Carlin was referencing other comics who picked on underdogs to elicit an easy laugh from white people insecure about their manhoods.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of transphobia that some readers may find distressing
As Dave Chappelle continues to double down on his transphobic jokes, the conversation has veered towards the stand-up comic picking on people who are already targeted and marginalized by society. An old clip of late comedian, George Carlin, has resurfaced on the internet highlighting why Dave Chappelle is targeting the trans community to elicit laughter from the privileged. Chappelle proudly identified as TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) in his Netflix special, The Closer, and said 'gender is a fact.' Chappelle was slammed for his comments but the comedian played the 'I have a trans friend who agrees with me' card to validate his stance, despite countless members of the trans community calling out the comedian.
George Carlin's words from 40 years ago might have been aimed at Andrew Dice Clay, who is known for his "lewd, rude, and crude" brand of comedy, but it might as well apply to Chappelle as well. Carlin made the comments during an interview with Larry King in 1990. Carlin warned Clay that he was constantly creating content at the expense of marginalized people. "I would defend to the death his right to do everything he does," said Carlin then of Andrew Dice Clay. "The thing that I find unusual, and it's, you know, not a criticism so much, but his targets are underdog[s]. And comedy traditionally has picked on people in power, people who abuse their power."
"His targets are underdogs, and comedy has traditionally picked on people in power, people who abuse their power. Women & gays & immigrants are, to my way of thinking, underdogs."— Morgan Art-boo-khina 👻 (@LavenderNRed) October 26, 2021
George Carlin is talking about Andrew Dice Clay, but it could just as easily be Dave Chappelle. https://t.co/rnD787OUM3
"Women and gays and immigrants are kind of, to my way of thinking, underdog[s]. And, you know, he ought to be careful, because he's Jewish," said Carlin. "And a lot of people who want to pick on these kind of groups, the Jews are on that list. A little further you've got women, gays, gypsies, and boom, boom, boom, and suddenly you find the Jews." King then asked Carlin how Dice Clay was able to "get away" with his offensive jokes.
George Carlin explaining the Dave Chappelle situation almost 40 years ago. pic.twitter.com/5YXMtlcAiA— NateTalksToYou (@NateTalksToYou) October 26, 2021
Carlin replied, "I think his core audience are young, white males who are threatened by these groups. I think a lot of these guys aren't sure of their manhood, because that's a problem when you're going through adolescence. You know, 'Am I really, could I be, I hope I'm not one of them,'" said Carlin. "And the women who assert themselves and are competent are a threat to these men, and so are immigrants in terms of jobs."
And then he ended his special with a "but I had a trans friend" story. He says we don't listen. But he's not listening. Those words have real world consequences. Consequences that every trans woman I know has dealt with. Bruises and panicked phone calls to friends. That's real.— Jaclyn Moore (@JaclynPMoore) October 7, 2021
The same could be said of Chappelle as well. After spending years poking fun at white people, they are now his staunchest supporters. Donald Trump Jr., and, Ben Shapiro, and Dinesh D'Souza are among right-wing activists backing Chappelle as he shouts from the biggest platforms that he's been canceled. Comedian Jon Stewart defended Chappelle backed him up, saying, "I know his intention is never hurtful — like, he’s just not that kind of person.” Chappelle's actions have direct consequences on the trans community and those directing attacking trans people don't really care if Chappelle intended to, or didn't intend to hurt the community. He's provided ample fuel for them to use while directing hate to the community.
You live long enough to see a comedy legend now exalted by the most hateful and racist segments of society that seek to uphold white supremacy, the same oppressive institution Dave Chappelle has spent his career trying to dismantle. Time is a flat circle. Sad to witness.— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) October 26, 2021
Jaclyn Moore, a showrunner with Netflix, stated that the consequences of Chappelle's words were very real. "I've been thrown against walls because 'I'm not a "real" woman.' I've had beer bottles thrown at me. So, Netflix, I'm done," she wrote, vowing to not work with the streaming giant. Netflix backed Dave Chappelle on the controversy with the streaming giant's head Ted Sarandos even claiming that words didn't lead to real-world harm. Ironically one of Netflix's own shows, Disclosure, documents the violence stemming from the portrayal of the trans and LGBTQ communities on film and TV.
If you're trans and are being subjected to abuse, or need any help, please reach out to TRANS LIFELINE at 877-330-6366.