Dave Chappelle’s latest (and allegedly final) Netflix special The Closer has yet again sparked controversy around the comedian’s determination to keep pushing boundaries with transphobia and homophobia. (Brave!) If this feels familiar, it’s because it is. In response to this special, several trans staffers at Netflix have publicly called out and cut ties with the company.
This backlash is the latest installment of the great irony with “getting canceled.” Yet again, the loudest opponents of so-called cancel culture get to call themselves martyrs in front of their sold-out comedy specials produced by the most popular and powerful of streaming services. Meanwhile, many comedians who actually represent the identities being mocked don’t have that same access to the spotlight. Maybe that’s what the real cancel culture looks like; it’s searching for “trans comics to watch on Netflix” and finding not any new faces to watch, but instead pages of results about Dave Chappelle’s material. Who is really in danger of being silenced?
Instead of fueling to the transphobic fire, here are some of our favorite trans, genderqueer, and hilarious comedians to have on your radar (if they aren’t already).
Some notes: This list is in no way exhaustive and is certainly missing the names of some wildly talented comics. (If you’re on Twitter, do yourself a favor and throw a follow at everyone in this thread). And sadly, not everyone featured on the following slides will have quick links to specials on major streaming platforms—but that’s sort of the point here.