The current season of Saturday Night Live is already considered a landmark run – not only because of the show’s longevity, but also because high-profile producer Lorne Michaels saw a “mass exodus” of some fan-favorite cast members over the hiatus, and a whopping number of eight players left the expansive cast ahead of the Season 48 premiere. Now, the sketch comedy show might have to deal with a more serious crisis: Comedian Dave Chappelle has been announced as a host for the upcoming November 12 episode.
In case you don’t really know Chappelle, the comedian’s indisputable talent has been rewarded with five Emmy statues and dozens of other nominations and wins. However, Chappelle has made headlines several times due to his controversial approach to the LGBTQIA+ community in his stand-up comedy shows, with a focus on the transgender community. In his historic Netflix special The Closer – the sixth of a series he’s done for Netflix – Chappelle compares being transgender to doing blackface, and sympathizes with figures like Harry Potter author J.K. Rowlingcalling himself a member of “team TERF.”
The special was met with severe backlash – especially from Netflix’s transgender employees – which prompted the company’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos to support Chappelle and then (kind of) change his statement. In a different comedy show, Chappelle complained about the fact that he was getting canceled, but didn’t apologize for any of the jokes he told on stage:
It’s been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true — if they had invited me I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about. I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.”
Chappelle has hosted Saturday Night Live two other times, in 2016 and 2020. Considering the fact that the comedian has always stood his ground when it comes to his trans people jokes, it’s not likely that he’ll do a mea culpa at the Studio 8H stage this Saturday, but he ‘ll probably address the controversy. The musical guest for the Dave Chappelle episode will be rap duo Black Star – they promote No Fear of Timethe first studio album released by them in over 20 years.
Saturday Night Live Has Invited Controversial Hosts Before
This isn’t the first time that SNL has welcomed a controversial host. In 2015, NBC invited none other than Donald Trump to host, which aimed to be a candidate of his attempt at becoming a, but ended up helping soften the politician’s image and show he could take a joke, which then played out as a pep rally” of sorts.
This week’s episode of Saturday Night Live airs on November 12. You can watch Dave Chappelle address the backlash over his comedy special below: