Dave Chappelle Faces Off with H.S. Students ... Re Transgender Controversy

1:53 PM PT -- 11/28/21 -- Dave has a challenge, of sorts, for those who feel like a theater at his old high school shouldn't be named after him, or vice-versa ... and it's all about moolah.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

We'll let you read his post for yourself, because it's pretty self-explanatory ... but basically, DC is calling on people who feel one way or another to donate -- and whichever group donates the most will get their wish.

For anyone else on the sidelines not willing to chip in at all, he's got a message for them too.

Dave Chappelle's first Q&A over his transgender controversy did not go well -- but it was honest ... because kids from his alma mater told him exactly how they felt.

According to Politico ... Dave paid a visit to his old high school -- the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C. -- shortly before Thanksgiving this week and encouraged students who were angry with him to get on the mic and air their grievances during an assembly.

Interestingly, an event at this same school had previously been postponed ... over what many perceived was the backlash Dave was facing. Seems they came to an agreement.

Anyway ... things immediately got off to a rough start, as the packed auditorium of about 580 teens half cheered and half booed for the guy -- and when he exclusively invited the naysayers to speak, the discussion went downhill fast ... and got pretty contentious.

Politico reports one student stepped up and called him a "bigot," adding ... "I'm 16 and I think you're childish, you handled it like a child." Dave responded, "My friend, with all due respect, I don't believe you could make one of the decisions I have to make on a given day."

In response to another Q, Dave said ... "I'm better than every instrumentalist, artist, no matter what art you do in this school, right now, I'm better than all of you. I'm sure that will change. I'm sure you'll be household names soon." Apparently, that pissed off the kids more.


When one student yelled out, "Your comedy kills!" ... Dave reportedly said, "N****** are killed every day." Story goes, the rest of the convo went exactly like that -- no apology surfaced.

There was also a camera crew in tow ... and some of the students told Politico after the fact that they felt intimidated and that there was a power imbalance Dave was clearly aware of and exploiting. Funny enough, there were some students who were sour about not being able to express support for Dave -- remember, he only let those who were pissed speak.

Toward the end of the Q&A, Dave reportedly softened his tone ... when he disavowed threats some of the students have purportedly received for their outcry over Chappelle. He even gave each of them tickets to his new documentary film, but it's unclear if this squashed anything.

His rep told Politico ... "He said these kids deserve an F for forgiveness." She added, "Give them some space to grow. They are going to say things that are immature."

Originally Published -- 11/27/21 10:59 AM PT

The Rock Surprises Tour Bus Happy Thanksgiving ... But Stay Away from My House!!!

@therock / Instagram

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is spreading some holiday cheer -- and jokes -- this Thanksgiving, surprising an unsuspecting group of fans with a funny warning.

The WWE superstar turned Hollywood megastar posted a video Thursday of himself driving up on a Hollywood tour bus. You can see, the passengers are stunned, everyone's got their phones out ... and Rock asks, "Have you seen my house yet?"

The bus responds with a resounding "no" ... to which Johnson jokes, "Good, keep it that way! Happy Thanksgiving!"


It's not the first time Rock has surprised and interacted with a tour bus, we got him a few years back on The TMZ Celebrity Tour where he was just as gracious, chatting it up with passengers for a while before heading into a meeting in L.A.

It would make sense for Johnson to continue to act as a man of the people, remember it was earlier this year when a poll suggested nearly 50% of people asked would be happy to have him as President.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Of course, nothing is official, but Rock was honored, writing, "Humbling ... I don't think our Founding Fathers EVER envisioned a six-four, bald, tattooed, half-Black, half-Samoan, tequila drinking, pick up truck driving, fanny pack-wearing guy joining their club - but if it ever happens it'd be my honor to serve you, the people."

Kevin Hart Comedians Should Be Respectful ... But Haters Have Chappelle All Wrong!!!


Kevin Hart says standup comedy should change in the wake of all the buzz about Dave Chappelle's alleged transphobia -- but he insists most of the critics don't have a clue who Dave really is.

We got Kevin out Friday morning in NYC, and asked if he planned to change anything in his standup routines due to the backlash against Dave's "The Closer" -- and it sounds like he will. Kev said, "We all have to adjust. We all gotta make sure we're operating and managing in a respectful manner."


Watch how KH says it, because it comes off like a criticism of his pal Dave. As you know, Chappelle's been adamant his special was not transphobic, and he has nothing for which to apologize ... despite protests and a walkout staged by Netflix employees.

However, before ya start thinking there's a rift ... Kevin also came out swinging for Chappelle, telling us Dave is a very loving guy and "the narrative that's being attached [to Dave] doesn't necessarily have to be true without knowing the individual."

He also shouted out Chappelle directly, and sent him some love.

The takeaway here ... Kevin isn't gonna be as edgy or controversial as Dave the comedian -- never has been, really -- but he's still a ride or die for Dave as a person.

Taylor Swift Performs 'All Too Well' on 'SNL' ... Sorry, Jake Gyllenhaal!!!

Taylor Swift appeared on 'SNL' Saturday night, singing a 10-minute version of the song about her breakup with Jake Gyllenhaal ... and wow, the words and the emotions behind it are biting.

Swift performed "All Too Well (Taylor's Version)," a cut from her new, re-released version of 'Red.'

You've heard the song before, but watching Taylor perform it has gotta be pretty blistering for Gyllenhaal ... it's really raw.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Taylor also got in the act during a sketch with Pete Davidson ... a sketch called "Three Sad Virgins." It's a roast of 3 dudes on the show -- Martin, Ben and John ... skewering them for not having game.

The re-mastered version of 'Red' dropped Friday ... and tons of corporations got into the act by changing their Twitter names to support the album ... corporations that include Starbucks, Sour Patch Kids, Olive Garden, Etsy, Panera Bread, Chips Ahoy, Taco Bell and even the Kansas City Chiefs.

As you know, Taylor's re-recorded lots of her own songs from the elusive masters she doesn't own, and it's gone over big.

Taylor's been on 'SNL' 5 times now ... her first appearance was way back in 2009.

Kim Kardashian Advice for Pal's Wedding ... I Might Not be Best One To Ask!!!


Kim Kardashian knows a thing or two about marriage -- but not necessarily a successful one ... which made her wedding advice at a pal's rehearsal dinner all the more hilarious.

During entertainment executive Simon Huck's pre-nuptial feast Friday night, he and his hubby-to-be, Phil Riportella, invited KK to get on the mic and deliver a few words of encouragement. She took 'em up on it ... but noted she might not be the best one to give guidance here.

Check out her jokes ... Kim talks about her 3 failed marriages, and how she hasn't really figured out this "marriage thing" herself.

She even makes some cracks at her own expense -- as well as some at her ex-husbands ... including Kris Humphries, to whom she was married for just 72 days. That said, Kim offers them tips on the actual ceremony itself ... touching on how to get the best "first kiss" shot.

Kim ends by saying she can recognize true love when she sees it, and thinks Simon and Phil will go the distance. Sure enough, she got a big round of applause.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

It's interesting ... even though Kim is smackdab in the middle of her own divorce right now, she's very much in wedding mode -- attending Paris Hilton's ceremony, and now Simon's.

Gotta wonder what Pete Davidson thinks of all these happily ever after vibes. πŸ˜…

Conan O'Brien 'SNL' Stars Always Get The Girl ... It's Not Just Pete and Kim K


Conan O'Brien sounds proud of Pete Davidson and Colin Jost for what he says is a long-standing tradition ... "Saturday Night Live" cast members landing smoking hot women!!!

We got Conan, who was a writer on 'SNL' long before he hosted his own late-night show, leaving Sugarfish in Hollywood and our guy asked him what's up with 'SNL' being the ultimate aphrodisiac.


As you know ... Pete recently started dating Kim Kardashian, and Colin is married to Scarlett Johansson ... and don't forget 'SNL' alum Jason Sudeikis and his ex Olivia Wilde as another recent example.

Conan says this is just one of the many perks of a gig on 'SNL' ... harkening back to his days on the show when he dated more famous women than he can count, including Elizabeth Taylor! He's clearly joking, but still ... the track record speaks for itself.

It doesn't sound like there's something in the water over at 'SNL' ... but Conan lets us in on the cast's little secret to getting the girl. Well, maybe it's not a "little" secret. 😜

Donnell Rawlings Chappelle Controversy Misinterpreted ... Dave's Still at His 'Happiest'


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 starting to 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.

Katt Williams Stops Show After Fan Passes Out ... We Won't Have Another Astroworld


Katt Williams didn't want to take any chances Saturday night when someone passed out in the crowd ... unlike what happened at Astroworld -- but almost certainly because of it, Katt stopped the show.

Someone in the crowd lost consciousness and someone screamed, "Stop the show!" Katt heeded the advice and took a 10-minute break while medics rushed in to tend to the audience member.

Katt stayed on stage at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, pacing around and talking to the crowd, but he clearly didn't want to jump right back into his set until medical matters were handled.

You hear Katt tell the audience, "I'm sorry if I won't move on but that Astroworld s*** I mean we can't never continue till we know somebody motherf***ing good ... I'm not goin' to be leaving with that on my conscious ... just take five minutes ... thank you, sir ... I hope she's just having a baby. That's all."

It's unclear what happened to the man who lost consciousness. He was taken out of the auditorium and Katt said, "We made the right decision," adding, "Alright, come back from a commercial break." He continued on with his set.

Astroworld and Travis Scott are getting slammed for continuing the show for 40 minutes after a stampede that left 8 people dead and hundreds injured. As we reported, authorities are investigating whether someone may have injected fans with some sort of drug that could have triggered cardiac arrest.

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!