Wanda Sykes has expressed her feelings regarding Dave Chappelle’s anti-trans jokes and being labeled “woke.”
During an interview with Variety, Sykes was asked about her latest Netflix special, I’m An Entertainer, and whether her trans jokes balanced Dave’s trans commentary. She stated that it’s not a balance with the scale “tipped in their favor.”
“I knew that it’s such a delicate issue to talk about. I’m not trans, but they have my support, 100%,” the comic asserted. “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.”
“[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.”
The veteran comedian was then asked whether or not she knew Chappelle, with Sykes revealing they “go way back” but 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.“
The Virginia native was then asked about her views on the growing backlash of being “woke.” She pushed back on the narrative that it was an issue and name-dropped comedic legends who would also be considered “woke.”
“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. 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. 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.”
Wanda Sykes’ new stand-up special, I’m An Entertainer begins streaming on Netflix on Tuesday (May 23).