Dave Chappelle To Host SNL, But The Show’s Writers May Stop Him By Quitting

Writers for Saturday Night Live are reportedly boycotting the show over a hosting appearance by Dave Chappelle, who has been accused of transphobia.

By Vic Medina | Published

There’s trouble brewing at 30 Rock, the home of NBC, where writers for Saturday Night Live have reportedly boycotted working on this week’s episode because comedian Dave Chappelle is hosting this weekend, according to a report by The New York Post’s Page Six. The writers are upset over Chappelle’s constant habit of making jokes critical of gay and transgender people, which has sparked backlash from activists and even workers at Netflix, which carries his specials. Some of those Netflix workers even quit in protest.

“They’re not going to do the show,” an SNL insider reportedly told Page Six of the intentions of members of the writing staff, who did reveal that none of the actors on the show are boycotting. However, a representative for Dave Chappelle told Page Six that they saw no evidence of writers sitting out the episode when the comedian sat in on writer’s meetings this week to work out the show’s sketches. “The room was full of writers,” Chappelle’s rep told Page Six. “They all pitched ideas and they seemed very excited about it.”

This will actually be the third time Dave Chappelle has hosted SNL, but it will also be the first time since the premiere of his Netflix special The Closer, where he specifically ripped transgender activists that criticized him. That special sparked widespread protests on social media and walkouts by Netflix employees.

The band Black Star will be the show’s musical guest.

dave chappelle netflix
Dave Chappelle in The Closer (Netflix)

In May of this year, at the height of the controversy over Chappelle and the protests surrounding him, the comedian was attacked onstage by an activist who ran up to him in the middle of his set at the Hollywood Bowl and tackled him. The man was carrying a fake gun, which had a real knife on it, and he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, although Chappelle was largely unharmed. Chris Rock, who was in attendance, ran onto the stage and asked if the man was Will Smith.

Immediately after Chappelle’s appearance on SNL was announced, Celeste Yim, who identifies as trans and non-binary, posted on their Instagram stories that “Transphobia is murder and should be condemned.” The post is no longer available, but a screenshot is circulating on Twitter. Yim is not commenting on the post, nor confirming that it was in reference to Dave Chappelle.

This season, Saturday Night Live added its first-ever non-binary cast member, Molly Kearney, who has not yet commented on Chappelle’s appearance.

Although Chappelle has received significant backlash over his jokes about transgender people, he is an equal-opportunity offender, going after individuals across the social and political spectrum. After the murder of George Floyd, Chappelle released a short special on Netflix to address the incident, using the platform to slam conservative commentator Candance Owens for comments critical of Floyd.

Earlier this year, a Minneapolis theater canceled Chappelle’s appearance there in protest of his jokes. The comedian rescheduled the show at a another local theater.

When Chappelle’s Washington D.C. high school made plans to rename its theater after him, some students protested. When Chappelle appeared at the school, he turned down the request to name the theater after him, and then criticized the protesting students for their intolerance of free thought and expression.

Best known for his Comedy Central series Chappelle’s Show, Dave Chappelle has had a long career in stand-up, as well as TV and film. He also appeared in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born, as well as Half-Baked and Con-Air.