Roy Wood Jr. Thinks Men Should Just Listen
Ahead of his second Comedy Central special, Roy Wood Jr.: No One Loves You, which premieres on Friday, we caught up with comedian and The Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. on the phone to talk about his latest material, working in a post-Trump era, and how men should approach #MeToo.
EH: Can you elaborate a bit on the title of the special, No One Loves You?
“I think we live in a society where the majority of people will put their own self-interest before the interest of the greater good. [No One Loves You] is just me trying to paint that picture, that illustration, through some of the societal things that are going on in the world right now. You know, if more good cops did the “right thing,” wouldn’t there be less police correction? But there isn’t, because most cops are just tryna pick up their check and go home. So you think that they love you, but do they? I don’t know. It’s that feeling — it’s the realization that so many people have prioritized preservation over the betterment of society.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you face working as a comedian today?
“I think the biggest challenge for comedians working today is that you have the time from premise to punchline, or premise to the point you’re trying to make, seems to be a little faster. Another problem with comedy is that people that benefit from it aren’t nearly as vocal as the people offended by it. So we don’t have a good perspective or a balance of just how good a joke really is.”
You mention a lot of social justice topics in this special and in your work in general. Do you view your comedy as a form of activism or more as comic relief during troubling times?
“I choose to, I don’t think every comedian has a responsibility to the culture. I choose to say stuff myself because I don’t feel that there are enough people of color that have the opportunity and platform that I’ve been afforded. If one joke can change your mind or change your perception or make you think twice about something then I’ve done my job.”
There’s a major part of the special which focuses on the #MeToo movement. What advice do you have for men that are apprehensive on discussing or even addressing the subject?
“I think the important thing for men to do is sit back and listen to women for a change. But also, we have to perceive ourselves, look at ourselves. I tried very carefully with the Me Too material to not try to co-opt that movement. It’s not my place as a man to go ‘Here’s the solution.’ To me, a man leading the #MeToo conversation is like a white woman leading a Black Lives Matter protest. We need to be there, but we don’t need to take charge. I think, for me, I choose to critique the choices that men have made and have an honest look at who we are and what we’ve become, and maybe through that, men can make better choices that can better the movement as a whole. But I cannot reasonably call myself a feminist, but I can support feminism and do everything that I can to make sure that we’re in a better place tomorrow than we were the day before. For men trying to be part of the solution, I think it’s important to listen but at the same time, check other men.”
Roy Wood Jr.: No One Loves You premieres on Friday January 25th. Watch a trailer below.