Tracy Morgan's anti-gay jokes: should he have to apologize?

Let me get this out of the way first: I do not condone hateful speech of any kind, homophobic or otherwise. That said, I also don't condone people or organizations attempting to legislate and control speech, hateful or otherwise. I have always felt that people have the right to say whatever they want to, and if you don't want to hear, don't listen. You can't control the things that come out of other people's mouths, but you can control your reaction to them.

Settle down, there is a point to all of this. TV Geek Army has not suddenly morphed into Lucas', I promise.  I’ll keep the lecturing to a minimum.

The Internet is ablaze with reports of Tracy Morgan's homophobic "tirade" during a recent stand-up show in Nashville. Apparently during his set, Tracy said some not so complimentary things about gays and lesbians (which I will refrain from reprinting, as TVGA is a family-ish website), which caused one member of the audience, Kevin Rogers, to rush home, log onto Facebook and inform the world about the travesty he just witnessed. The Facebook post picked up steam and was quickly noticed by groups like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign. These groups have demanded an apology, and some have gone so far as to request Morgan's removal from 30 Rock.

Are you kidding me?! Yeah, I get it; Tracy Morgan said some crazy shit. That's what Tracy Morgan does! Since 30 Rock became a big success for NBC, people think that Tracy Morgan is this lovable, goofy guy and everyone seems to forget that, really, he's kind of a nut-case. This certainly isn't the first time Tracy Morgan has said something stupid in public, and I promise you it won't be the last.

Should he have said nasty things about gays? No, of course not. Should he have to apologize for offending an entire community of people? Yeah, it's the right PR move, but he certainly didn't have to. (He did apologize, saying, "I want to apologize to my fans and the gay and lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others. While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context.”) Should he be fired from 30 Rock? Absolutely not.

People know what they are getting into when they go and see a comic do stand-up. Or at least they should. If you go and see Tracy Morgan expecting to see PG-13, network television type jokes, it's your fault if you get offended. Now, I'm not saying Kevin Rogers didn't realize who he was seeing when he bought tickets to Morgan's show. But Rogers even admits the act was "hysterical" and "hilarious". Just not the parts that affected him. Sure, go on a rant "about how women should be home cooking him a f*cking meal and not becoming CEOs" or talk about "f*cking the moms of retards." That's hilarious. Hysterical even. Just don't talk about the gays.

People these days are so afraid of words. "Oh, watch what you say, your words can hurt others!" I understand that and I sympathize with people who feel like they have been attacked. But here's a suggestion: If you're the type of person who is easily hurt by words, don't go to a comedy club. To a comedian, words are weapons and the point is to use them to inflict as much damage as possible - on themselves, on the audience, on the President, on celebrities, on our society at large. No one should ever be asked to apologize for something they said on-stage at a comedy club. Except maybe Kramer, that was a bit much.

By Lucas High

About the author

Lucas High is a man on a mission. That mission: to watch television for a living. Drop him a line at, on Facebook and on Twitter at

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On: Friday, June 10, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I'm pretty much in agreement, Lucas. Stand up comedians are *expected* to be controversial and at times offensive -- it's part of what makes them valuable in the highly subjective field of entertainment/comedy. And this goes many times over for a non-televised event inside a comedy club. 

The Michael Richards example certainly puts what I just said to the test, but I still think as a society we are overly sensitive and care overly too much about the "rantings"/utterings of entertainers. In the end, if you don't like it... turn it off. And really, do we *really* care about this stuff? 

Final point: Morgan makes frequent (hilarious) appearances on The Howard Stern Show. Last year or so Morgan and Stern had a conversation about how many people are stunned and appalled about how raw Morgan is on stage versus his far more toned down version on 30 Rock. 

In other words, if you're easily offended at ***comedy shows*** do your homework, kids. 

On: Friday, June 10, 2011
Lucas High said:

Exactly, Eric. I was thinking about those Satellite Radio interviews while I wrote that sentence.


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