Audience members at comedian John Mulaney's stand-up show were shocked to be greeted by Dave Chappelle's appearance.
The controversial Chappelle, according to guests at the show, was a surprise opening act for Mulaney at a set in Columbus, Ohio, according to TMZ.
According to those present, who were unable to record the audio because mobile phones were cloaked in locked pouches, Chappelle told "a bunch of transphobic jokes".
Another audience member said Chappelle's transphobic joke involved guns which identified as knives – a reference to the weapon used by the man who attacked him onstage earlier in the month – but that he gave the crowd a knowing look before moving on.
Others on social media criticised Mulaney for springing Chappelle on his audience without fair warning.
Chappelle has courted controversy in recent years, especially after the release of his Netflix comedy special The Closer, in which he took several shots at the trans and LGBTQI communities. It was not the first time Chappelle made the communities a target of his comedy.
He also claimed he was "team TERF", a term which means trans-exclusionary radical feminist, a label commonly associated with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Rowling has come under fire for years for divisive comments about the trans community.
Chappelle's comments in The Closer led to internal revolt at Netflix with upset staff members staging protests and walkouts. Netflix has since, months later, issued a memo to its team outlining that if staff are not comfortable working on titles they disapprove of, they should consider working elsewhere.
At the time of the Netflix furore in late-2021, Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby was dragged into the controversy when Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos, a self-proclaimed fan of Chappelle, used Gadsby as a shield to list instances in which the streaming company has given a platform to artists from marginalised communities.
Gadsby hit out at Sarandos for using her work to justify his support of Chappelle. She wrote, "Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn't drag my name into your mess.
"Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle's fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view.
"You didn't pay me nearly enough to deal with the real-world consequences of the hate speech dog-whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted.
"F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult… I do sh*ts with more backbone than you. That's just a joke! I definitely didn't cross a line because you just told the world there isn't one."
Chappelle was recently attacked onstage by an audience member during a show as part of Netflix Is A Joke comedy festival. The attacker was arrested and hospitalised after being tackled by security.
Chappelle later "joked" the man was "trans".