Comedian Katt Williams asked for a rape scene to be cut from his acting debut in 2002’s Friday After Next.
“Rape is never funny,” Williams, 52, explained on a Wednesday, January 3, episode of the “Club Shay Shay” podcast hosted by former NFL player Shannon Sharp.
Playing pimp Money Mike in the film, which was written by Williams’ costar rapper Ice Cube, Williams said that the original version of the script had a harrowing scene involving his character. “Money Mike, in the original script, got raped in the bathroom,” he told Sharp. “The problem with Friday After Next is we’re trying to make a classic comedy, and this comedy involves a rape, and rape is never funny no matter who it happens to or what the circumstances are.”
At the time, Williams was relatively new in Hollywood and didn’t have a lot of power, but he fought to get rid of the scene by talking to the filmmakers. “Katt Williams had to take the risk in front of the studios and the cast and the powers that be, in his very first movie, and say, ‘Respectfully, humbly, guys,’” Williams continued. “If we’re talking about anything else, I have no credibility and I have no pull, but we’re talking about comedy, where I have all the credibility and all the pull.”
At the time, Williams’s knack for comedy wasn’t known but he was ready to defend his stance. He explained to Sharp what he told the filmmakers at the time,“If you would allow me, allow us to do this movie without a Black man getting raped in it, I promise you it will be twice as funny.”
Williams told this story about Friday After Next in response to remarks that comedian Rickey Smiley made on the podcast “Pierre’s Panic Room” in 2022 about the film. At the time, Smiley, 55, said that Williams was originally supposed to be Santa Claus, the robber, in the film until Ice Cube decided to swap his and Williams’s roles.
As Williams tells it, the role of Money Mike was always his. “[Smiley] told everybody it should have been my role, everybody on the scene.” Williams shared with Sharp, “So considering that’s the real story, why would you bring up that story? 35 members of the cast have never brought up that Rickey Smiley was going to play Money Mike.”
Williams has gone on to become a well-known comedian with eight stand up specials and many roles under his belt in television, including roles in Atlanta and Black-ish, and films like Norbit.