Tracy Morgan’s homophobia problem persists. Last Saturday he performed at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, and according to audience member Kevin Rogers, “the show was your typical hysterical dick, cum and pussy humor.” At least, until it wasn’t. “I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I’m well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor,” Rogers writes. “What I can’t take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that ‘Born this Way’ is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because ‘God don’t make no mistakes’ (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake).”
Of course, Blogland is hysterical over the news (In case you haven’t noticed, Blogland is always hysterical). LGBT blogs like Unicorn Booty and Truth Wins Out want action, mainly in the form of a statement from Morgan. And the People of Twitter have spoken too, forecasting a quick end to Morgan’s career. William Ball may be on to something here; and Videogum takes the idea a step further, purporting Morgan may have appropriated the “stab-my-son” joke from comedian Jo Koy.
All digital outrage aside, it’s Morgan’s bit that he would stab his son if he were gay that tipped the issue from politically incorrect humor to something altogether different: “He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it,” Rogers writes. “He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death.”
Reaction in this case boils down, in part, to how you view comedy. Is it an art that allows the performer leeway in using an inflated version of himself to elicit laughter? Or is the material a comedian uses too inextricably tied to his beliefs as a person to separate the two? Morgan’s stand-up act has long thrived on the type of material he performed at the Ryman Auditorium last week — sexually and racially charged jokes, crude adolescent humor, and rampant political incorrectness. All tinged with a sharp dose of shock.
It’s that latter aspect, shock, that Morgan seems to have been going for with his “stab-my-son” joke. Except with a joke like that, there’s nowhere to go. Morgan’s deadpan delivery can often make a bad joke good, or a good joke great. But when the material wades into such dark territory, insinuating not only homophobia, but also murder, there’s no escape. Bury the material and move on.
[Illustration by Ze Scala]