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‘You Don’t Have to Sit Around and Have Conversations and Town Hall Meetings About a Joke’: Marlon Wayans Gives His Thoughts on Dave Chappelle’s ‘The Closer’ Backlash 

Amid comedy and controversy, longtime comedian Marlon Wayans is sharing his thoughts on some of the biggest scandals involving several of his comedic peers.

While out promoting his new HBO Max special, “Marlon Wayans Presents The Headliners” on E! News’ “Daily Pop” late last month, the 49-year-old commented on the backlash Dave Chappelle received last year following his Netflix special “The Closer.” The star made several jokes about the LGBTQ+ and transgender community; many found them transphobic and offensive.

“I think that as a comic, you have to speak your truth, and you don’t have to sit around having conversations and town hall meetings about a joke. ‘Bro, this is a joke. If you don’t like my humor, don’t come to my show, don’t tune in,’ ” Wayans said.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 08: Marlon Wayans attends the Los Angeles premiere of MGM’s “Respect” at Regency Village Theatre on August 08, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)

The “Wayans Brothers” star said that although he may not agree with everything that Chappelle said, he was still able to find humor in his presentation.

“Some of me and my best friends don’t think alike. Me and Dave, we don’t think alike. I don’t agree with what he was saying, but I found some of it funny,” he explained. “My daughter’s [Amai Zackary Wayans] gay, so I understand what he’s saying, but I also understand from a father’s perspective where I can communicate that joke differently.”

He also expressed that he believes all comedians should be able to “speak your mind and have freedom of speech,” even if people won’t always agree. He added that Chappelle “can’t heal the world. All he can do is make you feel differently about it, make you laugh. That’s all our job is to do.”

He had similar feelings toward the drama involving Will Smith and Chris Rock. In a story that has become unavoidable, Smith infamously slapped the “Good Hair” star onstage at the 2022 Oscars after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. 

It was interesting. I think part of us is like, ‘Wow,’ because, for years, we had no idea Will had that in him,” he said. “My brother [Damon Wayans] always taught me, ‘Be an equal opportunity offender,’ which means I make fun of everybody,” he added.

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