Michael Crawford

Jay Leno Apologizes for Dumb Gay Joke

Filed By Michael Crawford | April 02, 2008 8:58 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: Jay Leno, Jeff Whitty, Ryan Phillippe, television, The Tonight Show

Jay Leno has apologized for the stupid segment on The Tonight Show when Leno asked Ryan Phillippe to show him his "gayest look."

Phillippe was on the show to promote his new movie Stop Loss when Leno started to grill him about his first role as a gay teenager on the daytime soap One Life to Live.

"Say that camera is your gay lover," Leno prompted: "Can you give me your gayest look? Say that camera is Billy Bob [Thornton]--Billy Bob has just ridden in shirtless from Wyoming."

In his statement of apology Leno says

In talking about Ryan's first role, I realize that what I said came out wrong. I certainly didn't mean any malice. I agree it was a dumb thing to say and I apologize.

The attempted joke at the expense of Phillippe and the GLBT community blew up in Leno's face when award-winning playwright Jeff Whitty called Leno out. This was the second time that Whitty has confronted Leno about making homophobic jokes. Whitty then joined with straight ally Melissa McEwan and gay bloggers to keep the pressure on.

One of the most creative responses to Leno's offensive joke was the site My Gayest Look which features lots of gays and straight allies flipping Leno the bird.

Here's to hoping that Leno and other comedians are getting the message that we are people not punchlines and that we will not take their casual anti-gay jokes lying down.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Was this apology issued during his show or as a press release to the homos guaranteeing that no one but us knows what an asshole sounds like?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 2, 2008 11:45 AM

As previously stated (if you watched the clip) Leno was making fun of the hyper close camera locations and odd angles used in soap operas. "The Gayest Look" line came from the fact that one so rarely sees even a half torso on a daytime soap. It is still only about the dollars, but in this instance I would say Leno was blameless in intent, but thoughtless in execution. Something valuable happened here, but it was not a bunch of angry looking people giving Leno the bird. It is reminding media that Gay people are their ideal consumers with more disposable income for more years of their lives than any other demographic group. Just look at who advertises in "The Advocate" and the point is made.

I reiterate that the best way to insure that non offensive language is used is to threaten a boycott of the sponsors of a show being offensive. Start with Fox News, but comedy? Soon is will be impossible to use any word as a punchline if this hypersensitivity prevails and you can't have "My Mother,My family, My nationality, My Gay Wedding" stories.

"I just get no respect, no respect at all" and "Good night Mrs. Kalabash wherever you are." would be too risky for prime time.

Awesome news, Michael! Apologies are good! But I still think Leno has no talent!

Gay people are their ideal consumers with more disposable income for more years of their lives than any other demographic group.

I would watch more Leno, but I have to go shopping for Ferraris and Gucci suits too often.

Now it's time to do something about Letterman's anti-trans Top Ten list last night.

Jay I found your comments on the the Gay thing to be not offensive. I mean isn't that why they call them jokes. And further more, I find gay people to be an abomination to this world. We as humans were never meant to be homosexuals.

Be honest, Michael. A lot of gays take things lying down. Sometimes they do it standing up, too.

Patrick, I'm not sure I do know what an asshole sounds like.

Roc, do you really think that gay people are an abomination? If so, WTF are you doing reading a gay blog? Methinks he doth protest too much.