Wayne Brady Weighs In on Jimmy Kimmel's Blackface Controversy (Exclusive)

The comedian shares with ET why he does not think the late-night host should be canceled.

Wayne Brady isn't ready to cancel Jimmy Kimmel altogether because of jokes he's made in his past.

The Let's Make a Deal host spoke with ET's Nischelle Turner about whether he thinks Kimmel should step out of the spotlight after facing backlash for performing in blackface in past skits, as well as using the N-word multiple times in a recently unearthed song from the 1996 comedy Christmas album, A Family Christmas in Your A**. Kimmel released a lengthy statement on Tuesday about his past comedic performances, and apologized "to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke."

In ET's interview, Brady defended Kimmel, explaining that "cancel culture is real because of the power of social media is real."

"Someone like Jimmy Kimmel, I've watched him as a fan and I've been on his show a couple times," Brady said, noting that he thinks the late-night host's comedy has evolved since his time on The Man Show, where he wore blackface in some sketches. "He has grown. People should be allowed the place to grow. If I said something stupid when I was 15, am I the same guy at 20? Am I the same guy at 25? Am I the same guy at 30?"

Brady added, "...I've learned we should be allowed to learn and grow. The thing with being on TV and being a film star, being a news person or a politician, is your time to grow is when you're in the public eye. You have no control over what the zeitgeist thinks, so it's a rough place to be. I think it also holds people accountable. It holds comedy accountable."

The 48-year-old comedian is adamant that those who tell a bad joke and are unforgiving should be canceled, but those in comedy who are remorseful should get second chances. "If you made a bad joke -- and lord knows we've all done it -- then you go, 'I am so sorry. I don't know what the hell I was thinking and that will never come out of my mouth again. I'm an idiot.' As opposed to, 'I'm not backing down. Funny is funny and that's just that.' I don't believe in that,'" he said. 

ET also spoke with The War for Late Night author Bill Carter about how these resurfaced videos and jokes could affect Kimmel's career. Carter says an apology can go a long way in this business. 

"I'm not expecting him to have a long-term problem with his audience," Carter said of the Jimmy Kimmel Live host. "I just don't think so if he addresses it straightforwardly... And by the way, he's already built up, I think, a very good store of good will."

While Kimmel has already released a statement, Carter believes it would be best if he also addresses it on Jimmy Kimmel Live when he returns from a summer hiatus. 

"My feeling about an on-air person apologizing is that at some point you have to address it on air. You just can't avoid it. People are going to expect that of you," he explained. "That's one of the things about late-night because the person comes into your home and is sitting behind the desk and talks and his personal life comes out a ton. And especially Jimmy, Jimmy has had a whole lot that's happened to him and he's had to address it and at times has been extremely emotional."

Carter added, "He's going to have to address it on the air when he comes back. I feel like it's going to be very difficult for him and maybe he thought he would get emotional and he needed to do it this way first. I don't know but I do think it's imperative to do it on the air."

Meanwhile, in addition to JKL being on hiatus, Brady's Let's Make a Deal game show is also not filming any new episodes just yet due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Brady told ET he hopes that they'll be back shooting by this fall. "The safety of our contestants and of the crew, that's paramount. So I know that we're waiting to find out when it comes back, but we will be back. That's happening," he assured fans. 

Previous episodes of Let's Make a Deal are still airing weekdays on CBS.



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