Patton Oswalt is offering an apology and sharing some reflections on his longtime friendship with fellow comedian Dave Chappelle.

Friday night on Instagram, Oswalt posted a photo alongside Chappelle and shared that after performing at the Seattle Center, Chappelle had texted him to come visit and do a guest set at the arena he was performing in next door. “Why not? I waved good-bye to this hell-year with a genius that I started comedy with 34 years ago. He works an arena like he’s talking to one person and charming their skin off. Anyway, I ended the year with a real friend and a deep laugh. can’t ask for much more,” Oswalt wrote.

In a follow-up post, Oswalt provided more insight into his New Year’s Eve post, explaining that he and Chappelle have known each other since they were teenagers and hadn’t seen each other “in a long time.” “He’s a fellow comedian, the funniest I’ve ever met. I wanted to post a pic & an IG story about it — so I did. The friend is Dave Chappelle. Thirty four YEARS we’ve been friends,” he wrote. “We’ve done bad & good gigs, open mikes & TV tapings.” 

Oswalt then acknowledged Chappelle’s recent controversy, in which he was widely blasted for making transphobic comments in his latest Netflix special, The Closer. The outcry eventually inspired a walkout by Netflix employees and allies, who took to the streets outside the streamer’s Hollywood offices. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos later admitted he “screwed up” by not being more sensitive to Netflix employees’ feelings about the content.

Despite being longtime friends, Oswalt wrote, “[W]e 100% disagree about transgender rights & representation. I support trans peoples’ rights — ANYONE’S rights — to live safely in the world as their fullest selves.” Though Oswalt emphasized that he will “always disagree” with where Chappelle stands, he also doesn’t “believe a seeker like him is done evolving, learning.” 

“You know someone that long, see the struggles and changes, it’s impossible to cut them off. Impossible not to be hopeful and open and cheer them on,” Oswalt continued, adding that he has been “carrying a lot of guilt” after cutting ties with friends who had views he couldn’t agree with or changed in ways he couldn’t “live with.” He also explained that he has since felt “friction” over being an LGBTQ ally while also being a “loyal friend.”

“I’m an LGBTQ ally. I’m a loyal friend. There’s friction in those traits that I need to reconcile myself, and not let cause feels of betrayal in ANYONE else,” he continued. 

He later apologized for deleting posts in the comment thread of his post with Chappelle, comments he described as “critical ones from LGBTQ writers AND shit-posts by TERF/anti-trans orcs looking for clicks & giggles,” as a means of maintaining a “nice comment thread.” “I’m sorry, truly sorry, that I didn’t consider the hurt this would cause. Or the DEPTH of that hurt … So easy to think someone ELSE needs growth and miss the need in yourself. Gonna keep trying.” 

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