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Culture Oct 18, 2021 4:47 PM EST

WATCH: Damon Wayans backs Chapelle: he 'freed the comedy slaves'

"Someone needs to look us in the eye and say 'you're no longer free in this country. You're not free to say what you want, you say what we want you to say..."' Wayans said.

WATCH: Damon Wayans backs Chapelle: he 'freed the comedy slaves'
James Anthony Montreal QC

Damon Wayans was approached by TMZ in LA and asked about what he thought of Dave Chappelle's controversial Netflix special, "The Closer."

"I feel like Dave freed the slaves," Wayans said.

TMZ caught up with Wayans at LAX to ask him his thoughts on "The Closer," Chapelle's comedy special which was released on Oct. 5 2021, and is thought by many to be his most controversial work to date.

When a photographer approached him at the Los Angeles airport, and asked what he thought of Chappelle's special, Wayans said "I feel like Dave freed the slaves."

"Oh you do?" TMZ's photographer asked.

"Comedians," Wayans said, "we were slaves to PC culture, and he just, y'know, as an artist he's Van Gogh, he cut his ear off, and he's trying to tell us, 'it's okay.'"

TMZ asked if Chappelle's speaking out makes it possible for other comedians to stop fearing their own voice, asking if Wayans would feel more free to be himself.

"I've always been free," Wayans said. "I just think he's saying 'y'know what, with all that I have, I'm not afraid to lose it for the sake of freedom of speech.'

"You can't, y'know, you can't edit yourself. Comedians, we're like, y'know, Mercedes makes a great car, but they gotta crash a lot of them before they perfect it," he said.

When asked about the Netflix special, "The Closer," and the offense taken by many of those in the LGBT+ community, Wayans said "I can't speak about the content of the show, but what I say is, there's a bigger conversation that we need to have.

"Someone needs to look us in the eye and say 'you're no longer free in this country. You're not free to say what you want, you say what we want you to say, otherwise we will cancel you.' That's the discussion we should have," Wayans said.

"And Dave Chappelle is like the poster child for comedians—" TMZ remarked.

"He's a unicorn," Wayans said. "He's amazing. Van Gogh."

Two days after the special's release, NPR accused Chapelle of "using white privilege" as an excuse for "his own transphobia and homophobia."

"The Closer" aired on Netflix, and a trans employee had gotten a group of activists together, who then threatened to walk out over the airing of the show. This individual has reportedly now been fired from Netflix.

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