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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tracy Morgan: Homophobe(?)

It has always been said that Tracy Morgan has a heart of gold with a nickel head. It's not that he's an idiot...he just DOES and SAYS idiotic things. He is a sweet guy that can also be horribly offensive, particularly when it comes to his stand-up performances.

I had heard about Morgan's "homophobic rant" a few days ago, but I wasn't really following it. I just pretty much chalked it up to him being stupid on stage. But now, this story has really begun to gain some traction-- especially now that his boss Tina Fey has stepped up and made a statement about his comments. That's when I decided to pay a bit more attention.

The statement that has people the most up-in-arms is what he said about how he would react if he found out his son was gay; he said he would "stab that little nigger to death". He also said things about homosexuality being a choice because "God doesn't make mistakes". He then said he didn't care if gays were offended because "if they can take a dick, they can take a joke."

Many people are comparing this to Michael Richards "nigger" explosion at some hecklers during his stand up routine. These are similar situations, but to a point. Richards was specifically addressing black hecklers, but Morgan was not speaking to anyone specifically. Other than that...just as I don't believe that Richards is a racist, I don't believe Morgan is a homophobe.

Look, Michael Richards was getting his ass handed to him by a few audience members while he was bombing on stage. What he had intended to be an edgy retort turned out to be an incredibly miscalculated, and over-all shitty decision to start calling his black critics niggers. In other words, he fucked up. He went way too far, and it turned into a disastrous situation for his career (for a little while, anyway).

Tracy Morgan was not getting heckled. He was just saying the stupid shit that he always says...but this time, he went too far. Morgan has always been an edgy comedian-- he says crazy and ignorant things about women, white people, sex, drugs, all kinds of shit. This isn't the first time he's made comments about gays either. It's just that this time, he pissed off the wrong homosexual-- a photographer named Kevin Rogers. I have to admit that I have no idea who this guy is, but his Facebook rant about Tracy Morgan's rant has become viral, and got Morgan into a bit of trouble. This has now set loose a firestorm of controversy throughout Hollywood, with people both defending and condemning him.

Like Richards, Morgan has issued an apology, claiming that he is not a hateful person, and admitted that he made some shitty jokes about homosexuals. I believe him, fully and completely-- the same way I believe how sorry Michael Richards was about his "nigger" rant. Tracy Morgan has NEVER been a P.C. comic. Most mainstream comedians who have an edgy act that touches on themes like racism and sexual orientation do so as a reflection of the ignorance that we all have to contend with in our society. I can't think of any comedian that makes jokes like this, and actually live by those words. I don't believe for a second that, for example, Louis C.K. is a pedophile, even though he has made kid-f*cking jokes. I don't believe that Chris Rock hates white people, even though he has made many striking criticisms about white folks in his act.

Sometimes comedians go way too far. That's what happened here. Now, if this Kevin Rogers person was not in the audience, who's to say that anyone would know anything about Morgan's gay jokes, other than the people in the audience that night. There are even people asking for Morgan to be fired from 30 Rock. I believe that would be going way too far as well. Just like it is HARD to work in Hollywood without encountering black folks, it is also very hard to avoid working with homosexuals. I'm sure Morgan has quite a few gay folks in his life, and may very well have made jokes like this around them. However, some people just do not connect with humor like this. And that's okay-- you can't please everyone.

I don't know if I would have laughed at these jokes if  was in the audience that night. I may have even thought at the time that the jokes were a bit much. But I would have never thought he was a homophobe. I still watch Seinfeld, by the way-- and STILL think it's Michael Richard's best work; and he was fine on the last season's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

I think it's safe to say that we all need to lighten up a bit.

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