Waymon Hudson

Leno thinks gays are a joke

Filed By Waymon Hudson | March 26, 2008 4:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: gay jokes, Jay Leno, Jeff Whitty, Ryan Phillippe, Tonight Show

Towleroad has been doing some great coverage of late night hack Jay Leno continuing on his path of homophobic jokes. The latest shining example of his "gay=joke" mentality came when Ryan Phillippe appeared on his show last week.leno_062707.jpg

Phillippe was promoting his new film and Leno immediately brought up his first acting role as a gay teen on One Life to Live. The role was a serious one about a young man coming out to his father, but Leno mocked the role as a punch line, telling Phillippe to look into the camera and give his "gayest look." Philippe response to Jay's gay jab was to say uncomfortably, "Wow. That is so something I don't want to do."

Yes, there is nothing more embarrassing or funny than "playing gay", huh Jay? There is video of the exchange and more after the jump...

This is not Leno's first offense against the gay community. In 2006, Avenue Q writer Jeff Whitty challenged Leno on his mockery of gay people. Whitty wrote a letter to Leno and even had a phone chat with him, explaining how offensive his continued use of juvenile gay jokes was.

After learning of the latest exchange on The Tonight Show, Whitty released another scathing missive on his website, saying:

I received some criticism for being too heavy-handed with my last letter, so I won't mention this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or this gay face or these gay faces or not to forget this gay face. Which one's the gayest to you?

Along with showing his "gayest look":whitty.jpg

I have no problem with edgy comedy. I actually think that comedy can be a great tool to point out the absurdity of stereotypes and long-held bigotry against some groups. However, there is a huge difference between making fun of ignorant ideas of homophobia and having gay simply be a punch line to a juvenile joke.

When will Jay's ridiculous homophobic comedy routine end? That kind of anti-gay joking actually helps make the more blatantly offensive anti-gay comments (like Sally Kern's or Naugle's) more palatable to the public. It desensitizes people and perpetuates the idea that gays are not normal.

We really need to start holding people, especially those with large platforms like Leno has, accountable for the ideas they spread. Homophobic jabs are not funny. Gay is not a joke. Just ask the multitudes of LGBT youth who are teased and harassed everyday because of the lessons learned from people like Leno.


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Leno is no stranger to making fun of trans people as well. Besides the occasional bit where a Gilbert Gottfried dresses as a woman, he has made jokes about transgender people to the point where we have had to call NBC and General Electric to complain, but to no avail. Maybe there should be a flood of gay people fill his audience one night and heckle him. He was heckled when he came back before the writer's strike was over.

Is it just me, or do I see a double standard between anti-gay jokes and anti-trans jokes. I totally agree that Leno should be condemned for this, but we also had Jon Stewart make a joke last week facetiously accusing a random governor of liking to "lick banana pudding off of the breasts of a shemale." Or when they put up a picture of a trans woman just so they could say "whatever that is." Not to mention that he and Colbert make jokes all the time that end with the punchline "OMG it's a tranny!" That seems a bit more intense to me than "make your gayest face."

And I also recall Marty's blog post about GLAAD being up in arms that Coulter called John Edwards a faggot, but had been relatively silent when Micheal Savage went on a tirade basically about how it's more-or-less okay to murder trans people.

So true. Trans jokes are all over the liberal media and nobody ever calls them out on it. Such a double-standard.

Now Tobi, you have to remember;

Transpeople are the red-headed stepchild of the LGB,,, (and t) movement.

Us uppity trannys need to remember our place at the big ole gay banquet; small table, at the back, near the kitchen door. Just because we are the ones most in need of protections, since we are the most visible, well they will get around to giving us a piece of the pie, after everyone else gets seconds or thirds.

Okay, not everyone in the movement is like that, it just feels that way some times. People like Bil and Jerame, Waymon and Patricia, and all the other wonderful bloggers here are proof that, though we are an unruly lot, we still have support in the movement.

And yes, us trannys are a very unruly lot. Just ask Bil which posts tend to go south faster than flys on bull sh!t.

I completely agree with you, Tobi. We have to condemn all these insults, regardless of who they are against in our community. I would like to think I don't have a double standard when it comes to homophobia and transphobia, although it is a sad and real reality with some in our community. To me, hate is hate. This post is but one example.

Writing one post about one incident does not mean we ignore all other things. It is one incident out of many.

And diddly- you always have my support. I'm more unruly than you could ever be. ;)

Melissa at Shakesville has a collection of gayest looks for Leno in case anyone wants to contribute:
http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/03/gayest-looks-for-leno-collection.html

Ah, but Waymon . . . it's not Leno's fault that kids get beat up in school for being gay. It's OUR fault for making them think it's OK to come out. Just ask The Advocate!

Exactly, Serena. What was I thinking...

And everyone should go to Shakesville and post a "gayest look" picture.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 27, 2008 2:21 AM

I think that it pays to remember that Leno knows that when his current contract is up he is out. He will "retire" a man of great wealth who can play with his exotic collection of motorcars and motorcycles while he spends the rest of his life trying to recapture his greatest moment of "fame."

It is a live show and I watched this clip from Thailand and laughed at it. Let's say Portions of it, because I have not watched the "Tonight Show" in some time. I believe that you are connecting invisible threads to come to some of the above conclusions.

LENO WAS MAKING FUN OF SOAP OPERAS AND THEIR CAMERA ANGLES AT LEAST AS MUCH AS GAY PEOPLE. The laughs were not at the expense of Gay people, but the absurdity of soap operas! Oops! I might have offended someone.

Part of being liberated is obtaining the ability to laugh at yourself. If there can be no humor whatsoever there can be no progress for the Gay cause. If the general public wants to watch Leno they will, but they are going to make up their own minds just as you have. We are rapidly headed for a world of no humor whatsoever if we consider ourselves above being the subject of humor along with red headed, fat legged, funny looking, or ethnic people. May the Spirit of Gilda Radner be with you and "Good Night Mrs. Kalabash wherever you are!"

It's the main reason I don't watch Leno anymore. Instead I watch Letterman or, my favorite, Craig Ferguson.

Leno is and always has been second-rate Letterman. I'm not surprised he bottom-feeds like this.

Way back when, Leno did pretty good stand-up routines, I used to enjoy his HBO specials.

Frankly, I have not watched him since he took over the Tonight Show. Carson will always be the face of that show for me.

leno is such a pathetic wimp. he obviously does NOT feel secure in his sexuality, or he would not feel the need to attack others for theirs.

only men that are totally secure in their sexuality appeal to me...and my medical history doesn't bother them at all. just an observation...

Jarreth Royer | April 2, 2008 11:06 AM

I really do not think that leno's comment was offense. I actually laughed at the "gayest look" joke. We all have to remember that Leno is a comedian, and that comedian make light of things. We can't always be so uptight when someone makes a joke about gays because then we'll be as uptight as the people that hate gays. Besides, I'm the women watching Leno would want to see Phillippe "gayest look".