Our readers react to Dave Chappelle’s special: Lenny Bruce-like brilliance or too offensive? – Yahoo News

Regarding Mark Swed’s review of the opera “Sun & Sea” [“Our Time in the Sun,” Oct. 18]: What’s better than voyeurism? Apparently, sanctimonious voyeurism.

As a consumer product for those who titter, this production appears to check all the boxes. But its message is corrupt.

Are we to believe that sustainable living is incompatible with leisure? With life in the sunshine? Are we to believe that climate change is inevitable because of personal decadence? Are we to believe that any response short of becoming a flagellant is inadequate?

Beached middle-class whales are an easy target, but what’s missing is a critique of cultural leaders (you know, people who go to the opera) who define our collective cultural responses to change. This production seems wrongheaded on so many levels that its celebration by The Times is confounding.

Ed Salisbury

Santa Monica

Is Chappelle’s comedy a laughing matter?

After reading Mary McNamara’s column [“A Masterwork of Gaslighting,” Oct. 13], I watched Dave Chapelle’s comedy special “The Closer.”

I agree that the comment about pummeling a lesbian’s breast like cutlets was disgusting. But I thought the rest of it was within the bounds of his rough brand of humor and didn’t find it particularly offensive.

Cathy Tennican

Los Angeles


It was dismaying to read Netflix’s disingenuous corporate defense of the hate speech that Dave Chappelle offered as comedy in his stand-up special “The Closer.”

Violent video games and movies are very different from arrows of derision and prejudice aimed directly against Asians, Jews and trans people.

Eric Brill

West Covina


It is painfully obvious that Mary McNamara did not watch the entire program.

She has taken the same out-of-context lines from it that others have, gotten outraged and then tried to justify her anger by claiming Netflix’s [CEO] Ted Sarandos is “gaslighting” us.

She is so obsessed with [his] memo that by her own admission she has read it “about 427 times now.”

She and your readership would have been far better served if, instead of obsessing about the memo, she had bothered to watch and understand the entire special. Chappelle’s carefully crafted climactic ending may have been wasted.

Eric Thiessen

Newport News, Va.

Editor’s note: Sarandos later followed up his memo to employees with comments saying he “screwed up” in the tone of his message and that he “should have recognized the fact that a group of our employees was really hurting.” But the streamer had no plans to remove the special.


Frankly, I do not know if I am disturbed or amused by the reaction to Dave Chappelle’s latest offering on Netflix. The outrage from the LGBTQ+ community seems completely misplaced.

While I support the right of every member of society to do whatever it is they wish to do as long as all involved are willing partners and not injured, that does not shield them from others commenting on public behavior that is rude, mean or just plain outrageous.

It is my belief that a majority of Americans today feel as I do about personal freedom and about behavior involving or affecting others.

Ralph Wills

Woodland Hills


The other night I was watching an old Chris Rock special on TV. Rock cracked jokes about Black people for a while and then he went after white folks as well. Was I insulted when Rock made some humorous but edgy jokes about my ethnic group? Not in the least.

If I didn’t like his style of humor, all I had to do was change the channel. I didn’t.

Mark Walker

Yorba Linda


I have not watched “The Closer” because viewing the program goes into Netflix data as a “watch” whether I am horrified, offended and deeply saddened or thrilled to have laughter and jokes supporting dehumanization of populations of people at risk for murder and violence for the simple act of being visible.

I have an ad slogan for Netflix to consider: “Netflix: The Facebook of live streaming.”

Doug Braun-Harvey

San Diego


Whenever I see a piece lambasting someone for not being sensitive enough to one or another minority, the Spanish Civil War springs to mind. Even while the fascists were bearing down on them, the Republicans were often so busy enforcing ideological purity they were unable to mount an effective defense.

Dave Chapelle is on our side in the struggle against oppression. Liberal group think and the inability to take a joke for what it is will be the death of us all.

John Stevenson



Mary McNamara writes “But stand-up comedy is not, by definition, offensive.”

But great stand-up is. Lenny Bruce, Don Rickles, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison and others would be victims of McNamara’s censorship today.

Dan Salomon

Mission Hills

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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