Rebel Wilson Says The Idea That Only Gay Actors Should Play Gay Roles Is “Total Nonsense”

In a new interview on BBC Radio, the Pitch Perfect star shared her candid thoughts on the challenges surrounding comedians and entertainers facing increasing demands from "progressive" audiences.

By Carmen Schober2 min read

BBC Radio host Lauren Laverne asked the Australian actress if she felt there was a different standard with the kinds of jokes female comedians can make compared to men, but Wilson replied that it's a larger cultural issue affecting both sexes.

“I don’t think there’s a different standard, it’s more this thing like, 'If you are something then now you’re allowed to joke about it,” she said in the interview. “So say, if you are overweight, you can say jokes. But if you’re not [you can’t]… that’s kind of what’s currently happening.”

When Laverne suggested that that was "positive development," Wilson pushed back.

“I think that’s hard. It’s going into this territory of like saying, ‘Well, only straight actors can play straight roles and gay actors can play gay roles,’ which I think is total nonsense. I think you should be able to play any role that you want," she continued. "But I always think, in comedy, your job is to always flirt with that line of what’s acceptable. Sometimes you do step over it, but, at the end of the day, you are trying to entertain people.”

Many people on social media expressed strong agreement while other complained about Wilson being "tone deaf" and "privileged."

Wilson came out as gay in June 2022. She became an international star with her breakthrough role in the comedy, Bridesmaids, followed by her character "Fat Amy" in the highly successful Pitch Perfect trilogy.

"In comedy, your job is to always flirt with that line of what’s acceptable."

Rebel Wilson, BBC Radio

She also shared in the interview that at the age of 29, she sold everything she had and left Sydney and for Hollywood where she gave herself a year to make it. Bridesmaids happened at just the right time. Most recently, Wilson made her debut as a director with the Deb, a musical set in Australia.

Additionally, Wilson addressed the controversy over her memoir, Rebel Rising, which included allegations of inappropriate behavior against actor Sacha Baron Cohen in 2016. After Baron Cohen denied Wilson’s claims, the passages containing the allegations were redacted from the U.K. version of the book “for legal reasons.”

“If it can help a few people out there then it’s worth it,” Wilson said of the memoir. “I stayed in a situation and had things said to me and stuff that I should have left,” she added. “The me now would be strong enough, but back then I just didn’t have enough self-esteem to leave and I thought I’d be labelled as unprofessional if I left."

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