carmichael’s comments, but according to Carmichael’s recent cover story in Esquire, the challenge sparked a comedy cold war that continues to this day. Carmichael spoke of the behind-the-scenes acrimony between himself and Chappelle, saying that the Netflix giant misunderstood his criticisms. “He took it as ‘Fuck Dave Chappelle,’ because he’s an egomaniac,” Carmichael said of Chappelle’s reaction. “He wanted me to apologize to him publicly or some shit.” 

“He referred to it as the bravest special for 1996,” Carmichael said of Chappelle’s private comments about Rothaniel and Carmichael’s decision to use the special to publicly come out as gay. “And it’s like, that’s a funny enough line, whatever, but I wonder if he gets the irony that the fact that you are mocking it even then is why it was hard.” 

Carmichael also explained that the comedy community as a whole contributes to the difficulties gay artists like him experience in expressing their true selves, saying, “So much of comedy is just gay jokes. As long as people continue to laugh at it and mock it, and as long as it’s a punchline, it’s going to be scary for somebody. It’s scary for me.”

Despite his differences with Chappelle, Carmichael insisted that he still has massive respect for Chappelle as an artist, even though he believes that, in his recent specials, Chappelle was “not revealing anything personal about himself and he’s removed from what he’s talking about.” Carmichael added of Chappelle, “I think he’s smarter than that and deeper than that and has more interesting thoughts.”

It’s hard to think of another massively celebrated comedian in recent memory who returned to the same topic to mine more material with the frequency and volume of Chappelle’s repeated return to the trans joke well. Much of Carmichael’s criticism of Chappelle seems to be centered around the artistic bankruptcy of the latter’s insistence on branding himself as the comedic challenge to transgender rights movement rather than Chappelle’s personal views on the trans community. 

But, sadly, it’s unlikely that the message will get through to Chappelle or his followers — to them, all criticism is just “cancel culture.” 


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