Wanda Sykes is sharing her feelings about Dave Chappelle and his anti-trans jokes. The Virginia-born comic recently spoke to Variety to promote her new Netflix stand-up special, I’m An Entertainer. During the interview, Sykes gave her thoughts on Chappelle’s commentary and was asked whether her trans jokes were a “balance” against Chappelle’s. Sykes responded that the balance doesn’t have a scale that “tipped in their favor.”
“I knew that it’s such a delicate issue to talk about. I’m not trans, but they have my support, 100 percent” the comic shared. “I wanted to find something where I can shine some light on what they’re going through, to show how just stupid and hateful really it is. I was in a woman’s bathroom one time, and I was like, ‘Who would want to come in here anyway? It was like, I kind of want to go check out the men’s room. Sometimes, it’s even cleaner.’ And that’s how that whole bit started. I’ve always just been grossed out by bathrooms.”
The 59-year-old comedian confirmed that her and Chappelle “go way back,” although she hasn’t spoken to him in a while.
“[Not speaking to Chappelle] — it’s not intentional,” she continued. “I still love the guy. But I haven’t had a chance to talk to him. If our paths did cross, I totally would say something.“
“If you want to give me the label of a ‘woke comic,’ that’s fine. That’s great. What makes me laugh is that they say that like it’s an insult: ‘Oh, they’re woke.’ Thank you! Yeah, I read some stuff from time to time. Yeah, I know a few things. It’s not an insult at all. I mean, George Carlin, he was woke. Richard Pryor, woke. Bill Hicks, woke. It’s almost like they’re angry that we’re evolving. It’s sad, really.
She added, “People would say all kinds of horrible things that we used to let people get away with. But you know, in this country, they would hold public lynchings, and people would have picnics and eat potato salad while watching. We’re evolving. We’re getting better.”
Dave Chappelle’s jokes created an online firestorm upon the release of his 2021 Netflix special The Closer. Some Netflix and Saturday Night Live staff members responded by protesting the comedian, along with other comics like Mae Martin, Jerrod Carmichael and Billy Eichner. Tensions came to a head last year when Chappelle was attacked on stage at festival Netflix Is A Joke by a man who claimed to be bisexual.
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