As the controversy surrounding comedian Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special The Closer continues, his peers are reaching out in support.
Laugh Factory founder Jamie Masada issued a call for comedians to rally behind Chappelle in an open letter, which was picked up by the Los Angeles Times. .
Masada called on comedians, their managers, and comedy club owners to build support for Chappelle “from his own kin” and those who “truly understand him.”
“What we are witnessing is an attack on the independence of comedy and the freedoms that make comedy the most organic, noncommercial form of entertainment,” Masada wrote in an open letter.
“If we don’t stand up for one another it won’t just be one of us that loses this freedom — it will be all of us — and once this freedom is gone, the doors of comedic expression will be sealed shut,” he said. “There’s no going back. Dave deserves the same freedoms that we all enjoy — the ones that make comedy what it is and provoke perspective shifts time and time again.”
Masada has known Chappelle since he was “a budding 17-year-old comedian.” He said Chappelle has “shown nothing but kindness, compassion and empathy for his fellow human, regardless of gender, race, status or creed.”
He concluded that the Laugh Factory would “stand by our comedians through thick and thin, through rain and shine, through scrutiny and praise. Dave has brought joy to millions of fans across the world and inspired an entire generation of comedians. I know Dave’s character, and I know his heart. He is a gentle soul, and one that only wishes to make the world look at the mundane differently, the normal abnormally and the black and white in color. There is not a hateful thread in Dave’s DNA.”