Tracy Morgan: It Wasn’t Humor or Free Speech, It Was Hate and An Apology Is Too Little Too Late

This is a long, long piece. I just needed to say what I wanted to say about this whole thing.

Tracy Morgan at New York City's Union Square B...

Tracy Morgan in New York promoting his 2009 book at Barnes & Noble on Union Square; I think that he just pissed on his own paycheck (Courtesy: Media Gallery)

First of all, I’m gonna make it plain.

I don’t like Tracy Morgan as a comedian. Never did, whether on Saturday Night Live or on 30 Rock. He does not impress me at all. He reminds me of a certain type that I avoided assiduously while a teenager: mush-mouthed, cruel, show-offish, uncoordinated, loutish, gross, monumentally self-absorbed and only accidentally funny.    It was not an act.  If ever I saw a girl pay attention to such a guy, I would wince for her and for the subsequent equally ignorant progeny that I envisioned that they would produce.  In a word, ewww. So from the time I became aware of him, I’ve been prejudiced against him and his career.

He’s one of the main reasons why I don’t watch 30 Rock, as funny as I have seen it to be on a few nights when I am not watching my Wisconsin PBS. I just don’t follow the show as closely as fans; perhaps it is because I don’t tend to follow the pack about network prime-time shows as I used to do.  (For instance, it took me two years before I began watching Cheers.)   I have wondered how in the world Tina Fey chose him to join her on 30 Rock, much less getting Lorne Michaels to offer him a gig on SNL.  Because he was already an embarrassment. Embarrassing.

For example, he didn’t know when to shut up during the Emmy Awards when 30 Rock first shut out everyone for best comedy, clad in a white tux jacket that made him look wider.  He seemed either drunk or stoned, and I wished someone would have taken the mic from him much earlier.  I’m still wondering why he is so funny to a certain segment of the country–to anyone. He must be a lucky duck; and he’s said so himself a few times publicly.

That dumb luck has changed dramatically in a diatribe that he engaged in a week ago, which has gone around the Web (and ended up here and elsewhere) and which was nothing at all about free speech, as his friend Chris Rock first wanted to maintain. It was straight up about hate. This was from the original note by FB denizen Kevin Rogers, dated June 3. (I’ve done some work with grammar and paragraphing, but it is pretty much what he felt and wrote after spending ducats to see Morgan perform.)

by Kevin Rogers on Friday, June 3, 2011 at 11:42pm

So tonight was the night, Tracy Morgan in the hallowed halls of the Ryman Auditorium. I always giggle a little bit when I think that the legends of country music must be rolling over in their graves knowing that there are raunchy comics on their stage. I’ve been a big fan of his since his days at SNL.

The show was your typical hysterical dick, cum and pussy humor… I have to say it was hilarious and well worth at least 40% of the $86 we spent per ticket to see him. I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I’m well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor. I have very thick skin when it comes to humor; I can dish and I can take.

What I can’t take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that “born this way” is bullshit. Gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because “God don’t make no mistakes” (referring to God not making someone gay ’cause that would be a mistake). He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man.

He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying. He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it. He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death.

He mentioned that Barack Obama needed to man up and quit being all down with this just because he has a wife and two daughters. All of this being followed by thunderous cheer and “You go Tracys”. Tracy then said he didn’t fucking care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a fucking dick up their ass… they can take a fucking joke.

The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke. His entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night. He was truly filled with some hate towards us. As far as I could see 10 to 15 people walked out. I had to fight myself to stay seated, but I knew if I got up… he won. He wanted to piss people off and get a rise. I didn’t let him win by chasing me off, he surely didn’t get any applause or laughter from me after that point – mainly because he was no longer funny to me. I wasn’t holding back, it just wasn’t funny. I won’t even get started on his rant about how women should be home cooking him a fucking meal and not becoming CEOs or him talking about fucking the moms of retards.

Once again, I can take a joke. I find all sorts of things that are inappropriate funny. Life is too serious to not laugh and enjoy some humor. I now no longer enjoy Tracy Morgan’s humor. It’s sad that I now have to take some inventory of my love of 30 Rock.

I’m not angry… just very very very disappointed.

I feel the same way, but I am not surprised.

From HuffPo, truth be told:

Morgan has a history of homophobic tirades on stage, saying that being gay was a choice, among other things, at a 2009 standup performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

In his acting career, however, Morgan has often played gay or at least sexually ambiguous. He played a transvestite inmate in the Adam Sandler comedy, The Longest Yard, and many of his Saturday Night Live characters were of questionable sexuality, including the sophomoric zookeeper Brian Fellows.

That Carnegie Hall performance, if one could call it that, should have been a warning, but no. I read that even more people were walking out, that people were really complaining. People not being entertained but being grossed out and provoked. Look, there was only one Lenny Bruce, but I could take Lenny Bruce. And Richard Pryor. Why? Because they said they were fcked up; I knew where their pain was coming from, and so did others.  Plus, it was how they said things that made one crack up. The meanness and rage peeped out, but it wasn’t completely on blast to drive the audience out. That’s the difference between these comedy icons and Tracy Morgan. And Tracy Morgan is not the second coming of any of these guys.

He did try to minimize the damage, but he may be done for a while.

“I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville,” he said. “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.”

But that wasn’t enough.  Now it appears he’s going to be in meetings with a whole lot of people to make amends, and is even returning to Nashville, TN, the scene of the crime.

He is also planning to meet later this week with a group of gay youths who have been ostracized by their families, according to E! Online, in addition to sitting down with people who’ve lost friends or family to anti-gay violence.

“When all of this set in, I realized how hurtful my words were,” the “30 Rock” star told hip-hop guru Simmons for Global Grind. “Not asking anyone to feel sorry for me or pity me, but I definitely don’t want or need people to defend me.


“In my heart, I know that the words I used are indefensible,” Morgan said. “I appreciate the love from my friends and fans, but I was wrong. Period.”

He told Marc Malkin of E! exclusively that after growing up with a disabled brother and a father who died of AIDS, he knew what it was like to be bullied. “My dad wasn’t gay, but I also learned about homophobia then because of how people treated people who were sick with that,” Morgan said. “Parents should support and love their kids no matter what.”

Also on Morgan’s itinerary: A trip back to Tennessee next week, where he’ll participate with GLAAD in a news conference protesting the state’s recently passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill outlawing the discussion of homosexuality in public schools before grade nine.

Does he mean it, or is this damage control for his career and for 30 Rock?  He is sorry. Really soww-wwy. At least, he’s not going to rehab. He didn’t say that he was under the influence on stage.

Morgan’s movie roles may be something more than just putting a gay character in feature films; it may be a way of downplaying a male character’s “strength” relative to that of the lead character. Or to make a black character even more of a buffoon. Bill Zwecker at the Chicago Sun-Times has another idea why he’s accepted these roles:

I’ve learned from an NBC source that Morgan’s many previous anti-gay cracks have long rankled a number of his network colleagues, both gay and straight. “All those gay characters he portrays — it’s always clear he’s making fun of gay people, merely fueling those lispy-voiced stereotypes that have really gotten so stale,” added my source.

What slays me is that guys like Morgan have always ridiculed effeminate gays, but they’ve never, ever come across the very, very ultra-masculine black gay males who would make them knock knees. I used to see one very serious-looking brother in leather on some Saturdays in the Castro in the Eighties. Never knew who he was, but he was impressive, strong, tall and looked like he was sooo not taking any bullshit. Morgan or his supporters have probably never dealt with anyone who doesn’t look or act effeminate, but is gay.  That would be scary. For them, there is only one kind of gay male, and that’s a queen. They’re comfortable about that, but they’re oh so dated.

Homophobia and sexism, but primarily homophobia. Gays are outraged, but so are women. It goes hand in hand in this episode. He can’t believe women will fall in love with women? What, he’s not getting enough at home with his wife (I’ve heard he’s divorced after several decades, but I haven’t been able to confirm that) that he’s got to presume on what other men and women truly desire? And that women should stay home and stop stealing jobs from guys? When does that say about his boss, Tina Fey? I will say that Tina’s response was on point, and was basically to show that he was out on his own regarding these comments. In other words, she was out there to save her award-winning show and her book, the well-received  Bossypants.

I’m glad to hear that Tracy apologized for his comments. Stand-up comics may have the right to “work out” their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience, but the violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community.

It also doesn’t line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person.

I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket.

The other producers and I pride ourselves on 30 Rock being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace.

Comedians are not a healthy lot in the first place; behind the laughter and the talent is a lot of darkness. Many have issues that sometimes are worked out on the stage. For instance, Morgan has admitted in his comedy shows that he was raped as an 8-year-old by a male sitter; true or not, he may be strongly over-compensating in showing the world what he is not. And a lot of black heterosexual male street and prison behavior–Morgan is a former dealer–is fronting off what they are not. However, homosexuality is not the same as pedophilia. Pedophilia is the rape of infants or children. Homosexual love or lust involves willing consent and seduction. The extreme religious love to repeat this lie that homosexuality equals pedophilia, but pedophiles are more likely to be found among straights rather than gays.

Morgan’s rant was indeed something that should have been saved for the therapist’s office.  Unfortunately, Tracy Morgan’s not the only black straight male who thinks this way, even since the Bishop Eddie Long sex scandal broke. Chris Rock has been forced to STFD when the magnitude of what Morgan said hit home (or hit wallet as the case may be). However, CNN’s Roland Martin continues to back him. Morgan’s only the tip of what is still mainstream black heterosexual resistance to black gays and lesbians. It has everything to do with what is considered maleness in the black community.  And that male standard has been in trouble for quite a while and is still in serious need of revision.

Let’s call bullshit on some of what this fool said.

…women are a gift from God and that “born this way” is bullshit.

So women are born solely for (or gifted to) men?  Check the sexism in that.  Not all women will marry and/or have children with men. Women do not necessarily “need” to be with men, and vice versa. And there are women who do not choose to be with men because they are not attracted to men. To force women who are not so inclined to sleep with or marry men and have their children is going against nature, spirit, and humanity.

Gay is a choice…

Being gay is not a choice. There’s a percentage of gays that remain closeted; which means that their relationships are a secret to their families, friends, and co-workers for whatever reasons they choose. In other words, they are not out. There is also a percentage of gays who are celibate, and I am not simply speaking of Catholic religious. What I think Morgan is objecting to is that many gays, including black gays, these days choose to be out front and be themselves. That’s a threat. To Morgan and others, they hate that essentially, gays won’t shut up.

“God don’t make no mistakes” (referring to God not making someone gay ’cause that would be a mistake).

Frankly, nature experiments. Period. That’s why there is what we call straight, gay and bisexual, and even transsexual. And the Bible is only one holy book, and for many on this planet, it is not the first, nor the last, nor the best. In hundreds of the wrong hands, it’s caused a hell of a lot of problems for people here, problems that still cannot be resolved and have made the world far worse.

He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man.

What grandiosity. “Pretend”? This guy–like many guys–is jealous because he wants to maintain access to and control of women, despite their needs, inclinations, or desires. Anyone else is competition. Why won’t these women genuflect before his magic wand dick? Please. Focus on your relationship with your wife, and not worry about whether there is going to be a p*ssy drought. Isn’t that what marriage is about? It’s not about frequency of sex, but quality. But no, he wants to make sure he can penetrate some woman until the day he dies. Any woman.


Vodpod videos no longer available.

He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying.

So I guess he didn’t mean that PSA he made a couple of years back.

In answer, a name I will never forget: Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover.

I never knew a child could rig up a noose and hang himself to get out of the world of pain that he inhabited until this boy’s death.

And Carl was bullied primarily by a girl leading a gang of tormenters. The school refused to discipline the girl, and forced the two of them “to work it out” together, thus compounding his dilemma and misery.

It was not altogether clear whether Carl knew his sexuality at the time of his death. However, being berated constantly for not being a hard guy, a thug type or for not being tough (what in the world does that mean–Carl played football for his school); for being sensitive, religious, and studious, it was certainly drummed into Carl’s mind that he was an aberration, a freak, and therefore must be gay, when he could barely figure out what that indeed was, except that it was considered wrong.

He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming…

Let’s not get revisit the ridiculousness of the Tinky-Winky non-controversy any more. It takes more than just the media to “create” homosexuals. If anything, the entertainment industry has attempted to create an atmosphere of equanimity about them and who they are; this is in response to the gay rights movement, and the fights regarding marriage equality and AIDS. Morgan is also clueless about his own history: the same thing happened with  blacks entering the mainstream and entertainment media and being normalized in something as mundane as a commercial.

Moreover, why is he still playing movie characters with indeterminate sexuality, if he is so concerned about how homosexuals are created? Pot, kettle, black.

He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death.

Right. I helped to create you, so I have the right to take your life if you don’t please me or run counter to what I think you should be. Or damn if you will do anything to embarrass me, so I will take you out or drive you away from the family/the community/life. And I will resort to murder in order to resolve or to correct this “mistake.”

Sorry, but there is no logic to this kind of thinking. It shows his sickness and brutality and that of hundreds of thousands of others who believe this stuff.  It shows only self-hatred and the death of love. That’s not a family, it’s the Taliban. The KKK. The Nazis. Scott Lively and David Bahati in Uganda.

I intimated earlier that for heterosexual black men, old ways of doing things are not working as well in the 21st century. Black men who acknowledge a revision is warranted of what it means to be a man are working against the negative aspects of street and prison culture and misogyny which pervades the black community at this moment as well as the kind of Christian fundamentalist extremism and reaction that makes unity and healing nearly impossible. These struggles and controversies and even dialogues have been going on for at least thirty-five years.

One can say that these struggles have been within family–within the black community, that is–and are not as noticeable or deemed important enough to be covered by the larger mainstream media unless it becomes too big to ignore. And then, there is no context, when they are offered to the viewing public.  So those offering commentary on primarily white gay news websites that black people are naturally homophobic, or saying that black people can talk a mean streak about oppression, but refuse to give other minorities their due, have no flipping clue about what has been going on with blacks and why some of them think and act the way that they do, except what has been dealt with in the media, and then on a very superficial, sensational level. There’s a bit of racism in these comments as well. Yes, there are black people who are homophobic (and I will call them out on it), but not all of them have drunk the kool aid.

If some blacks appear to be resistant to other minority groups getting theirs or slow to recognize their oppression, this myopia has been based on economics; they are always the last hired and the first fired. Moreover, many gays have possessed whiteness to fall back on when all else has failed, whereas for gays and lesbians of color, there is no hiding place down here.  They are more likely to be within their own communities of color, because there is still racism in the gay community.  However, it doesn’t let black people completely off the hook.

I’m amused at times at how some blacks like Morgan and others try to justify the “superiority” of a penis entering a vagina, against a penis entering a anus, or a clitoris or a vagina being tongued or fingered by another having a vagina. They thump the Bible.   Some even go, “how can you…?” and then stop in mid-sentence and roll their eyes revulsed. Because they cannot positively visualize or imagine how they could be otherwise is not a way to judge homosexuality. Such judgments remain subjective.   They don’t realize that for centuries, a vagina and a clitoris was considered as unclean and as threatening as an anus in Western culture, and still is in certain cultures in Africa, Asia, the Near East and even Australia.  All in all, those who run counter to heterosexuality must be an aberration, must be a sinner, and must not be tolerated.

I don’t claim to understand homosexual desire and sex myself, and I am heterosexual.   I have gay friends and have loved a couple like family. I only know what I feel when I feel love or lust for someone of the opposite sex and he with me. And I imagine that the feeling is the same when gays express love or lust for each other.  How we might express that love or lust in our separate bedrooms and closed doors may be different, but the feeling is the same.   That’s where I unite with and where I stand up for gay people on issues like marriage equality, AIDS, and other concerns, because through my own heterosexuality, I wouldn’t want to lose that feeling for anything.


~ by blksista on June 13, 2011.

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