‘BoJack Horseman’ creator calls out Netflix’s Chappelle defense, supports trans charity
“BoJack Horseman” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has challenged Netflix’s unwavering support of Dave Chappelle by claiming that the streaming giant’s professed commitment to “creative freedom” doesn’t align with his experience making content for the platform.
On Tuesday, the mastermind behind the dark animated comedy tweeted his disbelief at Netflix’s seemingly hands-off approach to collaborating with Chappelle, who drew heavy criticism earlier this year for making transphobic remarks in his latest comedy special, “The Closer.”
Though Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has doubled down on his support for Chappelle by citing Netflix’s respect for “artistic expression,” Bob-Waksberg recalled at least one instance in which the company pushed back against his creative vision.
Dave Chappelle is among 130 comedians — including Gabriel Iglesias’ historic performance at Dodger Stadium — tapped for the Netflix Is a Joke comedy fest.
“Still mystified that apparently Dave Chapelle’s deal is that he says whatever he wants and Netflix just has to air it, unedited,” Bob-Waksberg wrote. “Is that normal, for comedians? Because Netflix once asked me to change a joke because they were worried it might upset [Oscar-nominated director] David Fincher.”
After stirring the Twitter pot with the Fincher cliffhanger, Bob-Waksberg vowed to reveal the “controversial” scene Netflix allegedly vetoed if 100 people donated to Trans Lifeline, an organization that provides resources, emotional and financial aid to transgender people.
“THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO’S DONATED SO FAR!” Bob-Waksberg tweeted. “We are halfway there! Here’s some info on the scene to get you excited: it was originally written for episode 107, ‘Say Anything.’ It was early in the show’s run and we were still getting out some kinks as far as tone and process.”
After trans Netflix employees protested, these stories explain the backlash sparked by Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, “The Closer.”
After explaining that the sequence would have centered on pink Persian cat Princess Carolyn — tasked with organizing her friend’s baby shower in the middle of a work crisis — Bob-Waksberg wryly teased, “Can Princess Carolyn go to the baby shower and ALSO find a cool director for her new project? And might that cool director be someone who happened to be concurrently producing a different show with Netflix?! Only fifty more donations to find out!”
Upon raising more than $2,000 for the nonprofit, Bob-Waksberg thanked everyone for their donations and shared screenshots of the original screenplay as promised. In the scrapped script, Princess Carolyn calls Fincher a “skinny b—” and makes a quip about his Oscar-nominated thriller “Se7en” after the filmmaker shows up at her friend’s baby shower.
While admitting that the Fincher joke ultimately made for “a dumb scene” and that “the show didn’t suffer without it,” Bob-Waksberg argued that “good pushback ... makes art better, and if you as a network don’t know how to give it, you might as well be throwing your money down the toilet.”
“My point was it’s silly for a network to pretend their hands are tied when it comes to the content they put on their network,” Bob-Waksberg continued, referring to Netflix’s relationship with Chappelle.
“For a comedian who famously walked away from his hit TV show because he was worried he was Making Things Worse, it’s remarkable how many of his fans (and collaborators!) believe comedians have no responsibility to not Make Things Worse,” he added.
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