Wanda Sykes Says ‘Cancel Culture’ Is Just Code for Consequences
“Only God can cancel me,” says Wanda Sykes. That’s probably what she told Fox at the end of Wanda at Large.
Sykes’ latest comedy special, Wanda Sykes: I’m An Entertainer premieres tomorrow on Netflix, and the stand-up veteran of nearly 40 years has a lot to say about the state of discourse surrounding the so-called “line” in comedy and the repercussions of crossing it. When Sykes appeared on Kevin Hart’s podcast Gold Minds in November, 2021, Hart, who famously lost his dream job of hosting the Oscars in 2019 after a series of his homophobic tweets and jokes resurfaced, tried to draw the trailblazing queer comedian into a discussion about “cancel culture,” which she flatly shut down with the divine line about the original whistleblower.
Speaking to The Guardian this past Friday, Sykes elaborated on her stance, saying what most comedians call “cancel culture” is simply what she calls “consequences” — the only real “canceling” we experience ends with a white light and pearly gates.
“To me, the whole complaint about cancel culture is a lot of men — especially straight men — who are just pissed that they can’t say things any more, y’know?” Sykes explained, “And it’s not like you can’t say these things. You can say them, but now there’s just consequences.” Sykes continued, "That’s why I say I can’t get canceled. Only God can say: ‘All right, Wanda, that’s enough.’”
It’s worth noting that, in Hart’s case, the superstar comic wasn’t simply fired from The Oscars for repeatedly and gleefully made jokes at the expense of gay people — by his own account, Hart’s bosses at The Academy asked him to apologize for claiming that he would beat his son if he started “acting gay.” It was only when Hart refused to walk back his jokes in order to ease tensions surrounding his hosting gig that the decision was made to move on from him. In his case, his “cancelation” wasn’t just the consequences of his actions — they were consequences he had every opportunity to avoid.