Marlon Wayans Weighs in On Dave Chappelle Backlash, Will Smith Slap

By Paige Strout Apr 29, 2022 10:23 PMTags

Marlon Wayans is putting all jokes aside when it comes to the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle.

The 49-year-old comedian stopped by E! News' Daily Pop on April 29 to chat about his new HBO Max special, Marlon Wayans Presents: The Headliners, while also sharing his thoughts on the backlash to Chappelle's Netflix special, The Closer.

The October 2021 special, which featured several jokes about the transgender and LGBTQ+ community, offended many Chappelle fans.

Wayans weighed in on the situation, telling host Justin Sylvester, "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.'"

He continued, saying, "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. 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."

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Wayans believes that all comedians should have the right to "speak your mind and have freedom of speech," even if people won't always agree with what's said.

"[Chappelle] can't heal the world. All he can do is make you feel differently about it, make you laugh," said Wayans. "That's all our job is to do."


Wayans also weighed in on Will Smith's 2022 Oscars slap incident with Chris Rock, sharing that he reached out to both men afterwards to check in.

"It was interesting," he said. "I think part of us is like, ‘Wow,' because for years, we had no idea Will had that in him."

When it comes to his own comedic stylings, Wayans joked that he is an "equal opportunity offender."

"My brother [Damon Wayans] always taught me, ‘Be an equal opportunity offender,' which means I make fun of everybody," he joked. "And the person I make most fun of is myself, and I think when you do that, then, you know, you can't be mad because everybody gets it. And also what is your intention? My intention is to make everybody laugh."

How can he tell if a joke landed? He says, "If I make the people that I'm making fun of laugh the loudest, then that's a damn good joke."

Check out the full interview in the clip above.

Marlon Wayans Presents: The Headliners is streaming now on HBO Max and check out Wayans' official website for more information about his upcoming tour.