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Controversy be damned, Dave Chappelle will open Netflix's comedy festival next year

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Dave Chappelle is among the 130 comedians tapped for the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival, which will take place in venues across L.A. next spring.
Netflix is still banking on comedian Dave Chappelle to bring the fans and has tapped the polarizing star to open its star-studded inaugural comedy festival. Chappelle, whose controversial special “The Closer” ignited a firestorm for the streaming giant, will kick off the 11-day comedy fest next spring after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the event’s 2020 debut. Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival, based on the streamer’s multiplatform comedy brand, will be spread across 25 major venues in the L.A. area between April 28 and May 8 and will feature more than 130 artists, Netflix announced Monday. Chappelle’s opening gig is billed as “Dave Chappelle and Friends” and will take place at the Hollywood Bowl on April 28. As of Monday, it’s considered Chappelle’s first L.A. comedy show since he was widely criticized ( but also supported) for transphobic and insensitive remarks he made in “The Closer,” which debuted in October. The ensuing fallout prompted an employee walkout at Netflix and led to at least one worker being fired and another leaving the company after withdrawing a labor complaint. It even sparked fierce debate about whether Chappelle’s Washington, D.

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