Dave Chappelle Wins GRAMMY for Best Comedy Album Following Transphobia Backlash

Dave Chappelle
Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images

Chappelle's 2021 special, 'The Closer,' was condemned for his jokes about the transgender community. 

Dave Chappelle won Best Comedy Album at the 2023 GRAMMY Premiere Ceremony on Sunday for his 2021 special, The Closer, which was heavily criticized for his jokes about transgender women. 

Chappelle was not in attendance, and singer Babyface accepted the trophy on his behalf. He beat fellow nominees Louis C.K., Jim Gaffigan, Randy Rainbow and Patton Oswalt for the recognition. It marks his fourth GRAMMY Award. 

The Closer was the fourth special in Chappelle's four-special deal with Netflix. He previously released Equanimity, The Bird Revelation and Redemption Song on the same deal. In 2022, Netflix announced another four-special deal featuring Chappelle as host for a comedy series, Chappelle's Home Series

In the The Closer, Chappelle told audiences he was "team TERF," referring to the acronym for "trans-exclusionary radical feminist," an ideology that believes transgender women are not women. Chappelle said he supported Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who has publicly defended similar stances, and also defended rapper DaBaby's homophobic rant that resulted in his exclusion from several music festivals. 

Chappelle received intense criticism for the comments, and was quickly condemned by activists in the LGBTQ community. His GRAMMY Award comes one year after Louis C.K. won in the same category for his special, Sincerely Louis CK, which was his first special since the 2017 reveal of sexual assault allegations against him. 

The 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards are taking place at Crypto.com Arena and are being broadcast and streamed live on CBS and Paramount+. Follow along at ETonline.com for full coverage from music's biggest night, including performancesGRAMMY winners and more.