Dave Chappelle Won’t Have His Name On Theater At High School Alma Mater Amid Controversy; Compares ‘The Closer’ To The Mona Lisa

The theater building at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. was to be officially named in a ceremony tonight after one of the school’s most famous graduates: Dave Chappelle.

The naming was in consideration of Chappelle’s support of the school, especially after he and his friends were the group that raised the most money for the the building.

Chappelle has been the center of controversy after comments in his Netflix special last year were perceived as transphobic. In a visit to Duke Ellington School of the Arts in November, he was even confronted by students there over it.

Well, according to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin and other reports, at the ceremony tonight the comedian announced he would not place his name on theater after all. Instead he decided it shall be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.

He then went on to speak about how his work has been characterized and analyzed.

“I saw in the newspaper that a man who was dressed in women’s clothing threw a pie at the Mona Lisa and tried to deface it. And it made me laugh and I thought, ‘It’s like The Closer.’ “

Chappelle said The Closer was unfairly portrayed in the press.

“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” he contended.

The comedian compared to to reporting the news that a large rabbit shot a man in the face, but not telling them the work being described was a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

“When you say I can’t say something, the more urgent is it for me to say it. It has nothing to do with what you are saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my freedom of artistic expression.”


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