Comedian and podcaster Adam Carolla defended his friend, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, on Saturday night, saying “context” should be taken into consideration when judging an actor or comedian doing a character in blackface.
“I can tell you that we have to make a definitive difference between blackface and doing a character who happens to be black,” Carolla said while appearing on Fox News’ “Watters’ World.”
“If we want to remove Jimmy Kimmel from the equation, we can focus on Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy Fallon is doing Chris Rock. He’s doing it in a context. There’s a context for it. It’s fine.”
Carolla was referencing a similar incident in which Fallon, now host of NBC’s “Tonight Show,” was criticized for appearing in blackface to portray Rock when Fallon appeared in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch.
“Jimmy Kimmel is doing Karl Malone. Jimmy Kimmel is doing Oprah. Jimmy Kimmel is doing Snoop Dogg. There’s a context. It’s comedy,” Carolla said of the host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and Carolla’s former co-host of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show” (1999-2004). “We need to put away the jeweler’s loupe when it comes to comedians.”
“We need to put away the jeweler’s loupe when it comes to comedians.”
— Adam Carolla
Kimmel apologized Tuesday after coming under fire for wearing blackface in old sketches where he impersonated former NBA player Karl Malone. Other routines have recently come to light, such as imitating rapper Snoop Dogg’s voice for an “N-word”-filled track on a 1996 Christmas album.
Watters pressed Carolla on the issue, asking if he understood the “negative effects” of blackface.
“You understand that black Americans, when they see white Americans in many contexts, whether it’s comedy or anything, when they put darker makeup or whatever on their skin, it really has a negative effect because of the history of that,” Watters told Carolla.
“They shouldn’t,” Carolla said, defending his take on the issue. “They should look at everything in a context. What is going on? We’re gonna have to start speaking about the difference between what is intentional and what is it.”
“Was there a noose hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage? Yes, there was. Was it meant for him? No, it wasn’t. OK,” Carolla said, referencing the incident regarding the NASCAR driver. “Let’s put some context into things. Katy Perry makes shoes that are black and puts a smiley face on it. Is a shoe doing blackface? I mean, we’ve lost our minds. The adults need to start speaking up.”
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.