John Mulaney Faces Backlash After Dave Chapelle Opens for Him at Recent Show

This is not good.
By Savannah Moss
Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood

Comedian John Mulaney performed at a stand-up show in Columbus, Ohio that many fans looked forward to. But, according to several people on Twitter, they were surprised when it was announced that Dave Chappelle, who has been under fire for telling transphobic jokes, would be a surprise opener. Chapelle’s opening went on for fifteen minutes, during which people alleged that Chapelle told an anti-trans and anti-gay joke. Now, many are wondering why Mulaney, who is known to have many gay fans and has often told jokes about people assuming he was gay, would invite someone with an anti-trans past.

In case you are unaware, Chapelle was under fire after making transphobic jokes in his Netflix show “The Closer.” Many felt so strongly about the insensitive jokes that it inspired a walkout from Netflix employees. Now, after Chapelle performed unexpectedly, some are wondering why Mulaney decided to choose him as the surprise opener. “Okay so tell me why I just went to the John Mulaney show and Dave Chappelle was a surprise opener and made not only a transphobic joke but a homophobic one,” one person commented. According to them, “He told a joke about how he was attacked by a homeless man and thought it was a trans man at first, said he used a weapon that was confused whether it was a knife or a gun, then made a joke about two 17 yr olds in the crowd masturbating and then called them gay.”

Since phones were prohibited, there was no video evidence of the jokes being told but was a similar story around those who attended the show. “While I’m disappointed in John Mulaney, I’m not surprised. It speaks to how normalized transphobia is in comedy & how cis dudes don’t have to care about it, so they won’t. My sympathy lies with trans folks in the audience who wanted a fun night & got a reminder of hate instead,” one person noted. Although some noted that they could have left, or should not have attended the show in the first place, Mulaney does not have a history of telling transphobic or homophobic jokes, so it probably was not something they were expecting. And, Chapelle was a surprise opener.

Overall, it seems a lot of people were disappointed in Mulaney, although they were once fans. Although some pointed out that they are jokes, not meant to be offensive, many maintained that other comedians have been able to create a career out of making jokes that do not offend a marginalized group of people.