This was according to the comedy "experts" at the state broadcaster. These experts consisted of the incomparably amusing Courtney Skye at the world-famous Yellowhead Institute and the "artist and scholar" Syrus Marcus Ware.
CBC viewers can feel safe in the knowledge that these two experts know more about comedy than, say, Dave Chapelle, or the millions of people who watch his specials.
On CBC's Sunday Conversation, the CBC posed that Chappelle may be "punching down," and Skye responded that "Chappelle wasn't trying to punch down," but went on to say that that's in fact what "he did."
Skye complained that his jokes weren't nuanced or sophisticated, and that he didn't do justice to the conversation about intersectionality. "I think that it wasn't handled very well," but that it failed because "it wasn't very funny."
Skye's expert, comedic credentials amount to "I used to do stand-up in Toronto, briefly." Skye said "I don't think I laughed during the entire special."
Ware, a black trans person who is an artist and scholar, said that Chappelle did the community a disservice by saying that "black and trans don't go together and that black trans and queer people don't exist." Ware said that this "creates ripples of harm that do sort of spread out."
Ware noted that "a black non-binary person who was pregnant" lost their job over the Netflix employee walkout in reaction to the special, which was led by a person who doesn't actually work at Netflix. Netflix said that person was actually fired for leaking metrics and earnings on Chappelle's special to the media.
"This is an incredibly popular, highly-rated special," the CBC announcer noted, asking why people are watching it if it's not funny. And Skye said that people are likely only watching it because of the controversy. She said it was "misfortunate" that this is "the entry people are having into this conversation."
"People from this community should be able to speak to their own experiences," Skye said, and that young trans people are "far more beyond him or his understanding." For Skye, Chappelle is "taking up space" with his "clumsiness."
To Chappelle's supporters, Ware said that "what concerns me... is that it's really contributing to this erasure of black and trans people." Ware hopes that this audience will also tune in to comedians who are making more "productive" jokes that help move the conversation in the direction Ware thinks it should go.
As to artistic freedom, Ware said that artists have responsibilities for the work they "put out into the world. And if the work I'm creating is doing something negative in society or sort of contributing to harm, I might want to reorient or course correct a little bit and rethink about my purpose and my goal. I think as artists we are very, we take on particular roles in society and we have a voice."
For Ware and Skye, this responsibility to say the right thing is more important than anything else. "Artists are potential catalysts for revolutionary change," Ware said.
Ware suggested that Chappelle "make a joke about how ridiculous transphobia is, in a way that helps to transform the conditions to transphobia doesn't exist anymore in our society. Now that's a joke I want to laugh at, that's a joke I want to see."
Skye said that Chappelle's jokes are a basically a betrayal of the form of stand-up comedy itself. "We need to little bit of aware of who we're criticizing and what standard we're holding them to."
Before the CBC interviewed these comedy experts, they made sure to warn their viewers that "this conversation may be difficult for some." One may note that the CBC doesn't seem to offer these trigger warnings to international conflicts or global pandemics.
Neither Dave Chapelle nor Netflix responded to these rushing pronouncements from these comedy experts.
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