Jessie Woo is under fire after an offensive Whitney Houston joke went too far. The backlash came after the singer and comedian took the stage on the TV show Wild ‘N Out, a sketch comedy and improv game show hosted by Nick Cannon. Some viewers are claiming they will never watch the show again after Jessie went for the jugular of one of the most famous music artists of the modern era.
The insensitive joke was made during a skit that asked the contestants to come up with clever outgoing voicemail messages. The catch: they had to impersonate a famous celebrity.
Jessie Woo transformed herself into the late Whitney Houston. The singer, who passed away in February 2012 after an accidental overdose, was beloved by fans. Even after her death, her songs garner a lot of attention, and many fans still idolize her. Unfortunately for Jessie Woo, that idol has a large and dedicated fanbase that doesn’t appreciate “low blows.”
During the show, Jessie jumped into the creative voicemail message impersonating Whitney’s incredible voice. Jessie tried her hand at the highly challenging “I Will Always Love You” and hit the notes spot-on. The impressive performance would have solidified the singer as a tough competitor to beat, but things took a turn.
Just as Jessie Woo made it to the crescendo, the comedian cut off the song, replacing the chorus with “I’m dead” before walking off the stage. The crowd, deciding whether to laugh or boo, stayed silent. The shocking Whitney Houston joke was not funny, and Jessie is paying the price.
“Wild ‘N Out is my favorite show,” one person wrote on Twitter. “I’ve followed it since 2006. But, I’ll no longer be watching if Jessie Woo is a part of the cast. That Whitney Houston joke was way outta line. She owes Whitney’s family & fans an apology. Go back to love & hip hop, with that.”
Another Twitter user echoed the sentiment, writing: “The fact that Jessie Woo thought that Whitney comment was funny” followed by two eye-roll emojis. The user continued, claiming the comedian had “horrible a—singing!!!”
The offensive joke has sparked debate over whether it was “too soon” for the comedian to point fun at Whitney. The singer’s tragic death rocked the nation and fans are still mourning the loss of the talented artist. Though many disagree with Jessie’s comedic method, the up-and-coming celebrity took a solid stance.
Jessie Woo defended her joke in a recent tweet. Attached to the post was a gif of a young Whitney Houston rolling her eyes. Above the gif Jessie pointed out that “Male Comedians and folks on Twitter make jokes about Whitney’s battle with drugs still till this day.”
The Wild ‘N Out contestant continued: “But me impersonating her during a voicemail game by singing her song & saying “I’m dead” (a great excuse why she cannot come to the phone)… but I went too far?”
Jessie claimed that “the show is called Wild ‘N Out for a reason… and still I was able to say some wild s—t without picking low hanging fruit like her history with drugs… unlike the many comedians who have for decades.” The comedian insisted that she “pushed the envelope” and that she’s “proud.”
While many Whitney fans insisted the Whitney Houston joke was not funny, some fans were quick to give Jessie a pass. One fan offered their take on “Jessie Woo’s Whitney Houston joke,” saying that “there has been worst things said about other deceased celebrities, I feel like this new generation is so soft and sensitive nowadays.” The Twitter user did point out that while it didn’t go too far, “the joke wasn’t really funny.”