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Dave Chappelle, on first night of Netflix festival, addresses furor over ‘The Closer’

Dave Chappelle attends a UFC event on July 10, 2021, in Las Vegas.

Dave Chappelle attends a UFC event in Las Vegas on July 10.Stacy Revere / Getty Images fileLink copiedSAVECreate your free profile or log in to save this articleApril 29, 2022, 9:39 AM CDTBy Daniel Arkin

LOS ANGELES — Dave Chappelle on Thursday addressed the furor over comments he made about the transgender community in his latest Netflix stand-up special, saying at a sold-out performance at the Hollywood Bowl that he made the special with good intentions.

He went on to make a series of remarks about transgender people, including college swimming star Lia Thomas, concentrating on what he described as her unfair advantage in athletics without mentioning her by name.

The audience of tens of thousands appeared to react enthusiastically to his set, laughing and cheering, though some could perceive the jokes as offensive.

Chappelle also weighed in on the war in Ukraine, Donald Trump’s future presidential ambitions and Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards.

Chappelle’s performance helped kick off Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival, an 11-day, 250-show comedy extravaganza across more than 30 venues in Los Angeles. The festival marks the streaming giant’s most ambitious foray into live entertainment since the company was founded 25 years ago.

The event was hosted by comedian Jeff Ross and featured appearances by Pete Davidson and singer-songwriter Erykah Badu.

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