Dave Chappelle Gets Chilly Reception From Students at His Former High School

Still from Dave Chappelle's Netflix special 'The Closer.' Credit: Netflix

Dave Chappelle visited his former high school this week and the struggle for respect was real.

The comedian took the stage for a Q&A with students on Tuesday at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.

The assembly came amid controversy over Chappelle’s comments in Netflix special The Closer, but according to Politico the hour-long session quickly “went south.”

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The website reports one student called Chappelle a “bigot” before criticizing the comic’s response to anger over The Closer. “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child,” the student said.

Another student told Chappelle, “Your comedy kills,” repeating a refrain from last month’s Netflix walkout in Los Angeles where transgender activists said Chappelle’s words are dangerous.

The “kills” comment prompted Chappelle to fire back at the student, “N—-rs are killed every day.” He then quipped, “The media’s not here, right?”

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About 580 students attended the Q&A in the school’s auditorium. Chappelle is said to be the school’s most famous alumni. After facing a string of insults, the comedian reminded the students he’s a Hollywood A-lister and they’re not.

“I’m better than every instrumentalist, artist, no matter what art you do in this school, right now, I’m better than all of you. I’m sure that will change. I’m sure you’ll be household names soon,” he reportedly said.

One student told Politico they were completely put off by Chappelle’s comments, and by the fact that he brought a camera crew along while the students were barred from taking their phones into the auditorium.

“It was a huge power imbalance of this grown man and his camera crew — and these 14- to 18 year-olds without their phones, just high school kids,” the student said.

A school spokesperson said Chappelle’s critics took up so much time at the Q&A that his supporters didn’t have time to speak.

“Chappelle specifically invited the voices of discontent to ask questions, however as a result, the supporters of Chappelle became the silent majority,” said school spokesperson Savannah Overton. “Our principal was approached by several students after the assembly who were disappointed that they were not able to voice their support for Chappelle.”

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts is in the process of renaming its theater after Chappelle.

As previously reported, some students and alumni are trying to stop the renaming. In response, the school postponed a Nov. 23 fundraiser featuring Chappelle amid concerns about protests.

In a statement on Nov. 12, the school said the fundraiser will be moved to April 22, giving administrators times to address “questions and concerns.”