Wanda Sykes is not known for keeping her opinions to herself (thankfully), and she has some choice words for her comedian friend Dave Chappelle about his polarizing comments in the Grammy-winning Netflix stand-up special The Closer.
In said standup, which led to a walkout at Netflix by transgender employees, Chappelle said he “agreed” with the idea that “gender is a fact,” and further discussed J.K. Rowling’s rebranding as a “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist).
After receiving backlash for his comments, Chappelle addressed the controversy in a five-minute Instagram post where he said, “To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anyone’s demands.”
Sykes, who’s been a longtime pal of Chappelle, was asked by Variety about her own recent comedy special, I’m an Entertainer, and whether her set “balanced out” what Chappelle said about trans people in his special.
“Um, I don’t know about balancing it out, because I think what he said was so hurtful and damaging to the trans community,” Sykes responded. “So yeah, the scale is still tipped, I would say, in their favor. But I know I wanted to say something, because so much has been said on that platform. I definitely want to say something on the other side of it.”
She further stated that the two comedians went “way back,” but that she hadn’t spoken to him since the comedy special. While noting that it wasn’t intentional, she also said she would say something to him if their paths crossed.
In regard to Sykes and other comedians receiving their own backlash for “woke comedy,” she said: “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!”