Despite Dave Chappelle ending his previous comedy special deal with Netflix on a controversial note, the streaming service has announced a new four-special series featuring comedians handpicked by Chappelle.
The series, dubbed Chappelle’s Home Team, will premiere Feb. 28th with an episode spotlighting the stand-up comic known as Earthquake. In addition to serving as executive producer, Chappelle will play host on “Earthquake: Legendary” before handing off the mic to the renowned comedian.
Chappelle’s Home Team is a series of comedy specials produced by @DaveChappelle. The first one, Earthquake: Legendary, premieres February 28th! @DaveChappelle @RealEarthquake pic.twitter.com/R7DDnZZBqp
— Netflix Is A Joke (@NetflixIsAJoke) February 18, 2022
Following Earthquake’s episode, Donnell Rawlings is the next member of “Chappelle’s Home Team” to get their own special, with a release date later this year.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and comedians like Quake and Donnell are not only friends but have inspired my own career,” Chappelle said in a statement. “Anyone in the comedy community knows these names and knows their time to shine is long overdue. I am proud to be a part of this moment.”
Chappelle and Netflix previously drew criticism for the comedian’s jokes aimed at LGBTQ+ community in his 2021 special The Closer, with employees of the streaming service staging a walkout over both the special and Netflix’s tepid response to the controversy.
Three employees were also briefly suspended after trying to attend an executive board meeting, including one trans employee, who’d criticized the special on Twitter.
In October, Netflix stood by its decision to release The Closer while acknowledging the walkout and “the deep hurt that’s been caused.” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, in a memo sent to staff, doubled-down on defending the special, and claimed “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.” After the memo leaked and drew more criticism, he apologized, saying an interview, “Of course storytelling has real impact in the real world,” he acknowledged. “I reiterate that because it’s why I work here, it’s why we do what we do. That impact can be hugely positive, and it can be quite negative. So, I would have been better in that communication.”
While The Closer was touted as the final special in Chappelle’s massive exclusive deal with the streamer, Netflix has remained tethered to the comedian despite him being “cancelled,” first recruiting him to headline their upcoming Netflix Is a Joke festival and now with his Home Team.