Fans who attended Mulaney’s “From Scratch” tour stop at Value City Arena in Columbus on Friday (20 May) expressed concern on social media about Chappelle’s surprise appearance and the jokes he delivered.
The event, which had a no-phones policy, didn’t allow anyone to take videos of the controversial comedian’s set.
A number of social media users, however, claimed Chappelle’s opening targeted the trans community.
An attendee named Maddie wrote on Twitter: “Okay so tell me why I just went to the John Mulaney show and Dave Chappelle was a surprise opener and made not only a transphobic joke but a homophobic one.”
Another person added: “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 12-year-old.”
Some people criticised Mulaney for inviting Chappelle to open his show in the first place.
“Dave Chappelle doing ‘surprise’ openers for others and using all of his most transphobic material when the audience did not sign up to deal with that is f***ing gross,” one person wrote. “Trans people are under attack and John Mulaney has announced he doesn’t f***ing care and in fact, thinks it’s funny.”
Writer Zinnia Jones tweeted: “John Mulaney is dangerous to us for the same reason as Dave Chappelle, he’s offered the public a choice between the funny guy they know who makes them laugh, or disposing of trans people as valid beings with an interest in our own humanity.”
Another person added: “Dave Chappelle is so pathetic and John Mulaney is so weird for not only inviting him but then essentially co-signing his transphobia and bullsh*t by thanking him for his time being there. What a joke.”
The Independent has contacted Chappelle and Mulaney’s representatives for comment.
Last year, after the release of his standup special The Closer, Chappelle drew heavy criticism for agreeing that “gender is a fact”, as he discussed how JK Rowling had been branded a “Terf” (Trans-exclusionary radical feminist).
“They cancelled JK Rowling. My god,” Chappelle said during his set. “Effectually she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as s***, they started calling her a Terf… I’m Team Terf. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
The Half Baked actor claimed he does not have any issue with the trans community, nor does he think “trans women aren’t women”.
“I am just saying that those p****** that they got, you know what I mean?” he said. “I’m not saying it’s not p****, but it’s Beyond P**** or Impossible P*****. It tastes like pussy, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood. That’s beet juice.”