While some gay rights groups and social media users have skewered Dave Chappelle for his comedy special The Closer, Damon Wayans believes Chappelle deserves praise for taking a stand against cancel culture.
“I feel like Dave freed the slaves — the comedians. We were slaves to PC culture and he just, as an artist, he’s Van Gogh — cut his ear off and he’s trying to tell us it’s OK,” the Major Payne star told TMZ outside Los Angeles International Airport on Monday.
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Wayans added that he’s never felt chained by pressure to be politically correct in his own comedy routines.
“I’ve always been free, but I just think he’s saying, ‘You know what, with all that I have, I’m not afraid to lose it for the sake of freeness of speech,’” he explained. “You can’t edit yourself.”
Chappelle sparked backlash for his comments about transgender women and gay men, when Netflix released The Closer on Oct. 5. Among his comments, “I don’t hate gay people, I respect the sh-t out of you — not all of you … I’m not that fond of these newer gays — too sensitive, too brittle. I miss the old-school gays.”
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) criticized with the special. “Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” GLADD said in a statement.
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But Wayans insisted the fellow comic was simply speaking freely.
“I can’t speak about the content of the show, but what I say is there’s a bigger conversation we need to have. Somebody needs to look us in the eye and say, ‘You’re no longer free in this county. You’re not free to say what you want, you say what we want you to say, otherwise we will cancel you.’ That’s a discussion we should have,” Wayans said.
“He’s amazing — Van Gogh,” he added about Chappelle before walking away from TMZ’s camera.
The Closer is Chappelle’s last special for the streaming giant, after he previously did The Age Of Spin, Deep In The Heart Of Texas, Equanimity, The Bird Revelation, and Sticks & Stones.
Watch Wayan’s interview below: