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SNL Caught In High Heat As Writers Boycott Dave Chappelle Hosting

Dave Chappelle is returning to "Saturday Night Live," a decision that is proving to be contentious behind-the-scenes. Chappelle's return is fitting, as the upcoming episode on November 12 will be the first to take place after the 2022 United States midterm election. Chappelle previously hosted the first "SNL" episodes held after the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Labeled by Rolling Stone as one of the top 10 funniest comedians of all time, Chappelle continues to draw viewers in with his observational and controversial humor. Despite being one of the most well-recognized comics of his generation, Chappelle's stock has been bearish as of late.

October 2021 saw the release of Chappelle's special "The Closer" on Netflix. With a 40% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, the special was deemed transphobic and homophobic by many, including by GLAAD. Many viewers and Netflix employees suggested that the steamer remove the special. Ultimately, the decision was made for "The Closer" to remain on the platform, sparking further outcry.

Since the release of his sixth Netflix special, the comedian has been called out publicly by fellow comedians and creatives (via The Wrap), assaulted due to the content of his jokes (via New York Post), and had a show canceled (via BBC). After the significant backlash and scrutiny he has faced in the last year, it is surprising that "Saturday Night Live" is choosing to move forward with Chappelle as a host. The decision has been nothing short of controversial, with reports emerging that staff writers are choosing to not work with the comedian.

Dave Chappelle's reps are disputing the idea of a boycott

Page Six reports that certain "Saturday Night Live" staff writers are boycotting Dave Chappelle's upcoming episode. An insider revealed to the outlet that cast members would not be boycotting the episode, though it remains to be seen if that will change when the Season 48 episode debuts later this week. While Page Six maintains that a handful of staff writers will not work with Chappelle, the comedian's representatives say that there was no indication of a boycott brewing earlier this week. Chapelle is said to have attended a meeting with writers and producers on Tuesday. "The room was full of writers," a rep for the comedian told the outlet. "They all pitched ideas and they seemed very excited about it.... Dave is looking to have some fun..."

Chappelle's upcoming appearance wouldn't mark the first time a "Saturday Night Live" creative decided to boycott an episode. Comedian Nora Dunn famously boycotted the penultimate episode of Season 15 when it was announced that controversial comedian Andrew Dice Clay would be hosting. "My objection to Andrew Dice Clay was that his character was only about one thing: abusing women and laughing about abusing women," Dunn said to Salon. "There was nothing else about it except to make him look harmless." Musical guest Sinéad O'Connor would go on to join Dunn.

At this time, it's unclear which creatives are boycotting the upcoming episode featuring Chappelle. NBC hasn't shied away from promoting Chappelle's third outing as host, recently releasing a promotional clip of the comedian interacting with "SNL" veteran Kenan Thompson.