One of Dave Chappelle's best pals says most people don't understand "The Closer" or the controversy surrounding it -- nor do they get what people who are defending him really mean.
Check out what Donnell Rawlings had to say Tuesday at LAX -- we asked about the fact Jay-Z -- and others, including former Prez Barack Obama -- recently seemed to be backing Dave's special and/or vouching for his character.
DR believes folks are misconstruing all this "backing," because, as he put it, most celebs speaking out on behalf of Dave are not necessarily cosigning on his POV -- but, rather sticking up for freedom of speech and artists' rights.
At least that's what Donnell took from Jay saying "The Closer" made him cringe at times, but that's what "great art" makes you do sometimes.
It's a pretty interesting point he's making -- and he adds that despite all the controversy Dave is in great spirits right now. Donnell goes so far as to call it the "happiest point" of Chappelle's life.
That seemed pretty clear, based on DC's face when we got him out in Hollywood last month ... just as the 'Closer' buzz was startingto take off.
As you know, Chappelle has said he's struggling to find distribution for his new untitled documentary film -- due to "The Closer" backlash -- but Donnell gives it a plug, and explains why it's more important than ever for people to see it ... especially the haters.