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What the Dave Chappelle controversy tells us about the point of comedy

This week comedians Cassie Workman and Tom Ballard join The Culture, to help unpack the reignited conversation around free speech, what kind of impact harmful and offensive language can have in the real world, and the purpose of comedy.

Dave Chappelle is one of the most successful comedians in the world, and his latest Netflix special, ‘The Closer’, reportedly made him $20 million.

The special has sparked a huge amount of backlash, prompting a staff walkout at Netflix, and calls for the special to be taken down. 

This week comedians Cassie Workman and Tom Ballard join The Culture, to help unpack the reignited conversation around free speech, what kind of impact harmful and offensive language can have in the real world, and the purpose of comedy.

Guest: Comedian, actor and musician Cassie Workman and comedian and podcaster Tom Ballard

 
Show Transcript

From the front page

Image of Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a visit to Penshurst Girls School in Sydney today. Image © Mick Tsikas / AAP Images

Quiet please

The PM would like both Christensen and the media to zip it

Image of sculpture by Jane Bamford

The artist making sculpture for penguins

How creating sculpture for animals is transforming wildlife conservation and the art world

Image of Abdul Karim Hekmat. Photograph © Sam Biddle

Australia needs to hear asylum seekers’ stories, in our own words

Our presence has preoccupied the nation, but our stories have been excluded from the national narrative

Image of Australian Bicentenary protest, Sydney, NSW, 1988

The stunted country

There can be no republic without constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians

Online exclusives

Image of Abdul Karim Hekmat. Photograph © Sam Biddle

Australia needs to hear asylum seekers’ stories, in our own words

Our presence has preoccupied the nation, but our stories have been excluded from the national narrative

Image of Oscar Isaac as William Tell in The Card Counter. Photograph © Focus Features

Debt burden: Paul Schrader’s ‘The Card Counter’

The acclaimed writer-director indulges his experimental streak in a thriller that inverts the popular conception of the gambling man

Image of The Beatles and Yoko Ono during the ‘Let It Be’ sessions. Image © Apple Records / Disney+

‘Get Back’ is ‘slow TV’ for Beatles nuts

Despite plenty of magical moments, Peter Jackson’s eight-hour epic is the work of a fanatic, and will likely only be watched in full by other fanatics

Image of John Wilson in How To with John Wilson. Image courtesy of HBO / Binge

Candid camera: ‘How To with John Wilson’

Both delightfully droll and genuinely moving, John Wilson’s idiosyncratic documentary series is this month’s streaming standout