Chappelle has drawn criticism throughout 2021 for allegedly transphobic comments he made in his Netflix comedy special “The Closer.” Chappelle refused to apologize for his remarks, which were deemed by many fans to be offensive and insensitive.
Although Oswalt said that he supports transgender rights, he surprised many when he teamed up for a stand-up special on New Year’s Day.
On Instagram, Oswalt explained that he had just finished up his set when he got a text from Chappelle, inviting him to do a guest set at the arena he was performing at, since it was right next door to where Oswalt had been performing.
“Why not?” Oswalt wrote. “I waved good-bye to this h— year with a genius I started comedy with 34 years ago. He works an arena like he’s talking to one person and charming their skin off. Anyway, I ended the year with a real friend and a deep laugh. Can’t ask for much more.”
Oswalt Receives Major Backlash For Performing With Dave Chappelle
After the set, Oswalt posted a photo of the pair looking like the best of friends as they smiled for the camera. The photo set fans into a frenzy, forcing Oswalt to write a long defense on Sunday, which he also posted to Instagram.
“I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time this New Year’s Eve,” he began. “We’ve known each other since we’re teens. He’s a fellow comedian, the funniest I’ve ever met. I wanted to post a pic & an IG story about it — so I did. The friend is Dave Chappelle.”
“Thirty four YEARS we’ve been friends,” he continued. “He’s refocused and refined ideas a lot of us took as settled about race & history & Life On Planet Earth and spun them around with a phrase or punchline. We’ve done bad & good gigs, open mikes & TV tapings.”
“But we also 100% disagree about transgender rights & representation,” Oswalt noted. “I support trans peoples’ rights — ANYONE’S rights — to live safely in the world as their fullest selves. For all the things he’s helped ME evolve on, I’ll always disagree with where he stands NOW on transgender issues.”
“But I also don’t believe a seeker like him is done evolving, learning,” he continued. “You know someone that long, see the struggles and changes, it’s impossible to cut them off. Impossible not to be hopeful and open and cheer them on.”
Oswalt Labels Himself As An ‘LGBTQ’ Ally
“Also, I’ve been carrying a LOT of guilt about friends I’ve cut off, who had views with which I couldn’t agree, or changed in ways I couldn’t live with,” he added. “Sometimes I wonder — did I and others cutting them off make them dig their heels in deeper, fuel their ignorance with a nitro-boost of resentment and spite?”
“I’m an LGBTQ ally,” Oswalt wrote. “I’m a loyal friend. There’s friction in those traits that I need to reconcile myself, and not let cause feels of betrayal in ANYONE else.”
Please click and read, and THANK YOU. https://t.co/aUuOUUdGsM
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 2, 2022
“And I’m sorry, truly sorry, that I didn’t consider the hurt this would cause,” he added. “Or the DEPTH of that hurt. I’ve been messaging a lot on IG today, and the back and forth has really helped guide me in the writing of this.”
“I (naively) deleted a lot of posts in the comment thread — critical ones from LGBTQ writers AND s—posts by TERF/anti-trans orcs looking for clicks & giggles.”
“I wanted a ‘nice comment thread’ about the pic with my friend,” he concluded. “Ugh. So easy to think someone ELSE needs growth and miss the need in yourself. Gonna keep trying.”