Fans At John Mulaney’s Show Said They Felt “Ambushed” When Dave Chappelle Opened It With Anti-Trans Jokes

Fans At John Mulaney’s Show Said They Felt “Ambushed” When Dave Chappelle Opened It With Anti-Trans Jokes
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Fans At John Mulaney’s Show Said They Felt “Ambushed” When Dave Chappelle Opened It With Anti-Trans Jokes

“I have a lot of trans friends, and I’m gay myself so I was really disappointed that Dave was allowed to perform given that he has a history of transphobic jokes,” one attendee told BuzzFeed News.

By 6CdYEen0I_large.jpg?crop=398%3A398%3B0%2C0&downsize=60:*&output-format=jpg&output-quality=autoby Steffi Cao

BuzzFeed News Reporter

Posted 31 minutes ago


Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Robin Hood

John Mulaney performs onstage during the Robin Hood Benefit 2022 at Jacob Javits Center on May 09, 2022 in New York City.

Some attendees who were looking forward to watch John Mulaney’s stand-up show in Ohio on Friday night were taken aback when Dave Chappelle opened the show with an anti-trans and anti-gay joke during a 15-minute surprise performance.

Many fans took to social media to express their anger at being “ambushed” by Chappelle, who has a history of mocking the LGBTQ community. Attendees told BuzzFeed News they were also disappointed with Mulaney for giving Chappelle another platform to malign an ”already-marginalized” community.

“I’m just a little disappointed in [Mulaney],” Morgan, 21, who attended Friday night’s show, told BuzzFeed News. She did not want to provide her last name to protect her privacy.

“It hurts to know that Chappelle’s transphobia wasn’t enough of a deterrent to keep him off the show," Morgan said. "I probably wouldn’t have gone or I would’ve at least skipped the openers if I knew Chappelle would be there.”


Stacy Revere / Getty Images

Phones and recording devices were prohibited from the evening’s event, so several attendees took to Twitter to express their displeasure after the show ended.

One attendee tweeted that Chappelle "ambushed" them at Mulaney's show with his transphobic jokes to which the audience laughed. The attendee claimed that Mulaney also hugged Chappelle at the end.

GavFRNbP_normal.jpg rylan ☻ @testosteronejew

my favorite part of tonight was when dave chappelle ambushed us at the john mulaney show, told a bunch of transphobic jokes, a massive stadium of people laughed, and then john mulaney hugged him at the end

02:04 AM - 21 May 2022

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Twitter: @testosteronejew

Chappelle, who was recently attacked on stage during his comedy show in Los Angeles, made a joke about the gender identification of his attacker’s weapon, according to Morgan. (The suspect was armed with a replica gun that could eject a knife blade, police said.)

“He made a joke about when he was attacked, how the guy had a knife that looks like a gun. Or the other way around. He then said that maybe it was a knife that identified as a gun. It reminded me of the ‘I [sexually] identify as an attack helicopter’ joke that transphobes make,” Morgan told BuzzFeed News.

s0a0gwth_normal.jpg Libby @libbeefy

Pretty disappointed in John Mulaney, saw him tonight and yeah, he was funny, but he gave Dave Chapelle the platform to make some transphobic jokes. Also very disheartening to hear a crowd of 12,000 around you (a trans person) laughing at transphobic jokes. Thanks Columbus.

03:20 AM - 21 May 2022

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Twitter: @libbeefy

Madison McAlear, 21, who also attended last night’s show, said that Chappelle’s set felt like conservative Facebook humor.

“He had a bit where he pulled out twin boys from the crowd and said they were jerking each other off and were gay with one another, which was weird,” McAlear told BuzzFeed News. “He only had about 15 minutes of stage time before John Mulaney came up and I could feel every millisecond of it pass by. It dragged on for so long, it was exhausting.”

vAF5hc7F_normal.jpg mads @madtmac

god dave chappelle at the columbus john mulaney show was so cringey - made me get second hand embarrassment at his re-used, bland, transphobic comedy that can literally be found in any online comment section from an edgy twelve year old.

04:28 AM - 21 May 2022

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Twitter: @madtmac

Many said they were upset and disappointed with Mulaney's decision to allow Chappelle to perform despite his history of making anti-trans and anti-gay jokes.

“y’all ever hear ~12,000 people laugh at a transphobic joke, while you’re a trans person in the audience who didn’t know the transphobic comedian would make a surprise appearance at the John Mulaney show? yeah. wasn’t fun. fuck you D.C.,” one attendee wrote.

“[Chappelle] was punching down on an already marginalized and institutionally abused community,” McAlear told BuzzFeed News. “It was embarrassing seeing a revered man in his craft become so tacky and boomer-esque.”

She added that the reaction to Chappelle’s set was mostly positive, though she was pleasantly surprised to hear audible shouts of disagreement after.

“It, unfortunately, makes sense — it was a low-hanging fruit of a joke in a red state like Ohio,” McAlear said. “In the end, he told the upset audience members to relax. The obvious grasp at trying to receive backlash and act shocked that he did receive… it was embarrassing.”

Mulaney is currently on a national tour for the first time since making headlines for his very public divorce from ex-wife Anna Marie Tendler, who was the subject of many of his comedy routines. He began dating actor Olivia Munn soon after their split and a stint in rehab, and last year, the couple welcomed their first child together.

Though Mulaney himself did not make anti-trans jokes last night, people pointed out that he has many fans from the LGBTQ community, including those who were in the audience at Friday's show.

QdkB5E1__normal.jpg Preston Max