Wanda Sykes is standing up for the trans community in her new Netflix special and recently commented about past jokes fellow comedian Dave Chappelle has told in his.
The 59-year-old spoke with Variety about the topic, was asked about I’m An Entertainer and whether her trans jokes balanced the comedy of the Yellow Springs, Ohio resident.
“I knew that it’s such a delicate issue to talk about. I’m not trans, but they have my support, 100 percent,” Sykes said. “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.”
She continued: “[But], I don’t know about balancing it out, because I think what he said was so hurtful and damaging to the trans community. So yeah, the scale is still tipped, I will 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.”
When asked whether she knew Chappelle, Sykes noted that they “go way back,” however 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.“
Additionally, Sykes said the label of being “woke” is a good thing and pushed back on the narrative that it’s a problem if a comic is considered as such.
“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,” she told the publication. “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.
“People would say all kinds of horrible things that we used to let people get away with,” Sykes added. “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.”
I’m An Entertainer began streaming Tuesday (May 23) on Netflix.