Louis C.K. has FINALLY broken his legendary silence on the Tracy Morgan issue, taking to Twitter to defend Tracy Morgan’s comments:

Sure! I mean, no? But sure. Like, you can totally NOT be offended by the things that Tracy Morgan said and that makes sense. Not everyone is offended by everything. But your own non-offense doesn’t negate or invalidate other people’s offense? (I know that he kind of says as much, but then he goes on to kind of take it back. He later tweets that anyone with reason knew that Tracy didn’t mean a single thing he said, which is both condescending and unrealistic.) Also: no one, not one person, is saying that everything needs to be right and balanced and fair. That’s the old anti-political correctness trope, which is and has always been nonsense. There is no such thing! People say horrible shit that is hilarious all the time, it is really not a problem. Louis C.K. is one of those people! But that doesn’t mean it is pro forma hilarious every time someone says horrible shit, even when those people have been hilarious for saying horrible shit in the past. We must always walk that line sometimes slipping over it and then refinding it again, and there is nothing particularly dangerous or harmful to a free and open society in being asked to occasionally re-examine where that line is to be found. Oh, but here is one final thing:

The most grating thing, I think, in Louis’s line of defense here is the “he was on a comedy stage not a pulpit.” Sure. I don’t think anyone thought or has suggested that people were walking out of Tracy Morgan’s Nashville show thinking “we need to elect Tracy Morgan and have him murder gay people.” But I also think it is time for people to start admitting that what they say matters. This is the classic Jon Stewart dilemma. Once a year, he goes on The O’Reilly Factor or Crossfire or whatever and he lets everyone have it, which is great, but while he lets everyone have it, he himself hides behind the “I’m just a comedian and my show should not be taken seriously” shield. That is a dumb shield and it is full of holes! Because no one cares more about what Jon Stewart has to say than Jon Stewart himself. That’s not a criticism in any way. I am just saying, let’s all own up to both our opinions as well as our hard-earned place in the conversation. Yes, Jon Stewart is a comedian, yes, The Daily Show is a comedy show, yes that means that it needs to be judged by very different criteria than anything on CNN or FOX News or any other ostensibly fact-based outlet. But that doesn’t mean that Jon Stewart isn’t working very hard to make sure people listen to what he has to say and take some of it to heart. One of the main reasons he and his show are successful is because he clearly has strong and thoughtful convictions about so many of the issues of which he makes light. Good! That’s a good thing! But so don’t pretend like it doesn’t matter or is trivial or unimportant or that it is somehow beside the point as soon as someone who disagrees with you dares to argue back. Louis C.K. of all people has built his comedy career on exploring the painful realities of marriage, fatherhood, racism, death, etc. He makes fun of very dark things a lot of the time, and when you watch his stand up you can tell that he cares very deeply about his thoughts and feelings on these issues. Again, this is a good thing, and it’s what makes him such a compelling and great comedian. And I think that if someone were to say “hey, I don’t think what you said was funny and I was offended,” he could, not that he would, but he could give them a very detailed and explicit argument about why they were wrong. In reality, he would probably just say “fuck you, I don’t care, you’re right, go to bed” but he could back it up if he felt like it because he knows what he’s doing and he believes in it. Isn’t that why people pick up the microphone in the first place? To be heard? More importantly: to be heard LOUDER than people without the microphone?

In closing: fart noise.

Comments (175)
  1. Agree 100%. The simple fact is that there is a line, even for comedians. For example, it would be bad for a comedian to make fun of Jews getting massacred in the Holocaust. Clearly that would be wrong. So there is a line. Like many of the things in this thing we call life, sometimes that line is grey and hard to discern (thesaurus.com), and that’s fine. But you know you have crossed it when numerous people get offended and speak out.

    • Well, actually, I disagree with you. It is not wrong to make fun of Jews getting massacred in the Holocaust. Nothing is wrong to make fun of. It is how you do the making fun that becomes questionable. It’s less the subject matter than the treatment of the subject matter. There are funny jokes about rape and 9/11 and there are miserably unfunny jokes about rape and 9/11. That’s where the line is, between those jokes. Now, obviously, comedy is subjective, and any subject that is even remotely offensive to someone will definitely end up offending someone, but again, there are degrees of scale, and there are also degrees of conviction. If you make a horrible rape joke and I say “that wasn’t funny” and you say “well, I believe in my heart that rape is OK” then I kind of have to give you the point? I mean, what you said was terrible and I also hate your belief system, but at least you are taking full ownership of it, so there’s no real argument there. Things get sticky when someone is just spouting off vile garbage that has no moral basis whatsoever, does nothing to illuminate anything, and pulls its laughter from a collective fear/hatred.

      • But here we are judging Morgan’s routine based on one guy’s facebook review. Maybe there was more to his delivery than what the facebook dude conveyed.

        • Not entirely interested in hearing material about stabbing a son to death for being gay. I highly, highly doubt that’s the X factor here.

        • OK, but I don’t think Louis C.K. was at the Nashville show either (snopes.com), so his insight into the delivery is no better than ours. We are all arguing about detached philosophical principals at this point.

          • Exactly. That’s why I feel debating this topic is pointless.

          • It’s also kind of expected that Louis would take this route, regardless of whether he saw the delivery or even what his *personal* opinion is. Chris Rock did immediately as well, before he knew all of that Tracy said and recanted. Comedians tend to defend each other and “the form” and their right to be offensive to the death, for reasons that, I suppose, are understandable. In MY personal opinion, when I hear Jeff Ross or Jerry Seinfeld or Louis C. K. or Chris Rock make these kinds of excuses for a horrible act, which they have plenty of times before (See: Michael Richards), it just seems so utterly pompous, so cliquey.

            It always comes out in some vague “you just don’t understand comedy,” or “their only crime was not being funny,” and it is ever so lame. Gabe is right on the money here — it’s not an offensive joke that makes national headlines. It’s when an aspect of the person’s personality accidentally escapes on stage, and that personality ends up being kind of ugly. This is what happened to Michael Richards and it seeeeems to be what happened to Tracy Morgan. They have a license to offend, yes, but come on–being a comedian does not mean that nothing you say should be taken seriously or criticized. For a group of people who are so quick to state that the comedy stage is not a pulpit, some comedians sure do treat it as though it were sacred.

        • I remember at least one of those “jokes” were in his HBO special last year.

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            ————-For a group of people who are so quick to state that the comedy stage is not a pulpit, some comedians sure do treat it as though it were sacred.

      • I agree, comedy is all about execution. No subject is off limits but if you can only write material that treads the base, purely shock surface then there’s no point. I feel Morgan was clearly just going for shock and in the process revealed a really nasty mentality in his own audience. Remember that many people cheered and encouraged that material, which is easily the most disturbing element of this story.

      • Yes to all of this. Gabe, if you weren’t 110 years old OR if you were 110 years old and I was Anna Nicole Smith, I would find a way to seduce you to marry me for all your wealth of opinions.

      • Yeah, I don’t know. The treatment of the subject matter is definitely important. For me, I just don’t see how a joke about the Holocaust or rape could be fine, nor do I think I have ever heard a comedian do a funny pice on either of these topics, but I could be wrong about this. Maybe this does inevitably lead into some weird philosophical discussion because, on the other hand, there are some topics I consider okay and indeed laugh when comedians joke about them, like racism, etc. Not sure why I differ on these topics, but I do.

        • Louis CK’s bit on his show about child molesters (and how we should make it a “less bad” crime so people will stop killing the kids afterward) is a perfect example.

          • Yeah, good point.

            And I can think of a funny bit I saw a comedian, I’m not going to say who, do where AIDS was in the punch-line, and it was funny, and I did laugh. I guess the context, delivery, treatment, etc. is indeed really what matters.

            That being said, you never ever ever ever (ever) hear white comedians using the “N” word, but maybe that’s different.

          • Not to nitpick, but I think he said something like, “If f*&$ing kids weren’t such a bad crime, maybe fewer child molesters would kill kids.” Then he was quick to add — and this is really the killer line in that bit — ”I’m not really sure what to do with that information….”

            I think one of the things that makes Louis CK get away with the risky stuff is that he is self-deprecating, intelligent, and neurotic at the same time. There’s a real sense of “I’m trying to figure this out, and I’m not sure I’m doing a good job of it.” (As opposed to, “I’m a lovable idiot! Except now I’m not so lovable because I’m threatening violence to people who are different! If you’re looking for another level, there isn’t one!”)

          • This is actually a reply to Stevenstevo’s comment about never hearing white people use the “n-word”…. yes they do. I’ve heard Louis C.K., David Cross, and I think even Patton Oswalt use the “n-word” in very clever non-offensive ways, that was more a commentary about social dynamics etc.

            I suppose the reason I found Tracey Morgan’s comment offensive, is because it wasn’t funny? Not like, “That’s not funny, it’s serious!” like, it’s just not that clever or funny, or inciteful, so it’s only really left with being incredibly offensive.

            Sort of like that NBC show, “Outsourced,” it failed in being funny so it’s only racist. If it used racial stereotypes to maybe point to something more clever or interesting and ended up being humorous it’s almost like the racism worked???

            Then again me pointing to places where “racism workd” feels a bit wrong too so I don’t know.

          • Oh… and stevenstevo… Louis CK explored the N word hilariously in one of his routines, even arguing that saying “the N word” is worse than saying “n***er.” His argument wasn’t 100% convincing, but hearing him call a deer that ran in front of his car a “n***er f***ot” may have been the highlight of my year.

          • Upvote apologies to jefusan–my broke-ass mouse and repetitive-stress-damaged hand hit the thumbs down instead of up on your comment about “I’m not really sure what to do with that information…” Virtual upvotes!

      • I think your argument about Jon Stewart hiding behind his status as a Comedian also illuminates exactly why this whole Tracy Morgan thing has been blown way out of proportion. Comedy, as a medium, has one goal in sight–to make the audience laugh. Therefore, even when a comedian is making a point or is delivering material that comes from an honest place, the ultimate goal is not to persuade but to laugh. News organizations such as FOX News have one clear and obvious agenda–on the surface level to inform, on the most basic level to manipulate. Any comedian who strives for persuasion over entertainment would be quickly laughed off the stage.

        Any comedian that has any experience as a working comic I guarantee (besides those who have images to maintain) sees this issue as silly and–on a more fundamental degree–disheartening. There are so many factors that go into the words people spout onstage that to trap a comedian within the constructs of “taste” or “social responsibility” would be constricting to their art and stagnate their material. Bits take a long, long time to develop–and if you’re a performer who goes blue or shocking like Tracy, you say a lot of things that come off as rudimentary, basic, ill-informed, and just plain stupid daily. Why? Because material takes endless rewrites onstage before logic and sensibility kick in to back up your shocking statements. I am absolutely certain that Louis came to Tracy’s defense because his “faggot” opener and his “baby-raping” closer offended a whole lot of people before they became incredibly funny.

        Comedy, as a medium, will never change. People will still say shocking and offensive things onstage every day. It’s just unfortunate to me that a performer who reached his level of success due to being unpredictable and offensive is getting nationally chastised for fitting in exactly with his comedic persona. You wonder why so many comedians become dull their edge after they become famous? It’s exactly because of entertainment journalism like this–that hold word up to a microscope and force personas to become bland and unfunny. As soon as a comic has to worry about offending anyone, he starts pleasing no one.

        • See, here’s why that doesn’t matter, and why making jokes about horrible things like rape and anti-gay violence isn’t okay. For example, even though a comedian’s #1 priority in telling a rape joke is to get people to laugh, that is not the only thing he’s doing. His words are also expressing the idea that rape is not that serious and reinforcing that notion. And that’s a terrible notion! And it does real damage to real people, and it contributes to our collective desensitization to rape and violence, and that’s not okay, and it doesn’t get a free pass from taking responsibility just because it’s comedy.

          Tracy Morgan may say a lot of ridiculous, sometimes offensive things. That’s okay. Offense is okay. People are entitled to their ridiculous opinions. But when those opinions harm other people (i.e. queer people) and if you get on stage and start spouting hateful things about murdering gay people you are contributing to the idea in this society that being gay is wrong and disgusting, and you are giving weight to the sadly not-too-uncommon idea that gay people are worse than straight people and therefore it’s okay to discriminate against them, attack them, and kill them.

          There’s a difference between offensive things and oppressive things. Saying something outrageous that may hurt someone’s feelings is offensive, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some people deserve it (I’m looking at you, Sarah Palin.) However, saying something that contributes to violence and bigotry against a group of people is oppressive, and that just isn’t okay in any way.

          Words have a lot of weight and meaning, and you can’t ignore that for the sake of comedy.

          • A minor point about your first paragraph refute, Napoleon Complex, but not your argument as a whole. Namely, “making jokes about horrible things like rape and anti-gay violence isn’t ok… …His words are also expressing the idea that rape is not that serious and reinforcing that notion.” There is no recognition of the ‘line’ Gabe mentions in his reply comment at the top.

            I have never heard a funny joke about someone recounting a story about how funny it was when he/she raped someone. Rape is not funny. I think the particular brand of humor that comes out of rape is of the ‘gallows’ variety.

            When we were making rape-rape jokes her on Videogum during the Polanski bit, were we laughing because Whoopi’s clarification was poorly worded, or because the idea of a grown man having sex with a 13 year old was funny? Arguably, the humor came out of Whoopi’s one-two punch of insinuating that 1) the rape in this case was NOT THAT SERIOUS (as you mentioned), being statutory rape (the girl wanted to do it, she just legally couldn’t give consent, so her mom did, also drugs!), and 2) clarifying that the more serious rape in her mind being violent rape, is referred to as ‘RAPE-rape’, where the first ‘rape’ is talking about RAPE ya’ll, and the second one connotes we are addressing all rape, but RAPE in particular.

            It’s fucking ridiculous. Rape is not ok. Everytime someone referenced Whoopi’s comment here on videogum, were we expressing the idea that rape is not that serious? I definitely don’t think so, although at times I was desensitized to the joke, and after a while it didn’t become a fun callback anymore, but still sometimes pops its head back up and is still funny given the proper CONTEXT.

            I have laughed at people talking about rape plenty of times, either because they are stupid and therefore absolutely hilarious in a sad way, or because they are really smart, are bringing up the sickest shit and reminding you that the shit is one of the worst things you can do, while still keeping the humor surprisingly light. It’s a balancing act, as I’m sure people have mentioned before on this page, but it does exist and will continue to exist and be ok that it does exist.

            Anyway, NC, I think in reality what you wanted to really say was in your second two paragraphs, but you needed an intro and so you went with your first paragraph, which did not sit right with me. I think your “offensive/oppressive” conclusion is basically what i just said in a very long way.

          • No, actually, I meant my first paragraph as well. I think what you’re talking about it not what I’m referring to. Making fun of Whoopi’s rape-rape thing is making fun of people’s ridiculous, weird attitudes about rape (like how it’s not really rape if it’s just an adult and an underage child barffffffffffff) whereas rape jokes and joking remarks remarks (“Dude, I totally raped that test!” “Watch out, man, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of SURPRISE SEX!”) make fun of the act itself and make it into something light and commonplace, when really it’s horrific and very serious. So there’s a distinction between the two. One is constructive by pointing out wrong and harmful ideas, the other is just repugnant and not okay.

          • Totally, NC, and those are very good examples of using rape in supposed funny context when in actuality they are very insensitive and frankly, “trying too hard while not having an actual good sense of what is and isn’t funny”. Thank you for going into more specific detail.

            There is a David Cross bit from his album ‘Shut Up, You Fucking Baby” where he is making fun of how ridiculous John Ashcroft was in draping the Lady Justice statue in a cloth because of her exposed breast. He then lampoons how it’s all because of an exposed “dirty, filthy titty,” then goes on about how he can’t go to museums because he looks at all the paintings and starts just furiously masturbating, wanting to “rape that fucking painting.”

            Cross isn’t making fun of rape or using it lightly, and he’s not using the term in place of another term for shock value (raping a sandwich as opposed to just eating it), he’s literally talking about raping a painting because, according to Ashcroft, all nude depictions of people is pornography, and run the risk of being sexualized and exploited.

            To people who understand the bit as a extrapolative commentary on the ridiculousness of Ashcroft’s own neuroses/issues with sexuality and the Lady Justice statue, it is very effective, poignant and funny. To someone who does not understand the context it is unforgivingly offensive. To someone who does not understand the context and is in favor of rape (a garbage person), it is funny to them because they like rape (good lord that’s a gross person to think about).

            There is also the dichotomy of the fact that the issue of consent is part of rape’s definition, and an inanimate object such as a painting (or a sandwich for that matter), cannot give consent. So humor can be found in the absurdity of such a situation. Is rape still terrible? Absolutely. To say you ‘raped a test’ is an absurd statement, so humor can be found in it. But it’s also quite a disturbing statement in it’s absurdity, to the point where if someone recounted the experience to me and said “Yeah so this guy bragged that he raped his math test,” I’d be like, “Why’d he feel the need to replace ‘aced’ with ‘raped’? That was pretty unnecessary.” Whereas saying you are going to rape a painting in the context David Cross presented is absurd AND hilarious, and not disturbing at all, as the joke is using rape in the proper context, and it’s not a replacement word for anything else.

            So as with everything, and what we are both saying here, is context is definitely key. And for the record please note I am not presenting a defense for Tracy Morgan’s jokes, I’m addressing the finer dynamics of comedy and the proper use of shocking words and subject matter and all that.

          • Well, again, I think that joke is a different category because it’s not making fun/light of rape (which is what I mean by “rape joke.”) I think part of its absurdity is a)the idea of having sex with a painting, let alone forcing a painting to have sex, because lolwut b) the absurdity of getting all huffy and outraged about nudity in art when things like rape happen every day and c) the absurdity of thinking that a nude breast is enough to drive someone into a rapacious, sexual frenzy (which believe it or not is an extemely common idea today, i.e. “If you don’t want to get raped, don’t dress like a slut.” because men just can’t help themselves! They have to rape!)

            So I think that joke is basically okay because it has deeper meaning and is commenting on people’s attitudes towards sex, nudity, sexual violence, and sexuality. It’s not saying “rape is funny” or “rape is no big deal” or “it’s okay to rape someone if X Y and Z.” That’s what’s problematic about rape jokes and why they aren’t okay.

      • I also believe there is no such thing as off-limits when it comes to comedy. Uncomfortable or offensive material is sometimes better, perhaps, because it forces the audience to confront the monsters society has created or made taboo. An offensive joke should be a bit deeper than a simple stereotype, threat of violence, or lazy bystander observation. And it has to ultimately be funny, or what’s the point?

        That said, the crux is in the delivery and execution of the joke, and most of all, the intent of the comedian. Truly great comedians put themselves in their jokes. So if the delivery and intent convey that the teller really, truly believes in the hatred or apathy they are espousing, then it is no longer a joke but hate speech in disguise. No amount of ‘I was on stage doing comedy’ or ‘that is just his wacky, say-anything persona’ can cover that up.

        The convictions that the comedian is conveying are what ultimately shape any of the words coming out of their mouth. And the best offensive comedy is told by someone whose intent is for it to ultimately be revealing and humanizing, not lazy and hateful.

  2. “I can see the comedy stage from my pulpit.” – Sarah Palin?

    Ok. Good night, everyone!

  3. He was defending Tracey Morgan though, he thinks Tracy Morgan is a homophobic asshole

  4. There is almost nothing I hate more* than the “it was a joke! lighten up!” response. Like, since when is a joke mitigated from any consequences? My thinking something is in poor taste is as much my right as it is your (the hypothetical you, not you-you) right to make stupid hateful jokes. And if someone calls you out on it, it is SO NOT INFRINGING YOUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OH MY GOD LOOK THAT UP BEFORE YOU SAY IT FOR REAL BECAUSE I HATE THAT MORE THAN CLOWNS. That is a consequence of living in a society that allows free speech! No one is saying that Tracy Morgan should be imprisoned for his words. But saying that no one is allowed to react negatively is total bullshit.

    Also, saying racist/sexist/homophobic shit is so not edgy. It is so boring and unimaginative. It is what people have been saying forever. Hardly breaking new ground, friend.

    *there totally are things I hate more, but I really really do hate this so much. Not as much as clowns, but believe me it is so close!

    tl:dr – I am captain seriouspants and am full of chips on my shoulders. I actually had shoulder implants so I could hold more chips.

    • Also related people have to stop saying they’re using the f-word and the n-word and aren’t using them in a homophobic or racist context, you can’t just change the meaning of words, those are slurs. There are like a million other words you can use that won’t offend me, most of which are probably funnier and more original.

      • While “faggot” and “nigger” were (and really still are) always offensive, I think they’re becoming more context sensitive. Like, when a gay friend of mine calls me a faggot, or when Louis CK uses it the poker scene in “Louis,” I know it’s not coming from a place of dark hatred. But when Nick DiPaolo says it in that same scene, there’s a bit of ugliness to how he uses it and says it that gets me really uncomfortable.

      • I disagree. Words are just noises, they don’t have any weight in and of themselves. It’s the meaning that’s behind those words that carries meaning. I think it’s far more important to try to judge the intents of the person using a word, rather than the word used. That having been said, a reasonable and prudent person KNOWS what kind of societal implications go along with certain words, and if they use them and then say it wasn’t meant in a negative way, they are just intentionally stirring the pot, which is not okay.

        • Yeah, no, it’s not really accurate to say that the intent is what matters. Communication is a handshake between minds – we use words with the expectation that meanings are shared. You are successful if you communicate what you intend, and you fail if you don’t. If you offend somebody and didn’t mean to, you fucked up.

          To really get at why “faggot” and “nigger” are problematic, you have to ask yourself, honestly, what is a faggot. What is a nigger. Even when they are used ironically, the words are diminuitive. They still mean somebody with a low social position. Niggers are subservient and dumb. Faggots are perverted, unmasculine, and ineffectual. You have clear images of what these words mean in your own mind.

          It can be funny to play with these meanings in a way that is deeply ironic, but that doesn’t neatly replace the meanings with new ones.

          • “Take the word ‘nigger’. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word ‘nigger’ in and of itself. It’s the racist asshole using the word that you ought to be concerned about.”

        • Yeah, except there’s more to words than what the individual intends to mean by them. You may mean “faggot” in the Louis CK sense of “someone whiny and prissy” and not a gay man, but that doesn’t change the fact that that word in of itself has a huge history of bigotry in this society, that’s still in use today. Even if you don’t have homophobic intentions, the word faggot does. It’s still a slur.
          And if you’re not part of the group that it applies to, you don’t get to reclaim it or use it at all.

          • No, that’s not right. If one group can use a word, all groups can use that word. If it’s okay for one, it has to be okay for everybody. Otherwise that’s just another form of discrimination.

          • “We shall now discuss the way comedy stimulates our delight in the ridiculous by using vulgar persons and taking pleasure from their defects.”
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpfDXj-fmVI

          • Facetaco, if you’re not black, you can’t use the n-word affectionately. If you’re not a queer male, you can’t use faggot affectionately. If you’re not a queer female, you can’t use the word dyke positively. That’s it. I don’t think that’s really complicated.

            Also, lol, discrimination.

            “Why can’t I use this word that’s been used to systematically hurt and oppress and dehumanize you if you can wahhhhh discrimination wahhhhh.” – You

            I like you, face, but I hope you realize how ridiculous that sounds.

          • It makes me sad that everytime there is a serious discussion on videogum, it makes me like facetaco less and less. Stop saying stupid shit and making me hate you, facetaco!

    • I think when you go to a Tracy Morgan comedy show, you have certain expectations that you will be experiencing Blue and Potentially Offensive material. Sure, you can go and be offended, but why are you wasting your money on that comedian?
      Personally, I question why people would go to see gallagher (I or II), or why they bothered with Andrew Dice Clay. Not my Thing.
      And I guess if you went expecting sanitized 30 rock Tracy Morgan, an unfunny over the top homophobic (and admittedly, kind of sick) bit in his show wouldn’t go over well.
      But you have to recognize that you are going to see a show where anything can be said by a man that is funny in an “I Dont Give a Fuck” kind of way.
      So take to your facetumblrogwitter and get mad about it, you have the same right. This kid was lucky enough to have his personal gripes with Tracy Morgan go viral and become outrage.
      Much like Michael Richards Suffered his backlash, so too Tracy is experiencing his own backlash. But Louis CK is right, it’s not impossible, as a person, comedian, human, to hold conflicting thoughts about a concept and believe one thing and Jokingly say something else entirely.

      • I think you make a lot of really fair points, but maybe rest your case before invoking the Michael Richards thing.

        • Yeah, Michael Richards maybe wasnt the best example to use, but I am at a loss for similar type situations resulting from a night club act. And in the instance of MR, we had video and audio of him going stupid. As has been stated above, we have NO actual info from TM’s situation aside from Eyewitness accounts.
          Anyway, Love you, love your show, first time caller, I have a Request from the Hotline: Less of this and more Animals and Kids and Jackasses on trampolines.

          • one could use Gilbert Godfried as an example. He got fired for a joke that really wasn’t offensive but just bad taste. Why was it ok for folks to call on him tobe fired from AFLAX over a joke about people floatting by, but a “comediane” like Morgan gets a pass. Really, which is more disturbing? Calling for stabbing and killing a child for being gay, or making a poor taste joke about dead people?

        • Your tombstone is going to read “Here lies Gabe, who always knew when to rest his case.”

  5. Louis, I love you, but you’re being a bit of a faggot right now.

    • This is totally off topic, but whenever I hear that word, some small part of me remembers this foodstuff from my childhood (which I never ate, but did wonder about a lot)

      • This is a genuine ‘food’ by the way. No Photoshopo.

      • I genuinely do not know what is more bizarre, a food called faggots or a brand called Mr. Brain’s.

      • Are there 4 pork faggots or is this PORK 4 FAGGOTS?

      • If my faggot came home and told me it was made of pork I’d stab it to death.

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  6. More funny videos of kids dancing plz.

  7. ‘I am just saying, let’s all own up to both our opinions as well as our hard-earned place in the conversation.’

    Yes, thank you. I’m really tired of high-profile comedians and anyone else who fought to earn a place in the cultural spotlight throwing up their arms and declaring immunity. ‘What can you do, I’m a comedian, I say crazy things! Deep down my fans know I’m not a horrible person!’ Well, no, we don’t know that. You should never assume we are making that assumption as we sit as part of the audience. The best stand-up comedians have strong perspectives and can potentially make any subject hilarious by clearly defining where they’re coming from as both a funny salesman AND a person. Tracy Morgan did neither of these things with his painful, bellowing bow to the unwashed, anti-gay masses. ‘Oh I had no idea this could go so horribly wrong. I thought we were just having fun.’ This is what I imagine actually went through Morgan’s head when the shit hit the fan.

    As much as I love Louis C.K. I think it’s clear he’s coming at this from an insider’s standpoint. He’s standing up for a fellow comedian and basically thumbing his nose to those outside of that circle. No Louis, no one’s saying we all have to play fair and start writing jokes about how everyone’s awesome. That’s a nonexistent argument the conservative right uses to defend their bullshit so you shouldn’t be using it considering the wonderfully insightful comedy you’ve brought to the table in the past (apparently I’m talking directly to Louis C.K. now). You’re better than that, so act as much.

  8. “The fusion of entertainment and enlightenment.” – Glenn Beck

  9. Comedy = Tragedy + Time
    Sounds like we need more time.
    -Doc Brown

    • So I legitimately have never understood what the expression “Comedy is tragedy plus time” is supposed to mean. I am a real dumdum?

      • Read the Darwin Awards, you’ll get it.

      • Alternately, comedy is tragedy in disguise. Comedy is a big part of how we deal with our misfortune and pain. If you take something like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, when Jason Segel is being dumped while he’s standing there naked, that scene is hilarious! It is hilarious because it is so painful. But that scene actually happened to Jason Segel, and I’m sure at the time he was not all chuckles about it, but after time he could look back and realize how hilarious it really was and then we got a funny movie out of it (bing!).

        Does that make any sense? I am only just starting my coffee.

      • I remember reading an article somewhere about how laughter may be a sort of evolutionary reaction to “benign violation”. Basically, a violation causes stress, but realizing it’s not a real threat, causes a ‘relief’ reaction. So, when someone you trust tickles you, they are violating you, but also mean no threat. So you laugh. If you try to tickle yourself, it doesn’t work, since it’s not a violation … and if a creepy stranger tries it, it’s not benign.

        So, in comedy, you get things like juxtaposition which is a violation in that it challenges logic or sense of right “I thought the word you were using meant this, but it turned out to mean that instead”. However, there is no ‘threat’ involved, so you laugh in relief, etc.

        Just like the tragedy is a something bad happening to me, comedy is something worse happening to you cliche, it’s about context. It’s easier to find something funny if it’s not personally painful to you … and given enough time, it’s like it happened to someone else, even if it did happen to you. It’s also the reason why some very horrible things that happen in a joke (i.e. the Aristocrats) can be funny … they are hypothetical things happening to hypothetical people … and thus more benign than a ‘true’ story.

      • you do understand the term “Someday you will look back at this and laugh” don’t you? If so, you understand the other.

  10. I can’t defend what Tracy Morgan said because 1) I didn’t actually hear what he said. and 2) What I’ve been told that he said is horrible and unfunny.

    However, I will say that Tracy Morgan’s persona is a satirical creation that says and does horrible things constantly. The character he plays is an outlandish caricature that embodies and mocks many of society’s ills and misguided beliefs. That is the thing he has been doing this whole time.

    Now, that isn’t to say that he should be given reign to say whatever he wants without criticism, but it does mean that when he breaks character to apologize for an offensive act, perhaps we should be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I believe that his horrible statements were said in character, and that he never intended then to be taken seriously. I might be wrong about that, but I’m not going to start hating him just in case.

    • I’m still not happy with it, because I find it kind of awful that he thought that could be considered funny (though a lot of the audience DID find it funny, so gross), but I do appreciate that the apology did at least sound more sincere than most celebrity or politician apologies I’ve heard. The personal details (about his father in particular) made it feel like he was opening up in a way. I admit though, that my possible willingness to forgive could be stemming from how sad I am at the prospect of being mad at Brian Fellow.

  11. “I am not offended, therefore it is not offensive,” is one of the most frustrating fallacies around today.

    • I’ve found that a lot of people use that fallacy right up until someone hits their very specific, personalized offense zone. ‘HEY MAN, my MOM has cancer.’ Oh really? I guess you’re offended now. And you’re upset I guess? That’s too bad. Must feel weird!

  12. I think the gay community at large will be quite relieved to hear that these egregious remarks did not offend a white heterosexual male.

    • Here’s my conflict. We are asking people to own up to their opinions and admit that what they say DOES matter because they’ve “earned their cultural capital” (to paraphrase one of our super eloquent monsters!) but we also still want to feel like “unless you are categorically similar to offense-ee X, we don’t care.”

      I think as a comedian, CKs voice is a valid contribution to this issue, I don’t know, maybe he feels his craft is under the microscope, or whatever. But as a policy maker/ social issue astronaut, whatever, maybe not? I dont know.

      And I don’t know if I feel that either side is more valid than the other, but they do seem to be conflicting. It’s either “Damn it Louis CK/Jon Stewart, stant up and OWN IT!” or it’s “Shut up we don’t care what a comedian thinks because hes white/not a politicial/hetero/etc.”

      So….. sorry?

      • Louis CK’s opinion is relevant to the discussion, sure. A lot of what he said is perfectly valid, even though I disagree entirely with the whole “hyuk hyuk just comedians doin’ comedy” defense.

        I just don’t care whether or not he was “offended” because the implication that the a gay person’s feelings about a gay joke should be measured against the reaction of a heterosexual is just completely ridiculous.

      • It’s not conflicting to ask that people own what they say and to ask that people not diminish and reduce other people’s experiences by speaking about their own experience (white hetero man) on a topic where such an experience isn’t really relevant. Both really boil down to saying “don’t be a terrible person”

        • Yeah, I think my feelings are closer to what you’ve said fargum. “I’m a comedian, as a comedian…”
          But I think we can give (sometimes) the benefit of the doubt to folks who don’t preface everything with “obviously I don’t mean to speak for this entire group of people”, though in THIS instance, CK destroys that with his later tweet that anyone “rational” would see it his way.

          Free exchange of ideas!!

  13. Also, let’s not pretend that the difference between Comedy Stage and Pulpit is some sharply demarcated barrier and ne’er is one confused for the other. Politicians and preachers use humor (well, they try) and comedians express important opinions. Tracy Morgan (and Louie CK, and any of us here, really) can say horrible things about gays and women and whoever we want because we’re just joking and it’s funny. “Women belong in the kitchen,” “gays are such pussies,” these are just (very hilarious, I’m sure) jokes to us, and most of our friends know that. But in this world, we’re being naive and unrealistic to not think that someone laughing at the joke isn’t laughing ironically. They think they’ve found a friend, and their nightmare belief system has just become more entrenched. If you have celebrity status in this culture, everything from TMZ to TBS: Very Funny is a pulpit.

    • What people tend to forget is no matter what you call it, pulpit or stage, you’re still platformed above people so they can better listen to you. The applied context is irrelevant; you’re still saying douchey things.

      • That combined with the fact that humour has as much the power to reinforce horrible societal elements as it has to subvert them. I can’t watch Family Guy any more for several reasons, one of which is they have slid so far into ‘we’re all in on the joke (but the joke is that marginalised people are inferior)’.

    • agree so much.

      also I tend to laugh when I hear people speaking from behind a pulpit just like a comedy stage (be it religious or political) but it’s usually at them

  14. comedians can (and should) get into potentially offensive/taboo subjects. that’s how comedy moves forward. the most important thing is that they need to do it in an informed, introspective and FUNNY way.

    tracy morgan basically pulled a michael richards. went off his rocker and accidentally exposed some appalling personal beliefs. a different (perhaps better?) comedian can makes jokes about gay people or black people or tragic events and not find themselves in this kind of hot water because their jokes aren’t so obviously rooted in hatred.

  15. Self deprecation is a great shield. It shows that you are aware of your own shortcomings, and you bring them to light before anyone can use it against you. It’s an important weapon. The problem is when it becomes the comedian’s only weapon. I, too, find it much more effective and powerful when Jon Stewart takes politicians and journalists to task using cogent, well-thought out arguments, or when any other comedian makes an important point about social wrongs without couching it behind “What would I know? I’m just a comedian.” I, too, would rather they stand by their beliefs without any self-deprecatory rejoinders. The thing is, I don’t think I’m overgeneralizing when i say that most comedians are insecure people. In fact, most people are insecure, but comedians turn that internal insecurity into comedy. Self-deprecation is the ultimate form of that insecurity, and asking comedians not to be constantly hyper self aware is like asking the sun not to shine, or like asking Gwenyth not to be constantly hyper unaware. It’s just who they are. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it is unlikely. Even right now, as an anonymous commentor who is not a comedian, I feel it necessary to end this comment with some sort of self-deprecatory statement about how my opinion is invalid because I’m just an anonymous commentor. But I won’t because I’m making a point, dammit! TL;DR.

  16. I just want to know: How exactly is it clear that Tracy Morgan doesn’t believe the things he said? I don’t know Tracy Morgan. All I have to go by are his words, and his words were “being gay is a choice,” “being gay is bullshit” and “I would stab my son if he were gay.” Even if it was all just a hilarious joke (it wasn’t), those words mean what they mean, and I don’t support people who think that way.

    • This. I love you Louis C.K., you seem like you’d be cool to hang out with and have a beer, but you are wrong on this. Trying to decipher what is in a person’s soul is like trying to decipher the tone of an ambiguous e-mail – things are not always what they seem. It wasn’t funny (and I think everyone agrees with that point), but more importantly, it wasn’t comedy – it was a diatribe of hate that seemed to be fueled by the reaction from the crowd. This is far different than taking a controversial topic and making a funny (but possibly uncomfortable) routine out of it.

  17. I sort of agree with him. In the arena of stand up comedy, the line separating right and wrong seems to be conveniently located right by the line that determines the humorous and not. If a rape joke is presented in a way that makes us laugh (like Louis CK’s, for example), no one says a word about how it’s in poor taste or how it’s needlessly edgy. But if that joke was presented poorly, the comedian is socially vilified and is the scum of the earth.

    I also understand the call to own up to the things you say. With the (remorseful?) damage control Tracy Morgan has been executing, I’m guessing he does too. But I can see how a comedian’s moral compass can go out of whack from the fact that people will let horrible statements go as long as they find them entertaining.

    • The problem is that you can get a positive reaction whether or not it’s funny. There were reports of a lot of cheering and “You go Tracy!” coming from the crowd, not because it was a humorous joke that brings a unique perspective on sexual orientation, but because he was confirming and uniting people based on their prejudice and anger.

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    • When you start saying that Louis C.K. sucks, I think you need to pause and take a breath.

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        • Deep breath.

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          • Good talk.

          • You seem to have embraced the demagogue’s position that strong emotion is a valid and proper substitute for reasoned thought. So long as you are properly outraged, it doesn’t matter how thoughtless and ridiculous your statements are.

            The problem is that no matter how angry you might be (or how wrong he might be, although I don’t think he is), Louis C.K. is still brilliant. I don’t often endorse the dismissive, “calm down” tactic in these arguments, but I think it is appropriate here.

            Now, for serious, take a fucking breath.

          • Admittedly, I was kind of being a dick with the “deep breath” comment.

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          • It really wasn’t very thoughtful. If I told you an anecdote about what someone did, it doesn’t matter how much you discuss it with other third-parties; you still weren’t there. The notion that all of the attention this has received has somehow clarified the context of the statement is illogical. Most people can agree that Morgan’s act was ill-advised. Almost everybody discussing can agree that it was damaging to him. But very few people actually heard what he said, and only Tracy Morgan knows whether it reflects his actual beliefs.

            Louis C.K. isn’t arguing that Tracy Morgan should or should not have said those things, he’s arguing that the context in which they were said is important in making a judgment. That context is missing from this discussion, because none of us really know what we are talking about. If this fit into a Mel Gibson-style pattern of behavior, we’d have a better idea, but even then, we’d be trying to separate the person from the persona without really knowing the person at all.

            More specifically, Louis is making a professional appeal that people not make a casual and uninformed connection between the words they found offensive and the person who said them. His thrust is that comedians need the freedom to be outrageous and take those kind of risks. Tracy Morgan crossed a line, but if crossing such a line is an unforgivable sin, artists will take fewer risks, and our culture will suffer. It isn’t so reductive as “It’s a joke; get over it.” Perhaps it’s more like “It was raw and untested material; don’t crucify him.”

            The statements you are referencing aren’t really contradictory in context. And unless you are completely unaware of the definitions of words like “stupid” and “idiot”, all of your professed opinions are really just abusive, ad hominem statements meant to bolster your position without real logic.

            The first time I told you to calm down, it was because you needed to calm down. The second time, I was being a dick because I thought it would be funny. I still think it was funny, and I still think you need to calm down. It isn’t healthy to get so worked up about people you don’t know.

          • look, we all know we all read a lot last week about who actually saw what happen. once Morgan apologized, we have to be able to agree on a historical account of this, that he fucked up. my bad, I suppose, in that, yes, it is still interesting and can still be discussed. but history can’t be revised: he actually did say awful things, that were even potentially dangerous.

            even thought I’ve been making a case for ACTUALLY MAKING A CASE here – I also haven’t read everything else on this comments section, but I feel like I shouldn’t get that deep into what is wrong with what Louis CK said – I’m just sure it’s covered. But you ARE wrong: the gist of those twitters is definitely not. “It was raw and untested material; don’t crucify him.” Louis said the actual comments themselves were funny. he defended that actual comments.

            and, this is back to shit that doesn’t matter, but: c’mon dude – I don’t care what the dictionary definition of “stupid” or “idiot” is, and 0.00000001% of the people who have ever used those words cares what the dictionary definition is. because most people do not have obsessive compulsive disorder in some way that they demand that every word that is used to be mean to someone is 100% accurate. I don’t believe that you do.

          • He did say that he thought Morgan’s offensive statements were funny. That wasn’t all he said, but perhaps I am unfairly projecting meaning onto his tweets based on what I know about him and how I feel about the situation. Indeed, perhaps that bolsters your point about twitter being a poor medium for such a discussion.

            Still, words have meanings, and there is a huge difference between being imprecise with them, and being reckless. Louis C.K. is a brilliant comic. Calling him stupid because you don’t agree with some of his tweets isn’t starting a thoughtful conversation.

          • I logged in just to get in on some of this amazing action.

            “once Morgan apologized, we have to be able to agree on a historical account of this, that he fucked up.”

            This is not how history works. Often public figures are forced to apologize as damage control to situations that are completely out of their hands. It makes life much much easier to say ‘sorry’ every single time. If you’ve every been in a relationship, surely you can understand this. Your assumption that an apology is an admission of guilt is someone inaccurate. Though it can be, it is not always. I have apologized for things I did not do, nor that I felt guilty for, hundreds of times over, because the result from apologizing is way more favourable than the result from standing my ground over something insignificant.

          • well,l back to the my-style your-style argument: I think, no matter what else, I was making a fair and thoughtful point about the timing of the whole thing that hadn’t yet been made by Gabe or anyone in comments before that.

            On top of it I added some anger, cause I think that’s a fair thing to do, realistically and stylistically. you’re saying it is “abusive” to call Louis CK stupid. I’m going to express doubt here that you really thought it was that bad a thing to do.

            I don’t really think you’re an asshole. I feel like I was just defending myself there. I get that you sort of were defending your point in the first place, cause my point did kind of contradict yours above it. fair enough I think.

        • Backwaxer, glad to see you’re still fighting the good fight there. I sincerely hope that one day you’ll realize that it’s possible for opions other than your own to be valid, and that attacking anybody and everybody who thinks differently than you is awful, no matter what side of a fight you’re on.

          • Hold on, guys. WHERE IS THE PAUSE ON MY VIDEOGUM REMOTE CONTROL? I need to get more popcorn.

            OK, I’m back. GO ON.

          • You mis-characterize the way I see the world. I like hearing other opinions and debating them on their merits.

            One opinion I have is that acting like an idiot, like Louis CK did, deserves being called on being an idiot.

            Another I have is that arguing with someone by not discussing anything they have to say, but just telling them to calm down like Godsauce did, or just pointing out that “their opinion is just their opinion” like you just did, is a fucking waste of your life. I know it’s just my opinion dude. tell me something I don’t know.

          • I want to take this thread behind the middle school and give it an abortion.

          • TNT: We know Donna Darko.

          • While Louis CK’s opinion did contradict Morgan’s (second) official statement. That is true. However, it’s quite possible that Tracy Morgan’s (second) official statement isn’t his actual opinion. Whether it is or not, it definitely is the ‘correct’ opinion. Considering that even his co-workers were criticizing him, he pretty much had to do whatever he could to defuse the situation.

            It’s quite possible that Louis see’s Morgan’s final opinion on the matter as a bullshit spin move, and that he doesn’t think a comedian should have to do that.

            Not saying I agree with Louis CK, but it’s not as simple as “well, Tracy Morgan has had a genuine change of heart and/or clearly revealed his true feelings on the matter, so Louis CK shouldn’t add his two cents”.

          • I guess really I’m tired of all the “let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt that they are all saying things that they don’t mean. in every single statement they make, whether it is cruel dangerous thing to say, or an apology for saying it.” Yes, that’s a fine interesting experiment and good for discussing things. I did it for a week. I’m tired of it in this case now.

            if tracy morgan didn’t mean his apology, he’s an idiot and a horrible person, and there isn’t an abusive enough thing I can say to fuck with him for it.

            if Louis CK didn’t actually find Morgan’s comments funny, then he’s maybe an ok guy. but he said he found them funny, and he deserves a lot of abuse for that.

          • “if tracy morgan didn’t mean his apology, he’s an idiot and a horrible person, and there isn’t an abusive enough thing I can say to fuck with him for it.”

            Or maybe he’s a regular (wealthy?) guy with an on-stage, on-screen persona that made a mistake (or didn’t!) and a secondhand account of what occurred went viral, and his publicist recognized immediately that it would be a good idea to just apologize quickly, which it was.

            If you’re genuinely upset because you think Louis CK laughed (did he? Secondhand accounts – they are wily – was he even there? We don’t actually know. What a fun story!) because he genuinely thinks gay sons of Tracy Morgan should be stabbed, then I agree that maybe a deep breath is in order?

          • 1. now I’m getting into what almost everyone here is writing, but since you had that pretty wrong: the reason I am genuinely upset is that 2 people in the very small pool of people I consider “good guys” out there in the world of people who get acknowledged publicly and have a voice, have loudly publicly made nasty statements about violence against gay children, or endorsed the idea that a statement like should be let slide. it is dangerous, and it is a waste of what they can do with their voice. Gabe said all that well though. not sure why you thought I was mad about anything other than that.

            2. I think I get how you are trying to make a case that he could not mean the apology but he’s still ok. But you do know that this is getting ridiculously abstract into the world of giving everyone involved the benefit of the doubt that NOTHING genuine took place here. So IF he just got a little carried away and I have the story wrong and he wasn’t actually saying terrible things, BUT he still apologized as a PR move, BUT he (correctly) knows that it wasn’t all THAT bad so the apology is not actually needed, so is not precisely genuine. Yeah, maybe ok, if that’s what happened, then I guess he’s not a horrible person. All the people I heard about that applauded the nastiness were probably doing it ironically also, right?

          • 1. Tracy Morgan’s voice is saying ridiculous nonsensical things. And this is kind of the point CK was making – he’s not a spokesperson for rationality. I don’t know why everyone (read: seemingly a lot of people) is kidding themselves as to believing that he needs to hold himself responsible for what he says when his “Gimmick” is being completely irresponsible about what he says. Of COURSE he is responsible for what he says. Everyone is, all the time. That’s why (and CK also points this out) we all have the right to be offended.

            2. Genuine things did happen though…he said admittedly terrible things (Partial transcripts taken out of context of the show with no tone of voice accompaniment) He apologized. Case dismissed?

            I wasn’t at the show. I don’t care at all about what he said. I’m not defending the words some dude on facebook was offended by, nor am I saying he shouldn’t have been offended. I agree with CK fully: this was not a premeditated attack meant for public consumption. It was a comedy show intended for the audience at that show, who did the right thing by walking out if they were offended by it. The thing that was bad resulted in an appropriate response by the people the thing was intended for. This is what I think CK was getting at. There’s also no reason that everyone in the entire world (some people on the internet) need to all weigh in on this constantly. (No offense, Gabe. More worst movie of all time reviews please)

            Before the internet, this would have resulted in a bad review. Maybe the venue, and other venues find out about it and stop booking him. Maybe a lot of people stop booking him. Word travels. Which it already has and will continue to. But to call for abuse on Louis CK for tweeting 5 things in defense of Tracy Morgan is pretty unreasonable.

          • well, man, I read what you wrote and wanted to agree with parts.

            but since you say “He apologized. Case dismissed?” then why defend Louis CK for re-opening the case in any way other than to say “he apologized so it’s over.”

            You’re saying Louis re-opened it to say “this was not a premeditated attack meant for public consumption. It was a comedy show intended for the audience at that show, who did the right thing by walking out if they were offended by it.”

            but that’s not in what is written above. he didn’t say anything about how people should have walked out. and i wouldn’t agree with that if it was what he said.

            he said it was hilarious. And you say “I agree with CK fully.” so it was hilarious? I thought you said “he said admittedly terrible things…”

            I say I don’t care why Louis re-opened it, and I’m not going to speculate much. Other than to say I don’t even actually believe him that he thought it was hilarious. It makes me mad that he endorses it as hilarious, and it makes me mad that he’s too smart a dude to think it was hilarious, so he’s obviously a liar.

            and, I’m sure it has been said 5 million times by smart people in the last week, but for the last time I ever say anything this obvious: you don’t have to have a job description that includes the words “spokesman for rationality” to still have responsibility for not advocating violence against an oppressed minority.

            look, you’re defending these dudes by putting words in their mouth and changing the rules about what anybody is responsible for.

  19. The premise of Morgan’s “joke” was not that gays are human and have foibles like anyone else; his premise was that homosexuality is disgusting and worthy of violent reactions. Very simple. He was not saying something “hilarious.” Unless I have somehow forgotten what the word means. No topic is out of bounds for comedians, but audiences have a similar right to reject any premise. And, honestly, is there anything more cowardly than hiding one’s bigotry behind “it was a joke”?

    • I think the premise of his joke was that those are the beliefs of a ridiculous person, like the one that he is playing on stage. Again, I could be wrong about that.

      • I agree with GS — unless you are in the room, it is very hard to tell what happened, in terms of tone and intention. Even then it is hard to tell.

        To illustrate: It was my 2nd date with a very shy girl and we went to a comedy club to see Dave Attel. There was an unbilled surprise guest: Andrew Dice Clay. As you can imagine, he was not funny. And he was on stage for 40 minutes. People were trying to leave and he wouldn’t let them. “Where do you think you’re going, dickless?” It was miserable and bordered on terrifying, as far as 2nd dates go. There were literally no jokes. He just made cruel, personal remarks about individuals in the audience, and the room went from warm to cold, awkward, deadly. But — he finished each string of insults like this: “But look at me, up here in sweatpants and a T-shirt from 1991, a lifetime ago when I was a big deal, and now I’m the biggest loser in this room. So if you’re dickless, what’s that make me?” When finally no one was making a single sound — when he spoke and didn’t even get back a cleared throat and no one even shifted in their seat — then he gave a big smile and looked relieved or even happy, and he said, “Thanks for that, you’ve been great.”

        At that moment I realized it wasn’t comedy. It was performance art. And it was sort of a work of genius. He took his stage persona and built on it, made it as completely unfunny as many people believe it to be, and kept going until he went way, way past zero laughs — ultimately saying there is a joke: the joke’s on me — I’m the joke.

        Here’s my point (tl;dr) — If this had been in the days of Tweet and Facebook, someone would have posted to say “Dice obvs hates his fans / just spent 40 mins being CRUEL to ppl without telling one joke.” And that would not have been, exactly, true. But you’d have to be in the room to get that, and I bet most people in the room still didn’t get that.

        So I will say we know for sure Tracey Morgan said some offensive stuff. We don’t know (having not been there) whether it was strictly hateful and ignorance — or whether it entailed more comic risk than that.

        I just didn’t have strong feelings on this issue until someone called Louis CK an idiot and then BOY.

    • Exactly. He in no way tweaked or spun deeply held, angry views to make a comedic point. He simply expressed those deeply held, angry views to an eager, pleased crowd. At this point he’s in the same pool as Gallagher. And when you’re in that sledge-o-matic stew it’s time to go home and go to bed.

  20. BNPG Other comedians discussing the Tracy Morgan Situation:
    Jerry Seinfeld – “What’s the deal with Tracy Morgan’s violent homophobia?!”
    Yakov Smirnov – “In Soviet Russia, gay son stabs you!”
    Nick Madson – “What’s the deal with Tracy Morgan’s violent homophobia?!”

  21. There’s ridiculously offensive humor and there’s mean humor. Louis C.K. is master of the former and Jeff Duhnam falls (and dies) in the latter. The reason I think Tracy Morgan’s comments have been discussed with such widely differing views is because he has such a weird reputation that no one can tell which kind of humor they were watching. I don’t find it similar to the Michael Richards controversy because he didn’t keep the Kramer-act going in his real-life/talk show appearances/comedy act. Tracy Morgan, on the other hand, is still Tracy Jordan when he’s seen in public–so no one knows how to perceive him.

  22. In this case context matters, a lot. If the reports are true that Morgan had changed his tone significantly and was speaking with palpable hatred and anger, then Louie is wrong, no matter how much I love him. But, seeing as it seems like the reports are based on one account, there’s definitely room for error. If it was a bad joke, Louie’s right. If it was a rant, he’s wrong.
    Really, I wish Louie had stayed out of it, tho I understand and mostly sympathize with his presumable desire to see stand-up remain a space without limits.

  23. soooo….what? no more Louis CK videogum promise?

  24. Also, this is super late in the discussion, but as much as I adore Jon Stewart for all of the awesome things he does, I absolutely hate he “I’m just a comedian” defense. Thank you for echoing that Gabe (and others).

  25. maybe he’s just trying to steer clear of the necropedo-police after saying he would fuck a dead kid in Hilarious.

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    • ‘Talking about things on the Internet is stupid. You guys are wasting your time, no one cares.’ – People who actually bother to say this kind of thing on the Internet. #CoolestPeople

  29. Odd Future Tracy Morgan CK Them All

    • Tyler, the Apologetic Homophobe

    • No one will probably read this, but I do wonder what exactly separates what Tracy said from Goblin? Because there’s music behind one, those statements are seen as excusable? I’m not so much accusing either side as just stating I really don’t understand what makes one permissible and the other not.

      • I think this is a different debate for a different time, in so much as it is even more complicated than this current one, but I think its a valid point you brought up.
        As an Odd Future/Tyler fan, its a question I have to constantly grapple with. My best rationalization is that it is rooted in some really deep seeded social anxieties and hatred towards his absentee father not in actual hatred toward women and gays, but as I said that is just a rationalization, thats me trying to make sense of it. I just have a really hard time believing those free spirited dudes are actually as hateful as their music is.

      • I imagine one way to start this conversation is by talking about the perceived intentions of the artists involved. This all amounts to individuals individually gauging the intentions of the artists based on the information available and whatever our own critical faculties may be. One may not perceive the same intentions as another observer or as the artist her/himself but I think treating this kind of situation in this manner respects the perspectives of others while at the same time allowing people to emotionally respond to something without feeling philosophically neutered in doing so.

        So for this specific situation it seems what bugs me at least and I think what seems to be bugging a lot of people about that part of Tracy Morgan’s set is that judging from the words used the perception of his intentions seem to have been malicious. I think this has to do with the specificity of his words. To me, reading what he reportedly said, it seemed like he was trying to meaningfully create a specific argument about why being gay was bad or something of that negative nature. This caused me to view what he said in a negative light; therefore rendering it unenjoyable.

        I don’t feel the same way about OFWGKTA. Their music has always seemed to me more about narratives than about commentaries, greater characterized (in my opinion) by the qualities of fiction rather than speech, essay, etc. In other words, I perceive their intentions in their music to be artistic intentions rather than intentions aspiring to be persuasive. It’s a tough distinction but for me, an important one, as I’d like to be as open-minded to artistic possibilities as possible. Note, I’m not saying others should or should not do the same; I’m just saying how I feel about this with hopes of perhaps clarifying this confusion for others who feel similarly.

  30. Hey! I heard there was a pizza party happe–oh. This is not as fun.

  31. Dear Tracy and Louis,

    In the words of my 8th grade history teacher (really! He said this like every day!):
    “Actions, words, and events have consequences.”

    That is all.

    Warm regards,
    HeyThatsMyBike

  32. So in all this debate – my questions is, at what point do we draw the line? Yes, there are those who are less accepting of alternative religions, races, sexual orientations than others, but I’m not sure anyone really advocates violence toward any other person, and I’m not sure there should be a march of torches. What Tracy Morgan said was stupid. Period. He’s not the devil. Your politicians, ministers, priests, and neighbors probably say and feel this and MUCH worse everyday, and if you think they don’t, good for you for living in utopia. I mean, weren’t we all CHEERING when Bin Laden was killed? Does this make us different than those who cheer our deaths?? The point is, let’s stop a minute and try not being the hypocrites we love to be.

    Do any of us know exactly how many comedians/actors/writers/musicians have homophobic, restrictive, conservative, or potentially abhorrent views? If we did, and it was someone admired for their art, what would we do?? What would you REALLY do? I mean, no one here seems that offended by examining how TERRIBLE a person Gwyneth Paltrow is (least of all me) but maybe her kids do – or her friends, or people who really like her. Maybe the Dream Hands guy is really sensitive and loves what he does and is crying in a room somewhere because people think he’s a joke. Maybe posting youtube videos of awkward teens, or even more awkward children contributes to the “bully mentality’ which could EASILY lead to abuse, torment, or suicide. Why is THAT more tolerated here? Let’s just level the playing field across the board.

    I just think we can’t latch onto over zealous vilification of Tracy Morgan, and now Louis CK, without fully examining ALLLLLL our other behaviors. This site (which I read everyday) may not exist without the regular satire and sarcasm that is sometimes directed at a specific person or group. But it’s comedy, right? It’s just an opinion…? We don’t REALLY mean it…?

    • There’s a certain power of influence that comes with Tracy Morgan vs. a Videogum comment, and so there’s a certain amount of responsibility and/or good taste when it comes to what you do with that influence. At the same time, nothing on Videogum that I have seen comes close to talking about murdering gay kids. There actually is a line between humorously laughing at a guy’s funny dance, and outright hatred of a specific type of people — discussions like this one are part of the process of discerning that line.

      If your argument is, “You, too were mean to someone once!” then I would say you’re drawing a false equivalency.

  33. I had every expectation of clicking the “Read more” link and having it just be a fart sound effect.

    Thanks for (sort of) not letting me down.

  34. I don’t think there’s any need to draw a line in the sand when it comes to comedy. It’s a highly subjective medium and so there’s always going to be a discussion as to its definition of success or failure. I think the key to this specific discussion lies in the nature of the comedian’s material. If it is by nature clearly commenting on or tweaking a stance one might normally find offensive then there is an artistic endeavor there to make a point with the medium. If, however, you’re just reciting a list of stereotypes and violent imagery and you allow that to stand on its own … that’s when the questioning is most likely going to begin. Questions of integrity, morals, a general scrutinizing of the person and their ability as a comedian. And that should be expected because again the comedian is in the spotlight and what they say and do has weight. They are not an Average Joe on the street.

    The fact that neither Morgan or his publicity team made an effort to dispute any of the original description of his performance allows me to assume it was accurate. If any of it had been exaggerated or outright fictionalized then that would have been addressed. Instead what we got was an initially broad apology followed by more personalized though similarly broad apologies from Morgan in his later interviews. So yeah, I’m gonna assume he and his team have admitted that yes, that is what happened, that is what was said.

    As far as how my condemning of Morgan compares to Videogummies poking fun at teenagers in YouTube videos or other silly Internet nonsense … I’m just gonna go ahead and take a leap and assume no one’s threatened to stab any of those kids in the heart. Yeah, pretty sure the tone on this site has never, ever reached that point. So I think it’s safe to say a cry of hypocrisy is uncalled for in this instance.

  35. Disappointed in Louis CK, who I normally love. When he says “It’s clearly better to be white,” the audience laughs, because he’s expressing something that people might think but would never say out loud. When Tracy Morgan says, “I’d kill my gay kid” the audience laughs because he’s also expressing the darker thoughts of the audience. Difference – in the first case, people are laughing at their own faults. In the second case, people are getting confirmation for their hate. Vitriol with no self-deprecation is bad writing, bad comedy, and worthless.

  36. I don’t believe there’s an irrevocable line comedians must never cross. If they’re funny. But nothing Tracy Morgan said was actually funny, and that’s a problem. The same way Don Imus (“nappy-headed hos”) Michael Richards were painfully unfunny. If you’re going to cross a line, you’d better base it on some real wit and not just edginess for edginess’ sake.

  37. The problem with Gabe’s line of reasoning that “words matter” is that position can be followed to its logical conclusion, both that some words are privileged over others, and some language is just so dangerous that it should be banned. Words themselves only have the meaning we give them. Yet conflict over words is usually just a pretext for a larger socio-economic or cultural friction that is occurring. In Turkey, the Kurdish language was banned for years because apparently *all* words in Kurdish were malicious, i.e. they fostered the Kurdish independence movement. Were the words themselves hurtful? No – unless you want Turkey to continue to dominate the Kurds in which case the idea that Kurds should have rights is a threat. Likewise here; most of us don’t like the idea of anti-LGBTQ violence, so the words Tracey Morgan spoke substitute for actions.

    Yet Tracey Morgan and his words don’t have any more power than Jon Stewart’s, Bill O’Reilly’s, or mine. Words cannot change the problems highlighted by Morgan’s rant; only actions can. This is why we penalize *deeds* and not *speech* in the United States. In the end of the day, if I curse at someone, it’s just hot air. If I hit them, it’s something else entirely. If we are to get rid of censorship we have to come, some of us more grudgingly than others, to the conclusion that words are meaningless, and only actions have meaning. Now sometimes the two are bound up; if I were on stage making a joke about beating someone up it’s one thing; if I order someone to go beat someone up and they do it, it’s another. Yet if we liberalized speech laws and eliminated censorship, and as a culture began to realize that words only have the meanings we choose to give them, that woudl be a huge step forward.

    That is why Jon Stewart is correct when he says he is just a comedian and his words are just comedy. He cannot force us to act on his words; we can ignore them or follow them but it is our choice to do so, and we make an independent choice of him if we do. Our actions matter; not the words. So while I may not agree with Tracey Morgan’s rant, he didn’t do anything particularly bad in actuality, simply said words I disagree with. That’s fine… if he were actively seeking to beat up gay people it would be another question all together.

    • *stands up, applauds*

    • Couple of fallacies here. First of all, it is a straw man to insist that taking speech seriously (and responding to it with more speech) somehow leads to a ban of speech.

      And it is incorrect to assume that only actions matter. Speech conveys ideas, information, and potential actions, all of which certainly matter on some level (moral if not legal.)

      It is illegal for me to intentionally tell lies about you to damage your reputation, and past a certain point it is illegal for me to use speech to inflict emotional distress on you (i.e. by calling you up or writing you nasty letters). As it should be.

  38. What really puzzles me is when people, like Louis CK, seem to ignore the connection between “violence and discrimination” and people’s thoughts and attitudes, which find expression in their words. It’s like they pretend that those “actions” they hate so much just spontaneously generate out of nothing.

  39. Also, I think that people have this preconception that if something is funny it must also be unserious or flippant — which doesn’t strike me as true at all. I think this is the gist of what Gabe is going on about, but I’m not sure because the paragraph is too long for me to focus. /attentiondeficited

  40. Wait hold on please! what is a cat?

  41. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  42. I want to kill somebody who is different than me! Get it? Do you get it? It’s a joke! LOL

  43. I feel like The Situation, sitting in the living room eating popcorn while Sammi and Ron fight. It’s okay Sam–Miami was a long time ago! Stay out of the clubs Ron!

  44. I found the reports of the audiences reaction to his comments more disturbing than the comments themselves. It’s ok to joke about horrible things, a lot of people have done it. But when you talk about stabbing your gay son and the audiences is giving u a standing ovation and cheering you on that audience is a little fucked up.

  45. I love CK, but this is pretty bad. It’s almost a stereotype now that comedians, high profile and the locals that perform at the cafe down the street, believe themselves to be some upper-level class of people looking down at the plebians who don’t understand a joke when it somehow doesn’t go over well. And not just jokes, but the answers to life and everything philosophical as if they were the licensed sharp-tongued jesters of yore. Some of the most uncomfortable moments in my life involved being in an audience that collectively didn’t laugh at a joke, severely offending the comedian to the point that he or she felt the need to sharply rebuke the audience for one reason or another. It’s pretty fascinating the sense of privilege that sometimes come out of comedians. I don’t have to laugh with you and I don’t have to give you immunity for some lame-brain behavior. I can forgive though, and Tracy Morgan is actually doing a lot to learn about why he chose those targets. Why CK then had to step up and deny the importance of all this is puzzling. There’s no way in hell I believe CK actually thought that gay hate was ‘hilarious’ so I’m left thinking it’s just that reliable comedian self-importance.

  46. Thank you for so eloquently putting into words may one issue with Jon Stewart. I have always squirmed in my chair when he pulled out the “i’m just a comedian” card.

    Great writing Gabe.

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