Dave Chappelle has visited his old high school — and he’s no “Closer” to redemption.
The controversial comedian, 48, was lambasted by students after he spoke at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
Chappelle — who graduated from the prestigious school in 1991 — spent about an hour addressing 580 students inside an auditorium, according to Politico, before things “went south” during a subsequent Q&A session.
The funnyman has faced accusations of transphobia due to jokes made in his new Netflix special, “The Closer,” and students at the school seemed eager to voice their concerns.
“I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child,” one student said of Chappelle’s response to the initial backlash he faced over the special. The student described the comedian as a “bigot.”
Meanwhile, another student approached the microphone and bluntly told Chappelle: “Your comedy kills.” The funnyman purportedly shot back: “N—– are killed every day.”
One parent told Politico they were not impressed with the comedian’s choice of language. “As a parent, I have to say I have a real problem,” a father said. “He was being dead serious and using the n-word on the record. What kind of judgment is the school showing to allow that?” they stated.
However, not all students were opposed to Chappelle’s presence on campus. According to Politico, some students enthusiastically cheered as the comic took to the stage to speak.
Duke Ellington School of the Arts is in the process of renaming its theater after Chappelle. Some students, parents and alumni are trying to block the move.
In a letter posted on the school’s website, administrators say they are planning on going ahead with the renaming in spite of the controversy.
“On April 22, 2022, we will celebrate one of our most distinguished alumni, Dave Chappelle, by naming our theatre in his honor,” the school wrote. “This theatre naming was the desire of one of our founders, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, who recognized Chappelle as an important thought leader of our time.”
“We recognize that not everyone will accept or welcome a particular artist’s point of view, product or craft, but reject the notion that a ‘cancel culture’ is a healthy or constructive means to teach our students how society should balance creative freedom with protecting the rights and dignity of all its members.”
Chappelle has been under fire since the release of “The Closer” last month, in which he declared himself to be a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” (TERF).
“They canceled JK Rowling — my God. Effectually, she said gender was fact, the trans community got mad as s–t, they started calling her a TERF … I’m Team TERF,” he quipped in the stand-up special.
“Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. This is a fact.”