The List: A partial timeline of things Dave Chappelle has done since he was ‘canceled’

The idea that the comedian, who appears at the Schott on Friday, has been ‘canceled’ has been circulating since at least 2019

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Dave Chappelle in his Netflix special, "The Closer."

In August 2019, Fox Business published an article headlined “Dave Chappelle's Netflix special sparks 'cancel culture' controversy.” Written on the heels of Chappelle’s “Sticks & Stones,” the article posits that the comedian, whose special included a section where he cracked that cancel culture had sparked something he termed “celebrity hunting season,” was now a victim of the trend.

The dialogue around Chappelle and cancel culture only grew louder with the release of his most recent Netflix comedy special, “The Closer,” which premiered on Oct. 5 and sparked an ongoing controversy largely centered on his remarks directed toward the trans community (in the special, Chappelle positions himself on "Team TERF" alongside J.K. Rowling and declares that "gender is a fact"). 

Rather than focus on these remarks, which others have already written about far more eloquently than we could hope, we thought we’d assemble an incomplete timeline of the things that Chappelle has done since “cancel culture” first came calling for him in August 2019.

Jan. 26, 2020: “Sticks & Stones” wins the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album

Yet another nail in the comedian’s cancel culture coffin.

June 12, 2020: Releases Netflix special “8:46”

Arguable the creative high point of Chappelle’s last few years, and among some of the best, most personal commentary to emerge amid the social justice protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

July 4, 2020: Officially launches “Chappelle Summer Camp” in Yellow Springs, Ohio

While the pandemic brought the world to a halt for many, Chappelle simply brought the world to his Ohio hometown. The live comedy series ran through late September and attracted a slew of big names to small town Ohio, including Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, David Letterman, Sarah Silverman, John Legend, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Trevor Noah and many, many more. The series was also filmed for a planned documentary dubbed “Untitled.” 

Nov. 7, 2020: Hosts “Saturday Night Live” for the second time

Chappelle has now hosted “SNL” following presidential elections in 2016 and 2020, and he’s lined up to host following the likely coup of 2024.

October 2020: Appears on David Letterman’s Netflix series, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction”

The two filmed the appearance during Letterman’s summer visit to Yellow Springs.

May 7, 2021: Appears on the podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience”

Rogan later returned the favor, co-headlining an October arena show with Chappelle in Nashville, Tennessee.

June 2021: “Untitled” Dave Chappelle documentary premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival

The documentary, from Ohio-based directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar (the team behind “American Factory”), is already drawing rave reviews.

June 20, 2021: Joins Foo Fighters onstage at Madison Square Garden in New York City and performs a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep”

And it’s about as good as you might expect.

September 2021: Chappelle’s planned comedy club and restaurant in Yellow Springs moves forward after receiving unanimous approval from the village planning commission

Speaking at the Planning Commission meeting, Chappelle channeled his inner “Field of Dreams.” “If we build this thing,” he said, “the greats will come.” Based on the track record the comedian established with “Chappelle Summer Camp” in 2020, there’s little reason to doubt his word.

Sept. 19, 2021: Wins the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his November appearance on “Saturday Night Live”

He’s now just an Oscar and a Tony from the EGOT.

Oct. 5, 2021: Releases Netflix special “The Closer”

This time he’s really canceled.

Oct. 7, 2021: Performs at a packed Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles for an audience that includes Stevie Wonder, Brad Pitt and Tiffany Haddish

“If this is what being canceled is like, I love it,” he said from the stage.

Oct. 30, 2021: Inducts Jay-Z into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio

“I would like to apologize…” Chappelle started, before stopping and breaking into laughter. The remainder of his speech was genuinely heartfelt, praising the rapper for holding true to the community throughout the entirety of his remarkable career.

November 2021: Embarks on a 10-city headlining arena tour that includes a stop at the Schottenstein Center on Friday, Nov. 19

In addition to a screening of “Untitled,” the evening also features appearances from Chappelle and select “friends.” In Los Angeles, this consisted of A-listers such as Jon Hamm and Snoop Dogg, while his Iowa stop featured the likes of Jeff Ross and Earthquake. Here’s hoping Chappelle can get some rest following these shows. Cancellation seems exhausting.