So, you may have already heard, but GLAAD and maybe some other pro-gay groups raised a fuss over a joke in the trailer for this new Vince Vaughn movie, The Dilemma, where Vince Vaughn calls electric cars “gay” or some nonsense. The trailer has been recut and the joke removed and public apologies made, although it is unclear whether or not the joke will stay in the final cut of the movie. And now, at long last, Vince Vaughn has broken his LEGENDARY silence to weigh in on the debate. From Deadline:

“Let me add my voice of support to the people outraged by the bullying and persecution of people for their differences, whatever those differences may be. Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together. Drawing dividing lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop.”

Haha. Sure. Thank goodness Vince Vaughn finally spoke up in defense of the VOICELESS GAY JOKES. Personally, I kind of agree insofar as I think worrying about gay jokes, especially “calling an electric car gay” gay jokes, is a pretty easy way to divert attention from the much more serious problems and causes related to homophobia. Like, in a world in which actual hate crimes are being perpetuated every day, perhaps kicking up dust about a movie trailer for a Ron Howard comedy that no one is going to see is missing the point. On that note, have you watched the trailer? Eesh. Maybe The Real Dilemma is whether or not they should edit that entire movie out of that movie because that thing looks terrible!

Comments (81)
  1. Just editing out the joke isn’t enough, I’m afraid. This movie needs to go completely gay for me to be satisfied. I shall not rest until this film includes at least one scene of hardcore Swingers-on-Paul-Blart action.

  2. You’re so money, gays, and you don’t even know it.

  3. Are you saying this Kevin James movie looks terrible? That’s sad. He usually has such good instincts about picking strong material.

  4. A much better joke would have been “The electric car is a lot like my movies.”

  5. I love that bing pulled up fox news, no commentary added. Bing, you’re pretty alright sometimes.

  6. Fake and Electric Car.

  7. I wonder if it was Winona Ryder doing “research” for this movie and she STOLE Vince Vaughn’s gay jokes from the trailer.

  8. Vince Vaughn always has that “I just rolled out of bed and came straight to this premiere. Does anyone know where my assistant is? I need a bacon egg and cheese because this hangover is going to make me pass out.” look going on.

  9. Where does it stop?
    They came first for the gay electric car, and I didn’t speak up because I didn’t care about that joke.
    Then they came for the misogynist stereotypes, and I didn’t speak up because I thought, well, those stereotypes are bad.
    Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

  10. Since when did “such-and-such is gay” become comedy? Did they write this script with a committee of male teenage YouTube commenters?

    • The joke is Vince Vaughn is an idiot who goes to a business meeting and declares “Electric cars are gay. Not homosexual gay, but…” and equivocate his poor choice of words. So Mr. Vaughn’s comedy doesn’t derive from the use of “gay” per-se, so much as his character being the juvenile persona who would still call something “gay” as a grown adult.

      I took Vince Vaughnology 101 in college.


  12. I’m fine with making gay jokes, I just don’t think we should be teaching our kids that they’re just as viable an option as straight jokes.

  13. What a faggot

  14. Unfortunately this is why classics such as “Blazing Saddles” could never be made today. Dozens of groups would be crying out at the liberal use of words they find offensive, neutering the movie. Granted, Vince Vaughn is rarely funny, but backing down because GLAAD got angry over a joke in a movie? Lame.

    • The difference is that:

      (a) Blazing Saddles was funny
      (b) The stuff that would be considered offensive wasn’t a throw away line, but actually purposeful

      But otherwise, definitely the same thing

      • Agreed. Another difference:

        (c) Lots of movies with offensive words and concepts are still made and released. This is not less true just because the brilliant minds behind The Dilemma backed down about what to include in their TRAILER.

      • Do you really think these groups would see them as different – throwaway lines vs. integral parts of movies? Unfortunately, I don’t believe it would be the case. Yes, Blazing Saddles is a classic and Vaughn’s latest will be a forgotten piece of detritus but the language police are out in force regardless of whether a movie is a classic or crap.

        • Integral parts of the movie actually dealing with race is the key. Blazing Saddles was hugely irreverent, but it was dealing with race, not treating it as a joke.

        • yes, I ABSOLUTELY KNOW that GLADD would see these two situations as different. It is not a lame knee jerk reaction at all that people are offended by this.

          I wasn’t around yet, so I don’t know how controversial it was in its day. I think Blazing Saddles is remembered well even now because it wasn’t a racist movie. in fact, it was the opposite.

          I have no idea whether, if someone made a movie nowadays with an anti-racism message, they could pull something off like that. The whole ‘tropic thunder’ critical acclaim for the movie, debate, and oscar nomination for robert downey jr. a couple years ago makes me think that yes, make a joke the right way and you can still do pretty racy things.

          (and yes, that movie DID get itself in trouble for being a fucking asshole about happy jack. but a lot of that movie went by the people you think are too easily offended fine)

          as for Vince Vaughn – I think bumblebutt’s explanation of the joke above was perfect. The dude is flawed, this is his flaw, it’s funny to see someone act that stupid…

          But in short the context of a preview (the first joke in the BEGINNING of the preview) they have the likable protagonist of the movie (whether he’s flawed or not, you don’t know anything about him yet) saying homophobic things. Nope. NOT AT ALL the same thing as making a movie where the likable protagonist is black and he’s up against a lot of racist bad guys. the opposite.

          Don’t tell ANYONE they shouldn’t be offended by that. And don’t call it lame that they are now being smart enough to take it out of the preview and the movie.

          Fuck you, in fact, for needing anyone to tell you that.

    • How are they similar at all? Just because you use an offensive word in two separate jokes doesn’t make them the same at all.

  15. Footage from Dilemma’s pre-screening:

  16. Sometimes “environmentalism = gay” jokes are actually really funny because it’s like HAHA HETEROSEXUAL MEN DON’T LOVE THE EARTH? LOLOLOLOLOL. Except maybe I’m interpreting that like a liberal girl…

    Also, in The Other Guys, the Prius jokes were really funny. (I didn’t know tampons came on wheels! Where is your complimentary vagina that came with the car? etc etc)

  17. “Drawing dividing lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop.”

    I’m going to take the last part as a question, despite the punctuation. I think it’s pretty clear the answer is that it stops where and when jokes stop contributing to oppression, violence, and a culture of hate.

  18. Vince Vaughn needs him some gay sex…

  19. WHY DON’ they just USE THE word Tobias? REMOVE all the HATE! “Electric cars are… Tobias.”


  20. “I didn’t mean to say that the electric car was homosexual. I just meant that it was lame. So this isn’t an attack against homosexuals. It’s just saying that things that are gay are lame. You see the difference?” -Vince Vaughn

  21. Speaking of questionable jokes in movie previews, has anyone noticed that joke in the new awful-looking Katherine Heigel movie where they’re changing the baby’s diaper and Fergie’s husband yells, “It’s like Slumdog Millionaire in there!”? What a stupid, poorly written joke. It doesn’t bode well for the movie if that’s one of the comedic gems they decided to pull for the preview.

    (While it could also easily be interpreted by someone who hasn’t seen the movie as Poopy Diaper = India, I’m assuming he’s referring to the scene where the kid jumps into the pile of poop, but considering that was just 2 minutes of a movie with so many other memorably horrifying scenes, and isn’t even what I first think of when I think of that movie, it just ends up making me mad that it’s so unfunny.)

    Whew, I’m glad I finally got that off my chest.

    • Agreed! That line makes me cringe everytime the preview comes on. Ok, the whole preview makes me cringe, but that part especially.

      • “Its ok, we didnt mean poop = india, we meant poop = brown = indian people. Sorry for the confusion.” – People who made this awful movie

  22. So Vince was saying that electric cars are like Harleys?

  23. After this and Sarah Palin’s Great Outdoors Wild America and Bill O’Reilly being filmed yelling at those old ladies, Spike TV exploiting coal mining (so unoriginal) for profit, and Marty McFly getting Parkinson’s, I’m really starting to think that the Lex Luther’s and Brain’s (of Animaniacs, DUH), and other “destroy the world types” were actually the good guys, everyone a favor.

  24. to be frank


    anderson cooper could do a lot more for gay rights by finally coming out than by pointing out the lack of sensitivity in an awful looking ron howard movie.

    • BUT IF the Coop comes OUT then THE conversation becomes ABOUT HIM and his lifestyle which, I BELIEVE, is not what HE WANTS hence the STAYING in. I mean, THAT’S WHAT he thinks, not ME.

    • Actually, working towards making “coming out” something of the past is the best people can do. It is ridiculous for non-straight people to have to announce their sexuality, no one else does.

    • i’m not saying he needs to have a press conference or do some weird 60 Minutes interview with himself….and you are both absolutely correct. but why not participate in one of those great “It Gets Better” videos, or do something of that nature? It would draw a lot of attention, but mainly to the issue and the cause. he doesn’t owe us any comment or explaination. i just think the more visable and successful gay men and women are in culture, younger LGBT and “confused” kids won’t have to feel “less than” “different” or an “other” and people in those positions should be proud of who they are.

    • If Anderson Cooper wants to maintain an identity outside of his sexuality, I’ll support him in that. Maybe being a journalist is more important than telling the world about some boring part of his personal life.

      Also, Anderson Cooper is gay? News to me.

      • again, i agree. he has every right to do so. but when trying to take action against institutionalized homophobia and standing up for something he believes in, he could be 1 million times more effective if he said, “I’ve been through this, i know how it feels, and i’ve overcome it.”

        maybe i’m being presumptuous, but it is one of those “poorly kept secrets” that he is gay. and how he’s addressed it in the past [saying his journalistic integrity and objectivity are too important, just as you said] suggest that he probably is.

        all i’m saying is this iissue is obviously something he strongly believes in and he could be an incredibly effective and strong leader by personalizing it and proving that one’s sexuality is no glass ceiling or limitation – primarily b/c he’s maintained an incredible amount of respect and integrity by being good at what he does.

        • But you’re asking him to be someone he isn’t, because of his sexuality, and that is just a mess. He pretty consistently isn’t as passionate, isn’t as aggressive on issues, with people saying idiotic things, as I’d like him to be, because well, that doesn’t seem to be who he is.

        • Fair enough, and yeah, I totally agree with you. (I bet) it’s an awkward position to be in, having to maintain journalistic integrity while still using your credibility to speak to people about the issues you care deeply about.

          • hopefully some day soon people will no longer be put in that position…but to do that it will take someone of AC’s integrity and calliber to break down that wall and prove that one part of him [personal, private life] has no bearing on how good he is at his job and does not compromise his professional life any more so than being straight does.


  25. speaking of vince vaughn, I was just thinking the other day, The Break Up starring him and Jennifer Aniston would be a great addition to THFTWMOAT next round. just a miserable movie.

  26. Whether the joke is defensible or not is one thing — I’m not mortally offended by it or anything, but I do think it’s a lazy, hack joke that, yeah, is homophobic, or at least panders to the homophobic tendencies in the audience. (I get that his character’s maybe supposed to be a boor, but I feel like it’s a Jeff Dunham situation — for a decent chunk of the audience, the laugh comes not from, “Oh my God, that character’s such an ass!” but “He’s saying what I’m thinking!”)

    But what really offends me is Vince Vaughn’s lazy defense of it, basically saying, “Hey, no one can ever say a joke is offensive, because if you say you’re offended, that’ll prevent us from being united.” Which, fuck that. Try imagining Jeff Dunham giving that defense for his material, or Ann Coulter, or the producers of “Outsourced”, or that Australian blackface dance troupe who performed for Harry Connick, Jr. “Sorry, you can’t get offended at anything, because otherwise, we’ll never all be able to get along.” It’s a lame, condescending and disingenuous attempt to avoid actually having to engage with someone else’s criticism of your actions, while at the same time trying to seize the upper ground in the conversation. “You were offended by my blackface routine? I’m sorry. I was just trying to break down the lines that divide us, but I guess not everyone’s as open-minded as I am.”

    Or, shorter version: If Vince Vaughn wants to defend that joke on its merits, he’s welcome to try. But he can’t just unilaterally declare that nobody’s allowed to be offended by it.

    • I think Prof. Vaughns thesis is this: sometimes a joke that pokes fun at our differences can help ease tensions and facilitate understanding between different social groups. A joke/comedian/movie shouldn’t be condemned because it uses the word “gay”, for example, as it places more stigma on the word rather than the attitudes it perpetuates. And I think he’s right, for the most part, at least when it’s done correctly and carefully.

      In this specific case, however, the joke was just careless and tasteless. I agree with Gabe, inasmuch as I don’t find the joke offensively homophobic so much as offensively unfunny.

      • Yes, absolutely, sometimes a joke that pokes fun at our differences can help ease tensions and facilitate understanding between different social groups. And sometimes, not. And different people have different responses to jokes, and we’re never all going to agree on them. That’s why it’s worth having a conversation about how jokes are intended, and how they’re interpreted. But Prof. Vaughn, Ph.D. (honorary) doesn’t bother to defend the specific joke that he told — he just offers a blanket defense of all jokes, in which he seems to suggest that no one should ever speak up when they find a joke offensive, and caps it off with a bullshit slippery-slope argument that wouldn’t pass muster in a freshman dorm discussion.

        I’m sorry, but I expect better critical reasoning from the co-writer and star of “Couples Retreat”.

  27. Does everyone else love when your Videogum avatar becomes relevant?

  28. There is no debate here. Using “gay” as a disparaging adjective and “faggot” in any context is wrong, and perpetuates hurtful stereotyping and scapegoating. Stop dancing around and making excuses and pledging allegiance to free creativity. What this boils down to is that straight people LIKE using those words as insults, and don’t want to stop. So you can fuck off, Vince Vaughn, your condescending, unfunny prick. And Gabe, you’re usually cool about homophobia, but fuck you too for siding with these neanderthals. “Poking fun at our differences.” Jesus motherfucking Christ. It’s a miracle gay people don’t walk up to random straight people on the street and punch them in the face.

  29. I just realized I’m putting an awful lot of critical thought into the social implications of a throwaway joke in a (probably) terrible movie whose name I don’t even remember, when I could have just said “FUCK THIS MOVIE” to myself and moved on.

  30. (Realizing that the most concise response to both “The Dilemma” trailer and Vaughn’s response has already been offered up by Louis CK.

    Granted, the “Dilemma” trailer was far less inflammatory. But the sentiment’s the same.)

  31. I am happy this came up because I was thinking about his very issue today at lunch before a hearing (hence my lateness to the party). Anyway, a brief comment:

    I think we would all agree that comedy needs to be free to be as funny as it wants and also that racism is bad. So basically we all agree.

    I think we can also all agree that there is a difference between making off-color/offensive jokes for the purpose of skewering bigots (Borat, Dave Chappelle, Richard Pryor) and making off-color/offensive jokes that pander to people’s bigotry (Jeff Dunham). I would submit that the space between those two is not that far. That the line between making a funny offensive joke–to parody or address our bigotry, or to push a boundary–and making an offensive offensive joke–one which enforces social norms and basically says, “Stay down. Your life style is funny to me. We laugh at you.”

    SO MY POINT IS: I hate the response of “Oh, it is just humor, it is gentle teasing, don’t get too upset about it, relax, etc.” because it seems to me we are saying “Hey minority group. I know you deal with lots of real prejudice and bigotry in life, but would you also mind parsing the various meta-layers of my comedy and realize I don’t mean it. Thanks!” I mean, why does someone who is the subject of an offensive joke have to be cool and allow themselves to be the butt of these jokes for the sake of comedy.

    Again, let me reiterate, I do believe that comedy and all art must be free to be what it needs to be without regard for what others think. But there are a few glosses on this:

    1. I think comedy and art are only great and worthwhile when they serve a higher moral purpose. That does not mean that I don’t think that “offensive” or dirty comedy is great. It is when it is aimed at destroying the social structures that serve to oppress, but not when it is part of that structure. Basically, why do blacks, gays, women, Latinos, etc., have to accept being the butt of jokes for the sake of comedy, but white men who are straight don’t. I am sure we can agree, “White men get made fun of” but you know just isn’t the same thing.

    2. So I would say when making an “offensive” joke, or laughing at one, the question for me is what is the higher purpose of this joke. A joke like “electric cars are gay” is great if it serves to show that speaker to be an idiot asshole, but not as a throw away line by some lovable loser that we are supposed to identify with.

    3. Our willingness as a culture to fuck around on that line between bad offensive and good offensive is getting greater. As it gets greater, I think we lose our sense of what is shocking and offensive. Maybe this is good. Lenny Bruce said that if everyone would just use the n-word (sorry), it would lose it’s power to hurt others. Maybe. But also, I think it makes the majority, with the power, more comfortable with saying things casually that may be honestly and earnestly hurtful under the guise of “I’m just goofing around.”

    I certainly don’t have the answer, but I think when we are dealing with this topic, it is something that should be thought about kind of hard.

    I have to go to a meeting, or I would say more.

  32. They should re-write the joke, “Electric cars are white.”

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