Celebrity comedian Wanda Sykes isn’t afraid to be called the “wake-up comedian”. She’s also not afraid to scold her stand-up friend, Dave Chappelle, for “hurting and damaging” comments to the trans community, she.
in a new interview with VariationThe 59-year-old comic talks about his new Netflix special. Wanda Sykes: I’m an EntertainerA few punches against queerphobic conservatives, including drag bans and transgender bathroom laws.
Sykes, who describes herself as a lesbian, admits that she wanted to offer a perspective on the “other side” of Chappelle’s transphobic rhetoric of the past few years. Notoriously, the 2021 Netflix special closerContaining a few anti-trans jokes, an employee quit at Netflix triggered tons of online outrage and ongoing rhetoric about the ethics of making trans jokes.
“I don’t know how to balance,” Sykes says of his particular case, “because I think what [Chappelle] He said it was very hurtful and damaging for the trans community. So yes, I’ll say the scale is still in their favour. But I know I want to say something because a lot has been said on that platform.”
Inside I’m an EntertainerThe former talk show host addresses the controversial anti-drag bill passed in Tennessee in March. “Until a transvestite broke into the school and beat eight kids to death with a copy of it. To kill a mockingbirdI think you’re focusing on the wrong thing,” he says in private.
She also draws attention to the absurdity of banning trans women in women’s restrooms and underlines how “unladylike” public women’s restrooms are typically, and concludes: “I invite my trans sisters to the ladies’ room. Maybe you can help us do better.”
Sykes also touches on the reactions of some established comedians (read: older, usually male, heterosexual, cis) to so-called “awakened comics”—often women and other people from marginalized groups. The former Oscar presenter said he wasn’t too bothered by the title, citing other iconic “awakened” comedians like Dick Gregory and George Carlin.
“If you want to give me an ‘awakened comic book’ tag, that’s fine,” Sykes says. Variation. “That’s great. What makes me laugh is that they say it like it’s an insult. “Oh, they’re awake.” Thank you! Yes, I do occasionally read things. Yes, I know a few things.
“They’re almost mad that we’re improving,” he adds. “It’s really sad.”
Sykes is the latest A-list comic to indirectly address Chapelle’s statements on the Netflix platform. In Mo’Nique’s long-awaited special, My Name Is Mo’Nique last month, The Oscar-winning actress has championed the rights of LGBTQ+ people, as well as emerging as a queer herself. “I respect any goddamn person here who is free enough to be their goddamn selves,” he said.