Damon Wayans: Are Dave Chappelle's Stand-ups Speeches or Specials?

“Don’t blur the lines,” Wayans said.

During a recent interview with Hot 97, actor-comedian Damon Wayans questioned why Dave Chappelle's stand-up routines of late are classified as specials rather than speeches.

Wayans was asked about Chappelle’s comments, where the award-winning comedian challenged his contemporaries to come up with anything close to his 2021 special, The Closer.

During the 40-minute special released on Netflix (What’s in a Name), the 48-year-old said it’ll be decades before any other comedian manages to produce a comedy show that can contend with the ones he’s performed.

Wayans, 61, began his statement by saying he loves Chappelle and won’t speak too much about it.

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“They’re filming everything he do right now and putting it out as specials,” he said. “The thing is, you gotta ask yourself as an artist: is it special – or are they taking advantage of me because I’m special?”

The release is categorized as “comedies,” but the description reads, “Dave Chappelle delivers a speech at his prestigious alma mater that reflects on his comedy roots, his rise to fame and why artists "should never behave."

Wayans points out that he hasn’t actually watched Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, but he sees fit to determine that Chappelle’s work should be categorized as a speech. “Don’t blur the lines. Is this a special or is this is a speech,” he said.

“There is no doubt that Dave Chappelle is the comedian of our generation. He’s braver than I am, right now. I wouldn’t say he’s braver than I’ve ever been, because, you know In Living Color kind of speaks to my fearlessness.”

Chappelle’s The Closer special earned Emmy nominations, despite the continuous backlash he has received.

“I totally respect him. He weathered a very difficult storm and came out on the otherside smiling and I’m happy for him,” Waynes said.

In 2021, Wayans challenged Chappelle to a comedic Verzuz. “I’m calling him out!” Wayans said he was joking about the challenge.

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