Dave Chappelle Canceled By His High School, Appearance Postponed After Student Protest

By Doug Norrie | 2 weeks ago

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Dave Chappelle continues to face backlash related to his most recent comedy special on Netflix and this time some of the criticism is hitting a little closer to home than usual. The comedian had planned a scheduled appearance at his former high school, but that is going to now be rescheduled with students of the school threatening to boycott it and walk out in protest. According to Politico (via Deadline), the appearance was originally planned to be part of a fundraiser at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown on November 23rd. But after initially canceling the event outright, the school has said they are, for now, moving the date of the event in response to the concern that students would be mounting a protest. 

Dave Chappelle graduated from Washington’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts back in 1991. It wasn’t long after when he started making a name for himself on the standup comedy circuit, performing in New York City as early as 1992. The return to his school in a couple of weeks was part of a planned function that would unveil an exhibition dedicated to the comedian. Additionally, the event was going to be a charity function to raise funds for the newly created theater on campus that is being named after Chappelle. 

While Duke Ellington has moved the date of the function honoring Dave Chappelle it’s important to note again that it wasn’t canceled fully. Originally, that appeared to be the plan, but then the school simply decided to move the date to the spring, likely to put a bit of a buffer in surrounding the current news cycle with Chappelle. They did even issue a statement about the situation. In part, it read, “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 right and dignity of all of its members.”

dave chappelle netflix

This latest news about Dave Chappelle comes on the heels of his Netflix special, The Closer draw criticism from the transgender community about comments he made during the performance. In the wake of the release, both Netflix and the comedian have become lightning rods of criticism and the streamer even faced internal discord among some employees who disagreed with the decision to air it. Netflix hasn’t backed down on the decision at all and there continue to be issues with former employees. Two even filed an unfair labor charge against the streamer in regards to their internal handling of aspects around employee issues with the special.  

Dave Chappelle hasn’t appeared too concerned with the backlash to The Closer. He’s commented in jest, most likely, that canceling him was going well and he appeared in a live performance alongside Joe Rogan to discuss, in part, aspects around cancel culture in the United States. Some folks, like Bill Maher, have even come to the defense of Dave Chappelle in the aftermath of the special, reminding people that he was simply making jokes. Those comments were received in different ways from different groups. 

While this latest issue with Dave Chappelle’s high school does show that there continue to be folks with problems regarding the comedian, we won’t see much of a pivot from Chappelle who has made a career saying what he’s felt. That is unlikely to change even with students at his alma mater taking umbrage with his brand of comedy. As of this writing, Chappelle had not commented on the specific situation with Duke Ellington.