Dave Chappelle to Executive Produce 4 Comedy Specials for Netflix Following 'The Closer' Criticism

Chappelle's Home Team will be stand-alone comedy specials that will each feature a different comic introduced by Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle.

Dave Chappelle is continuing to work with Netflix despite controversy surrounding his The Closer comedy special, which was criticized for comments made against the transgender community.

The streamer announced on Friday that the comedian, 48, will host and executive produce four upcoming comedy specials, collectively titled Chappelle's Home Team. The specials, according to a Netflix press release, will be stand-alone shows that will each feature a different comic introduced by Chappelle.

The first comedian to be featured will be Earthquake for his special, Earthquake: Legendary. That special will premiere on the platform on Feb. 28. A second episode, which will feature comedian Donnell Rawlings, has yet to receive a release date.

The other two comics, who "have been in the comedy game for over 30 years," per Netflix, have yet to be announced.

"I've been doing this a long time and comedians like Quake and Donnell are not only friends but have inspired my own career. Anyone in the comedy community knows these names and knows their time to shine is long overdue," Chappelle said in a statement. "I am proud to be a part of this moment."

Each special will be directed by Stan Lathan and executive produced by Chappelle, Lathan, Earthquake, Rikki Hughes, and Jermaine Smith.

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dave chapelle
Dave Chappelle. Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Last year, Netflix released Chappelle's The Closer, in which the comedian made several jokes that targeted the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people. The streamer quickly faced mounting criticism from viewers and employees over providing a platform for anti-LGBTQ views.

Netflix's co-CEO Ted Sarandos initially expressed support for Chappelle, telling Variety at the time that they "work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful."

Sarandos later followed up his statement, saying that he "screwed up" his response to the issue. "First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity," Sarandos told Variety in a separate statement.

"Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made," he added. "And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything. I didn't do that."

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After the release of The Closer, Chappelle stood by his Netflix stand-up special, but has said that he's open to a discussion with the LGBTQ community about concerns over perpetuating transphobia.

"It was said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true," he said in a video posted on Instagram in October.

"If they invited me, I would have accepted it, although I'm confused about what we're speaking about," he continued. "I said what I said. And, boy, I heard what you said. My god, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I'm the only one that can't go to the office anymore."

Chappelle added that he doesn't "blame" the LGBTQ community for the controversy, claiming that "it's about corporate interest."

He said, "For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been nothing but loving and supporting. So I don't know what all this nonsense is about."

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