It’s not a new comedy special. But Netflix continues to ride the Dave Chappelle train, quietly releasing What’s In A Name, a chronicle of a speech Chappelle gave in June at a naming ceremony at Washington D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Chappelle wasn’t warmly received, and faced some angry students. The appearance was going to be for a theater that was to be named for Chappelle in consideration of his support of the school, especially after he and his friends were the group that raised the most money for the building.
That dream ended when his long-running controversy over statements on the transgender community in The Closer ended those plans. Instead, he decided the venue shall be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
The speech details Chappelle’s history before underlining his main point: “The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it.”
The speech features Chappelle talking about how his work has been characterized and analyzed.
“I saw in the newspaper that a man who was dressed in women’s clothing threw a pie at the Mona Lisa and tried to deface it. And it made me laugh and I thought, ‘It’s like The Closer.’ “
Chappelle said The Closer was unfairly portrayed in the press.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” he contended.
The comedian compared it to reporting the news that a large rabbit shot a man in the face, but not telling them the work being described was a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
“It has nothing to do with what you are saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my freedom of artistic expression.”
Tom Tapp contributed to this report
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