For comedian Jimmie Walker thinks everything is not “dyn-O-mite.”
The 70s sitcom star — known for his iconic “Good Times” character “J.J. Evans” — has doom and gloom in his guts. He says the politicians are divided. The races are far apart. People are full of hate. Hell, even comedy is “extraordinarily” divided. (“Funny is not funny anymore,” he says.) Walker is fond of President Trump, but he thinks the country is a mess and will never recover.
“Never?” I ask the 71-year-old by phone.
“I don’t think there’s any chance of it getting back together,” he told me. “I think we are way past that. Ever. Never. Ever. The races are too far apart. That’s what it is. It’s not like a civil war. Women and men. It’s a very bad situation right now. It’s going to get worse. Both sides hate each other. We’re just grinding to the end.”
“Of what?” I try, semi-hopefully.
His dark reply: “THE WORLD.”
Walker is on the horn to promote his upcoming special which airs on August 7. So let’s get that out of the way. It’s called “We Are Still Here” with Michael Winslow and it’ll appear on Amazon, Comcast, Direct TV and more. “I’m not hip to any of that,” he says, referring to online streaming. But he knows the special will be streaming.
Walker calls himself a “logical independent.” He won’t say who he voted for in the last election. “Well, that, I’m keeping a secret,” he said.
Asked to expound on being a “logical independent,” he’s kind, but seems to think I’m an idiot.
“That means logical and independent,” he said like I’m a 4-year-old. “It means different thoughts on different things. I think that’s pretty clear.”
So what does Walker think of Trump?
“I think Trump is a different kind of guy,” he says. “Some things you like, some things you don’t. If you ‘re married or have a boyfriend, you have things you don’t like that they do. Nobody is perfect. I think he’s brassy and he’s an opinionated guy. Without a doubt…he’s refreshing. He’s not a politician and I think people like that. I think he has points, you know? He goes to his people…whether it be Fox or Hannity and Tucker Carlson.”
Walker really likes the word brassy.
The comedian counts Whoopi Goldberg of ABC’s “The View”— whom he also calls “brassy with a lot of — and conservative firebrand Ann Coulter among his “acquaintances.” He’s cagey about his relationship with Ann, and won’t say much more about her than that they’re pals.
When I question him about it, he gives me a strange analogy involving country singer Dolly Parton.
“It’s like me talking about Dolly Parton,” he said. “I don’t know Dolly Parton. I know Ann. Like I said about Whoopi … she’s an acquaintance of mine.”
There are a lot of moments like this in a 30-minute conversation with Walker. Real head-scratchers. Like what the fuck is this guy talking about? Like we just slid off an infinity pool and no one’s coming back.
But there are also moments of….this guy definitely has brain cells. He knows his news. His media diet is astonishing: He watches CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. He reads The Boston Globe, San Jose Mercury News, The Chicago Tribune, The Grio, Huffington Post and all the New York dailies and Drudge. He’s heard of The Root. He reads The Daily Caller and it’s not even sucking up as I’m not completely sure he knows I work for the publication.
And then Bill Cosby comes up. And Roseanne.
Walker thinks Cosby, who allegedly drugged women and had sex with them against their will, got a raw deal.
“I think it’s the kind of thing it’s unfortunate it’s happening,” he said. “I’ve known Cosby a little bit. I thought a thing everybody knew. He never hid what he was doing. I think it’s a shame that it’s happening now. We’re probably never going to see him again. He’s one of the greatest comedians of our time.”
Wait, everyone knew Cosby was drugging women? “The drugging part shocked me,” Walker told me, restoring my faith that he watches the news thoughtfully.
“I think it’s a sad commentary,” he continued. “I wish it would just kind of be over. He’s going to go to jail and he shouldn’t be in jail. I think the women…whatever happened happened. Cosby could have had these women without drugs. He’s so talented it’s so sad he had to go jail. These women wanted to destroy his credibiity, his legacy. They’ve done that. Let’s go home. I think everyone knew he was a womanizer, that he had a lot of chicks.”
Walker says women and headaches are a thing. “Women always claim they have headaches,” he said. “That’s a woman’s MO.”
When I say I almost never have headaches and think it’s weird that women took random pills from Cosby, he said there was every reason to trust him: “He’s America’s dad.”
Walker is irate that “Roseanne” is off the air and Samantha Bee got squat for calling Ivanka Trump a “cunt.”
“I think Rosanne took a very bad hit,” he said. “Definitely what she said was wrong and ridiculous but I don’t think she should have been pulled from the air. Samantha Bee used the c-word. Where was the #MeToo movement on that? She got literally nothing. I think what Samantha Bee deserves as much scrutinizing as Rosanne. Roseanne should’ve stayed on, no more tweeting and people could make their choice with the numbers. Let the people make the decision.”
In the middle of our interview, I played a quick game with Walker. I say a name and he says the first thing that comes to his mind.
Bill O’Reilly: I was happy that he put me on. Anybody that puts me on, I’m happy.
Trump: He’s out there, he’s doing his thing. I think he’s very successful. As much as people put him down, you try to become a billionaire, see how you do.
Ivanka: This is chauvinistic, but she’s one of the prettiest women in the world. Absolutely devastatingly drop-dead gorgeous.
Melania: She was a model. She’s great looking. She cashed in. She married Donald Trump. Quite honestly, I don’t care about their marriage.
Hillary Clinton: Well, she technically very smart, I guess. She’s got a law degree, so she did something.
Trump potentially cheating on his wife, Melania, doesn’t faze Walker. He just doesn’t care.
“I think everybody needs to come off their high pedestal,” he said. “It’s not a problem for me. It’s a problem for Melania. Women make or break the relationship. They want it to happen it’ll happen. It’s up to women one way or another. ”
Walker continues painting a dark picture of the future.
“I think it’s shaky,” he says of the nation. “The reality is, and people don’t like to hear this, people just hate each other. A lot of it is racial or economic. We don’t like each other. It’s all going to get worse. You’re going to see people going to places where there is going to be one race..and just going and blasting it out. I think that’s just where we are right now.”
Asked about Trump in 2020, Walker says, “If he wins, great, that’s our system. I’m not against him. The Democrats need to get a candidate.”
Walker tries to act all zen about it.
“I got no problem,” he says. “I’m not a Trump hater. I’m not a Joe Biden hater. I’m not a Ted Cruz hater. I’m not walking around like that.”