In a new Netflix comedy special, Billy Eichner comes for Dave Chappelle and doesn’t hold back: “Come at me! I don’t have Jamie Foxx to defend me, but I do have Rosie O’Donnell and the entire Gay Men’s Chorus!”
Despite outrage, Netflix has continuously created a space for comics like Ricky Gervais and Chappelle to proliferate anti-trans hate speech disguised as (shameful excuses for) jokes. And while it doesn’t make up for the hurt, we’re at least relieved to see the streaming giant has also created a platform where a whole army of queer comics can snap back.
In the brand-new special, Stand Out: An LGBTQ Celebration—filmed in Los Angeles last month as part of the Netflix Is A Joke comedy festival—Eichner plays emcee to a gaggle of gays, touted as the “largest-ever gathering of LGBTQ+ comics.” As the night’s host, the Bros writer set a precedent that there’d be no tip-toeing around the transphobic elephant in the room, using his opening monologue to roast Chappelle—and the streamer itself.
“We all know how backwards and dangerous the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws are,” shared the Billy On The Street star. “Queer people, and especially trans people, are under legislative attack in this country. Trans people are being demeaned. They’re trying to dehumanize trans people. They’re trying to erase trans people. And I’m not even talking about Florida. I’m talking about Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special!”
And Eichner wasn’t the only performer to directly call out Chappelle by name. Feel Good and The Flight Attendant star Mae Martin took the opportunity to denounce the controversial stand-up—and others—for punching down. After using Beauty And The Beast‘s Belle, Gaston, and “the candlestick” Lumiere as a metaphor for the gender spectrum (“I really relate to the candlestick… the more you empower Lumiere, the more fun Belle and Gaston are going to have!”), they went on to paint a different picture:
“I have this fantasy that Chappelle and Louis C.K. and Ricky Gervais—any kind of multimillionaire who uses their massive platform to punch down—they’re eating a hog roast,” joked Martin. “They’re ripping off the meat. They’re drinking goblets of that medieval drink, mead. They turn on the TV, and they see me doing my little Beauty And The Beast joke, and suddenly they’re like, ‘Oh my god. We’re wrong.’ And they gently cradle each other. They kiss each other.”
Though the pointed Chappelle reads stop there, the rest of the special brims with a sense of defiance and joy in the face of increased anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Tig Notaro, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, Bob The Drag Queen, Guy Branum, Patti Harrison, Joel Kim Booster—and more—all take the stage, and the final triumphant stand-up set from the legendary Sandra Bernhard gets the crowd on their feet.
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Stand Out caps things off with a celebratory musical performance of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” from O’Donnell, Trixie Mattel, Fortune Feimster, and the rest of the special’s impressive line-up. We’ve got to imagine Chapelle wouldn’t be a fan, and you know what? Good!
Stand Out: An LGBTQ Celebration is streaming now, exclusively on Netflix.