While heading to board a flight at LAX, comedian Damon Wayans caught up with TMZ, where he shared his thoughts on Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix comedy special and its media backlash.
“I feel like Dave freed the slaves. Yeah, the comedians. We were slaves to PC culture and he just, you know — as an artist he’s van Gogh. He cut his ear off. He’s trying to tell us it’s OK.”- Wayans tells TMZ.
Last Tuesday morning, Dave Chappelle sixth and final Netflix comedy special entitled The Closer premiered on the streaming service with incendiary jokes about transgender women. Immediately, the special became the most controversial 48 minutes of the past 25 years.
Critics called for “The Closer” to be yanked from the streaming giant’s lineup, but a high-leveled Netflix employee declared Monday that Chappelle would not be canceled, standing on the side of “artistic freedom.”
“Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him. His last special ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most-watched, stickiest and most award-winning stand-up special to date,” Ted Sarandos, 57, co-CEO and chief creative officer of Netflix wrote in a company memo. “As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful.”
Wayans went a step further than Sarandos when TMZ’s cameraman asked him if Chappelle’s bold moves allow artists to “be a bit more risqué or free to be yourself?”
The My Wife & Kids star would go on to say “I’ve always been free — but, um, I just think he’s saying, ‘You know what? All that I have, I’m not afraid to lose it for the sake of creative freeness of speech. You can’t edit yourself. Comedians, we’re like — Mercedes makes a great car, but you gotta crash a lot of them before they perfect it.”
Meanwhile, advocacy group GLAAD has declared that “Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.”
When TMZ asked Wayans to comment on such criticisms, he said, “I can’t speak about the content of the show. But what I say is, there’s a bigger conversation we need to have. Someone needs to look us in the eye and go, ‘You’re no longer free in this country. You’re not free to say what you want. You say what we want you to say. Otherwise, we will cancel you.’ That’s the discussion we should have.”
A few months ago, Wayans was linked to Dave Chappelle during an interview with KBXX 97.9 The Box as he would challenge the comedy legend to a comedy verzuz battle.