Comedian and actor Dave Chappelle has officially been granted the esteemed honor of receiving the Key to The City in his hometown of Washington D.C. It was on Friday [September 29] that Chappelle was awarded by Mayor Muriel Bowser at his alma mater, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, from which he graduated in 1971.

“Some very special native Washingtonians have dedicated their lives to making Washington, D.C. better, and they’ve gone above and beyond to show others what makes the nation’s capital the best city in the world,” said Mayor Bowser during the ceremony. “Dave Chappelle reminds us what it means to live a life filled with purpose, meaning, and laughter.”

While Chappelle received the honor, he also presented the school with a gift of his own, giving the institution his very first Emmy, an award he won this year in the category for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his appearance during his hosting debut on Saturday Night Live.

“I want you guys to have this,” Dave said as he addressed the group of students and spectators gathered at the school during his acceptance of the Key to the City. “Just so you know that even though the odds are widely against you, this can happen for you if you guys just stay true to yourselves. So this is the people’s Emmy, and every once in a while, just take a look at it and just know I started earning this Emmy at this school.”

The episode in question featured his controversial opening monologue on the heels of the 2016 election in which he referred to the newly-elected president as an “internet troll,’ and stated (and later recanted) that he would give Donald Trump a chance while tactically and seamlessly touching on topics that included the year’s tragic mass shootings, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the death of Harambe the silverback gorilla.

“Right now, you guys are making your future and this is a very important time in your life,” Chappelle added. “And you guys got to be kind to each other and you guys have to help each other get through these times, so you’ll be successful.”


Dave Chappelle Receives the Key to Washington D.C.