Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, “The Closer,” can still be seen on the streaming platform.
Whether it stays or goes it almost besides the point. Cancel Culture has another victory, and everyone watching this slugfest knows it.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos responded swiftly after the far Left raged against “The Closer,” saying Chappelle had once again told the wrong jokes. His material on the trans community, nuanced barbs ranging from cutting to heartfelt, could cause real-world violence, they cried.
Yes, the same community lodged the same complaints two years ago over Chappelle’s “Sticks & Stones” special. Cancel Culture has grown in strength and ferocity since then, and its adherents know it.
Sarandos stood up for his artist … initially.
“Some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do,” Sarandos wrote, adding Chappelle is one of the most popular performers working today.
“We don’t allow titles (on) Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line.
“I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries.”
Except the activist Left, and the mainstream media which supports it, wouldn’t let the matter go. Story after story, all framed to force Netflix to capitulate, flooded the web. Anyone who spoke out against Chappelle’s special, including “comic” Hannah Gadsby, got favorable coverage.
We even heard the list of “demands” from the activist Left, the same kind of rules colleges face when they anger the woke mob. Do what we say, or else.
So, of course, Sarandos finally backtracked on his initial stance. He gave a new interview to Variety in which he served up the three-word phrase the woke mob demanded.
Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication. I did that, and I screwed it up in two ways. First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity. Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything…
Of course storytelling has real impact in the real world. I reiterate that because it’s why I work here, it’s why we do what we do. That impact can be hugely positive, and it can be quite negative.
Remember, this is the same platform that released “Cuties,” a French film showing pre-pre-teen girls in provocative costumes performing an extended, and sexual, dance scene.
Conservatives howled in protest, as did anyone who realized that might be inappropriate images to share on a major platform. Netflix stood tall, never apologizing for the content and keeping the film on its platform. Even when customers starting cancelling the service they held firm.
Sarandos didn’t care about any hurt feelings from that controversy, apparently.
So how long will “The Closer” remain on the platform? Its removal would be the ultimate Cancel Culture victory, of course. It doesn’t have to happen, though, for a winner to be declared in this cultural battle. It’s already game, set match, Cancel Culture.
If the biggest comedian on the planet can’t tell the jokes he wants to tell, and the biggest streaming platform can’t have his back unconditionally, what does that say to every other stand-up today?
Say the “wrong” joke, and you’re next. So don’t go anywhere near what could be the “wrong” joke.
It gets worse.
What other material will now be declared off limits? Jokes about Vice President Kamala Harris, the first female VP and a woman of color? What about transgender athletes? Trans bathroom debates? President Joe Biden’s mental state?
Big Tech already clamps down on jokes it deems inappropriate. Will Netflix start doing the same? It’s one of comedy’s biggest platforms, attracting superstars from Chappelle to Sebastian Maniscalco. Will comedians have to vet their material prior to taping their next Netflix special?
“You retreat, they encroach,” Adam Carolla once said during a typical podcast rant about the woke mob. The words, while spoken off the cuff, perfectly describe the current moment.
And massive popularity means nothing. The people don’t have the power. The far Left does.
Consider that the YouTube teaser for “The Closer” boasts 73K “likes” from users and 1.3K down votes. The special’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score for the special is a sky high 95 percent “fresh?”
It doesn’t matter.
Thank you, Dave Chappelle! Thank you For your incredible humanity.
May God bless you and your family.
(Filipino Elvis) pic.twitter.com/6rtJn3oGqg
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) October 15, 2021
Where was Tina Fey? Chris Rock? Stephen Colbert? Jon Stewart? Why didn’t they shout their support for a fellow comedian’s right to tell jokes his way?
Fear, plain and simple.
The Left controls the culture, the news media and the narratives that shape our lives. They just proved it again, whether we can still watch “The Closer” tomorrow or not.