KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — American comedian John Mulaney is facing online backlash for inviting Dave Chapelle as the surprise opening act of his tour.
Chapelle appeared as a guest during Mulaney’s show in Value City Arena in Ohio last Friday and reportedly made transphobic jokes.
As phones were strictly not allowed during the show, there were no video or audio recordings of Chapelle’s opening set.
Many attendees took to social media to convey their distaste for the show and Mulaney’s friendliness towards Chapelle despite his comments, even hugging him at the end of the opening set.
Mulaney has not faced much criticism in the past as his standup tends to avoid political or social issues, focusing on sharing personal experiences and anecdotes from his life.
Chapelle on the other hand has been embroiled in a lot of controversies of late, the most recent being and incident where he was tackled on stage in one of his own shows.
Last October, hundreds of Netflix employees walked out over protests against Chapelle's latest Netflix comedy special The Closer where the comedian made many jokes deemed to be transphobic.
Twitter users who attended the show shared their criticism online, which made Mulaney trend as a topic.
John Mulaney's dad was right, he does have the moral backbone of a chocolate eclair.— mews, where the hell have you been loca? (@badmews) May 22, 2022
do you think john mulaney really understands the ramifications and consequences of cutting himself off from the support of young queer people on tumblr who paste his jokes over anime characters— the joker for dinosaurs (KO-FI SKETCHES CLOSED) (@skarchomp) May 22, 2022
While I’m disappointed in John Mulaney, I’m not surprised. It speaks to how normalized transphobia is in comedy & how cis dudes don’t have to care about it, so they won’t. My sympathy lies with trans folks in the audience who wanted a fun night & got a reminder of hate instead.— Jessie Earl (@jessiegender) May 22, 2022
Mulaney and Chapelle’s management have yet to address jokes made during the show.