Tracy Morgan and The Comedic Double Standard
By Charing Ball
Earlier this month, comedian Tracy Morgan put his proverbial foot in his mouth by making homophobic remarks during a stand up show in Nashville, Tennessee. Reportedly, Morgan went into a rant and made several anti-gay statements, including how he’d “stab his son to death if he said he was gay.” But this isn’t the first time the gay community has been on the receiving end of Morgan’s “jokes.” Last year, during a raunchy performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the 30 Rock star remarked that being gay is a “choice.” Well, I guess that’s one way to piss people off.
Though there is no video or audio from Morgan’s recent show, the media was tipped off about Morgan’s comments from an audience member who uploaded a blog post on Facebook entitled, “Why I No Longer Like Tracy Morgan.” In the post, the audience member wrote, “I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I’m well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor.” However, the audience member said things took a turn for the worse when out of nowhere, Morgan decided to verbally assault his audience members. “The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke,” wrote the audience member.
After hearing of Morgan’s remarks, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, immediately issued a statement condemning both Morgan and his employer, NBC Universal. NBC and “30 Rock” both replied with statements condemning what Morgan said. Eventually, Morgan got around to apologizing, saying that “while I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context.”
However, some folks are not satisfied with his apology, including the HRC. The organization refused to accept Morgan’s apology, saying that “Tracy Morgan exercised extremely poor judgment and he did the right thing by apologizing. But that’s just not enough.” In an effort to show his sincerity, Morgan said he plans to go back to the Nashville next week to apologize face-to-face to everyone he offended.
But Morgan does have some supporters, including CNN political pundit Roland Martin, who questioned why Morgan “has to issue a mea culp for saying nasty, vicious and vile things during a stand-up routine? Isn’t that par for the course of a comedian?”