Patton Oswalt Defends Performance with Dave Chappelle, Says They "Disagree About Transgender Rights"

"For all the things he's helped ME evolve on, I'll always disagree with where he stands NOW on transgender issues. But I also don't believe a seeker like him is done evolving, learning."

Photo: @pattonoswalt (Instagram)

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jan 3, 2022

Patton Oswalt recently shared how he ended 2021 with a surprise performance alongside Dave Chappelle, and has spent 2022 so far defending his longtime friendship with the controversial comedian, telling social media followers that they "100% disagree about transgender rights & representation."

On the first day of the New Year (January 1), Oswalt shared on Instagram how he and Chappelle were both ringing in 2022 with New Year's Eve performances in Seattle — the former at McCaw Hall, and the latter at Climate Pledge Arena — and ended up getting together in Washington State.

"Finished me set at @mccawhall and got a text from @davechappelle. Come over to the arena he's performing in next door and do a guest set. Why not?" Oswalt wrote in a caption. "I waved good-bye to this hell-year with a genius I started comedy with 34 years ago. He works an arena like he's talking to one person and charming their skin off. Anyway, I ended the year with a real friend and a deep laugh. Can't ask for much more."

In Oswalt's comments section, some followers were critical of his friendship with Chappelle, while others sought to defend the comedian who proudly called himself a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) last year.

In a follow-up post made January 2, Oswalt wrote, "I (naively) deleted a lot of posts in the comment thread — critical ones from LGBTQ writers AND shit-posts by TERF/anti-trans orcs looking for clicks & giggles. I wanted a 'nice comment thread' about the pic with my friend."

Of his friend of over three decades, Oswalt continued, "He's refocused and refined ideas a lot of us took as settled about race & history & Life On Planet Earth and spun them around with a phrase or punchline. We've done bad & good gigs, open mikes & TV tapings. But we also 100% disagree about transgender rights & representation."

"I support trans peoples' rights — ANYONE'S rights — to live safely in the world as their fullest selves," Oswalt wrote, adding of Chappelle, "For all the things he's helped ME evolve on, I'll always disagree with where he stands NOW on transgender issues. But I also don't believe a seeker like him is done evolving, learning. You know someone that long, see the struggles and changes, it's impossible to cut them off. Impossible not to be hopeful and open and cheer them on."

Oswalt added that he has "been carrying a LOT of guilt about friends I've cut off, who had views with which I couldn't agree, or changed in ways I couldn't live with," explaining, "Sometimes I wonder — did I and others cutting them off make them dig their heels in deeper, fuel their ignorance with a nitro-boost of resentment and spite?"

"I'm an LGBTQ ally. I'm a loyal friend. There's friction in those traits that I need to reconcile myself, and not let cause feels of betrayal in ANYONE else," he wrote. "And I'm sorry, truly sorry, that I didn't consider the hurt this would cause. Or the DEPTH of that hurt. I've been messaging a lot on IG today, and the back and forth has really helped guide me in the writing of this."

In November, Chappelle was taken to school by students at his alma mater over his transphobic remarks in his October standup special, The Closer. That same month saw him appear in Canada to take part in Drake and Kanye West squashing their beef.

Last year, Oswalt shared standup special I Love Everything via Netflix, while he also appeared in rock doc The Sparks Brothers.

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