Comedians who make “questionable statements” run the risk of being “canceled” which has now become somewhat embedded into today’s culture and that’s something Marlon Wayans frowns upon.
“My job is to talk about all the things people are scared to say,” Wayans said. “My job is to go into these dark topics and go in these dark caves and come out with this elixir called ‘the laugh.’”
But being honest has hurt some comedians’ careers and he says social media has a lot to do with it.
“Social media alerts the media, which then tells the message that everybody should be as sensitive about every topic, but that’s not true,” he explained. “Comedians, we’re supposed to speak our voice and we’re supposed to find what’s funny. That’s my job. It’s like telling a fireman, ‘You can’t go into that burning building.’ Well, how am I gonna save lives?”
Some of his famous peers like Kevin Hart have dealt with backlash for telling offensive jokes. Hart, for instance, got caught in a whirlwind of criticism after decade-old homophobic tweets resurfaced and caused him to step down from hosting this year’s Academy Awards.
Recently comedian Chris Rock outraged folks with a social media post that took aim at white mass shooters. Some argued that it was racially insensitive to assume mass shooters are likely to be white men.
Wayans doesn’t subscribe to saying sorry for a joke and says he “personally doesn’t believe in apologizing.”
“You know, freedom of speech,” he said. “What happened to that?”
He said a comedian’s style shouldn’t result in his career going up in smoke for testing out material.
“I’m just up there exploring the joke,” he said about testing out material at comedy clubs. “It takes about a year to two years to get that joke good enough to where you’re gonna wanna say it out loud in a special. We say dumb shit in order to say smart shit,” he said. “But it takes time, and so the audience has to give us that time to work on the material before we present it to you in a special. And then you can judge.”