Using the topic of sexual orientation to get a few laughs is something many comics are guilty of doing (and it usually works out fine as long as it is good-natured and free of blind hatred — this isn’t one of those times).
With what the gay community has had to endure in the past and still even today, it can prove to be a tricky subject for a standup comic with the chance of coming off offensive always there. Tracy Morgan crossed over from good-natured-ribbing territory right into homophobia-land during a 2011 show in Memphis, Tenn.
It is unclear how it got started, but for some reasoren Morgan somehow found a way to go from a standup act to an anti-gay tangent. It wasn’t documented on video but according to reports, it started off bad and only got worse by the sentence, escalating from a distasteful joke to borderline-offensive commentary until Morgan finally positioned himself in a place from which he couldn’t return. Even though there isn’t a known video of this incident circulating anywhere, Morgan’s outburst was well documented and the venomous lines he spewed were quoted in many major news sources around the country, gaining more traction than an F350 on a dry, desert highway.
Whether Morgan actually believes this nonsense is up for debate, but what isn’t is the fact that he put himself in the middle of an ongoing social problem (homophobic bigotry) when he expressed such disrespect toward the gay population (who are still caught up in a fight for equality in America). Some of Morgan’s lines included accusing gays of being “whiners,” also claiming he would stab his son if he found out he was gay and declaring that homosexuality is a choice and not something anyone is born with (and that is really just scratching the surface of what he said that night).
Morgan has since apologized repeatedly and went out of his way to show the regret he has about that show in Tennessee, but it’s near impossible to shake that image once its been painted by the media.
“I'll kill my son if he acts gay."
Watch a video of Morgan’s public apology below.