Jay Leno? I'm not laughing.

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Stronzo, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    What follows is a forward from friends here on Cape Cod of a message from Jeff Whitty, New York playwright whose play "Avenue Q" is currently a huge hit on Broadway. I've never been able to stomach Jay Leno and this guy hits the nail on the head. I've been forwarding it (as asked) to everyone I know.




    April 20th, 2006

    Dear Mr. Leno,

    My name is Jeff Whitty. I live in New York City. I'm a playwright and the author of "Avenue Q", which is a musical currently running on Broadway.

    I've been watching your show a bit, and I'd like to make an observation:

    When you think of gay people, it's funny. They're funny folks. They wear leather. They like Judy Garland. They like disco music. They're sort of like Stepin Fetchit as channeled by Richard Simmons.

    Gay people, to you, are great material.

    Mr. Leno, let me share with you my view of gay people:

    When I think of gay people, I think of the gay news anchor who took a tire iron to the head several times when he was vacationing in St. Maarten's. I think of my friend who was visiting Hamburger Mary's, a gay restaurant in Las Vegas, when a bigot threw a smoke bomb filled with toxic chemicals into the restaurant, leaving the staff and gay clientele coughing, puking, and running in terror. I think of visiting my gay friends at their house in the country, sitting outside for dinner, and hearing, within hundreds of feet of where we sat, taunting voices yelling "Faggots." I think of hugging my boyfriend goodbye for the day on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, and being mocked and taunted by passing high school students.

    When I think of gay people, I think of suicide. I think of a countless list of people who took their own lives because the world was so toxically hostile to them. Because of the deathly climate of the closet, we will never be able to count them. You think gay people are great material. I think of a silent holocaust that continues to this day. I think of a silent holocaust that is perpetuated by people like you, who seek to minimize us and make fun of us and who I suspect really, fundamentally wish we would just go away.

    When I think of gay people, I think of a brave group that has made tremendous contributions to society, in arts, letters, science, philosophy, and politics. I think of some of the most hilarious people I know. I think of a group that has served as a cultural guardian for an ungrateful and ignorant America.

    I think of a group of people who have undergone a brave act of inventing themselves. Every single out-of-the-closet gay person has had to say, "I am not part of mainstream society." Mr. Leno, that takes bigger balls than stepping out in front of TV-watching America every night. I daresay I suspect it takes bigger balls to come out of the closet than any thing you have ever done in your life.

    I know you know gay people, Mr. Leno. Are they just jokes to you, to be snickered at behind their backs? Despite the angry tenor of my letter, I suspect you're a better man than that. I don't bother writing letters to the "God Hates Fags" people, or Donald Wildmon, or the Pope. But I think you can do better. I know it's "The Tonight Show," not a White House press conference, but you reach a lot of people.

    I caught your show when you had a tired mockery of "Brokeback Mountain," involving something about a horse done up in what you consider a "gay" way. Man, that's dated. I turned the television off and felt pretty fucking depressed. And now I understand your gay-baiting jokes have continued.

    Mr. Leno, I have a sense of humor. It's my livelihood. And being gay has many hilarious aspects to it -- none of which, I suspect, you understand. I'm tired of people like you. When I think of gay people, I think of centuries of suffering. I think of really, really good people who've been gravely mistreated for a long time now.

    You've got to cut it out, Jay.

    Sincerely,

    Jeff Whitty
    New York, NY
     
  2. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    You don't make people laugh on TV at 11:30pm, gay or straight, by talking about bashing or ignorance. You tell light-hearted jokes and do political satire.

    I seriously doubt that Mr. Leno is a bigot. He's just a comedian. An entertainer.

    Besides, Stronzie, people laugh best when they laugh at themselves.
     
  3. geitjeshoeder

    geitjeshoeder Active Member

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    I just hate it when comedians start picking on ethics groups, gays, lesbians, arab-americans and people who are for instance overweight. Just pick on the Bush Administration... they deserve it big time!
     
  4. madame_zora

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    I think comedians are funniest when they make fun of a group to which they are a member, it's less funny when they are not. I don't know if Leno is in fact a bigot, but how often does he make fun of fat rich white guys?

    Nobody but gay people really know how much society already dumps on gay people, so I think the playwrite's points are valid. It's time for society to move on from satirizing gay people as clowns. I mean, most white comedians no longer make jokes about black people being lazy or mexicans being greasy, so I think straight people could find better fodder than trying to insinuate that all gay people are queeny.
     
  5. Shelby

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    Here comes Shelby the parrot -

    As long as members of the majority are less free to make fun of minorites (or call them names) than vice versa there can be no equality. The inference being minorities are weak and in need of protection.

    sqawk
     
  6. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    I agree Peckie...when it's funny.

    But Leno's relentless. I've seen it. It's why I've stopped watching. Were he to ridicule an ethnic minority with such complete abandon I suspect the hew and cry of "foul" would be heard far and wide.

    I once watched a Leno show a long time ago when he was interviewing Hal Sparks who was playing Michael Notvotny on "Queer as Folk". He ridiculed him and chided him for 'having to kiss a guy'. He relentlessly made Sparks feel so uncomfortable it was palpable. Mr. Sparks was put in a position of defending his profession in an effort to counter him.

    Were someone to mention the "right" kind of three-way, I suspect Jay would snigger (in that high-pitched manner he has) in complete agreement and understanding.:rolleyes: (by the 'right' kind I mean the two woman one man since television is rife with references to "and not the good kind of three-way either)

    While straight guys setting the standard for acceptable sexual behavior may not to you be frightening, to this writer it's an abomination as the current term "Lesbian chic" will surely attest.
     
  7. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    No Shelby. Not 'weak', just lacking equal rights and obviously fair game for comedians with limited talent.

    And until we have the same rights you enjoy, I'll keep 'sqawking'.

    What Jana writes is key. Either the rules apply across the board or everyone becomes free game. There can be no "oh yeah, it's them we're talking about, and let's continue to think all gay men act like Jack MacFarland and Richard Simmons so it's funny":rolleyes:
     
  8. GoneA

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    I doubt that Jay Leno is a bigot, although, in truth, no one (the public) really knows. However, I will say he does excessively make gay puns so as to be a little unsettling amongst the gay population (and others, too).

    Although, that is, I'm only speaking about the episodes that I've seen. I don't consistently watch The Tonight Show ... or any show, seeing as I don't own a television set.
     
  9. dolf250

    dolf250 New Member

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    I hardly watch T.V. at all anymore- it’s pretty much all trash. To put Leno poking fun of people in perspective we have to remember he is a comedian who is judged on how many people he can make laugh regardless of the subject. During the Michael Jackson trial he made fun of Jackson almost non-stop. As I recall from the news they were considering calling Leno at the trial (he is apparently a friend.) This tells me he will say anything about anybody if he thinks his audience will like it. Does it make it right to poke fun of gay people? Not at all- but as long as his cheque is based on ratings…
     
  10. Matthew

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    So, anybody know any hetero jokes?
     
  11. B_RoysToy

    B_RoysToy New Member

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    Thanks you for sharing playwright Whitty's message with us, Stronzo. I've watched Leno enough to fully agree with Whitty's stance regarding the so-called comic's poor taste slamming homosexuals for a laugh. It's taken years and years to overcome making light of the black race, but at least it's become unacceptable among intelligent and compassionate individuals. We have to hope those like Leno will soon be enriched with both of these attributes and we'll see a dramatic change in their behavior. Bless you for your compassion and demonstration of intelligence.
     
  12. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    By example: Were Leno to make "Amos and Andy" type references to blacks or laundry references to the Chinese I suspect we'd see much more of the heterosexual audience take issue. But after all it's just those silly fairies anyway and everyone knows they're superfluous, right? What's a little good humor among the "good old boys"? No harm done, eh?

    Check or no check, his reputation is based on decency and fair play. I've noticed that he appeals to a very low common denominator generally. His comic debasing of homosexuals (men it seems only) is not in the least amusing to me as a homosexual man.

    And, after all, I get to say since I am one.
     
  13. D_alex8

    D_alex8 Member

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    How many heteros does it take to have sex with a gay guy?

    Less than one --- 99.9% is enough in most cases. :rolleyes:

    And for the record, I agree with Stronzo 100%, especially in terms of relating the issue to the "Amos and Andy" representations of yesteryear, which are (hopefully) unthinkable today.
     
  14. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    To Madame_zora:

    There's a station my boyfriend and I watch called "Logo". Perhaps you've heard of it. It's the "gay cable" channel. It covers all things gay and to that end it's fairly successful.

    They have a comedians series which is exclusively gay comedians poking fun at gay men and women. It's hysterically funny for the most part because people like me can identify with the place from which the humor comes. It's like Chris Rock in his act where he bashes black people - and much as I think some of Chris' stuff is over the top - he's critiquing/criticising his own group.

    Your comment about "funniest when they make fun of [the] group to which they belong" is dead on target.

    UPDATE: In an effort to find the name of the comic series on Logo I did a Google search under "Logo channel comic series" and I found this link:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1563328/posts

    Dolf? This is what people like me are up against. Read those comments and tell me I'm over-reacting.
     
  15. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    Do I sense a double standard, here? Here's a quote from The Jesus Thread on Celebrity Endowments:

    If any one religion is allowed to stamp out freedom of speech, then we have no freedom of speech.

    No religion can be toppled simply by people making a few jokes. And if it can, then it's a very weak religion indeed.

    In the case of this thread, just substitute the word "minority" in place of "religion."
     
  16. D_alex8

    D_alex8 Member

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    There is a difference between "humor" that seeks to reinforce pigeonholing stereotypes; and something that ironically calls accepted thinking into question. I will be the first to admit that it is a very fine line indeed, as both this thread and the other one make clear.

    I do have a problem with the suggestion that an empowered hegemony (Christianity) can simply be exchanged with a minority (gays) in that equation too, though.
     
  17. Lex

    Lex
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    I agree with Stronzo and Zora on this one.

    The whole concept of the majority needing to be able to put down the minority to garner equality is nonsense.

    I am a minority within and minority (gay and black) and the whole "why can't WE do it/say it? It's not fair!" speech is the MOST tiresome of all speeches.
     
  18. mindseye

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    Dear Public,

    I'm going to protest Jay Leno's stereotyping of gay people by being a stereotype myself: the drama queen. I will do this by invoking tear-jerking and melodramatic images -- first of a gay tire-iron victim, then of a gay smoke-bomb victim. Since I, too am a victim, I will mention in the same paragraph that high-schoolers once called me names (horrors!)

    Now I will use the word "holocaust", in case my point hasn't been made dramatically enough. I'm entitled to use the word "holocaust", since high schoolers once taunted me. In fact, I'll use it twice, and I'll call it a 'silent' holocaust, in hopes that the incomparable Andrew Lloyd Webber might score it.

    In order that this letter will be attention-getting, I'll address it to someone famous and respected like Jay Leno, instead of someone you've never heard of who's in a position to do far worse things to homosexuals. In fact, I won't even address the letter to the producers or directors of The Tonight Show, or even the head writers. No! I shall address it to the guy paid to read the jokes, and not to the guys who wrote them. After all, "Jay Leno" gets far more hits on Google, and I so love attention!

    Were it not for your meddlesome publicity on your widely-watched show, Brokeback Mountain might never have turned a profit, nor created such a buzz among the members of AMPAS that the movie earned more award nominations than any other movie this year. In the future, please allow our labours of love to remain obscure, and in no way call attention to them. As a playwright myself with a 'huge hit on Broadway', I find it hard to convince people what a victim I am when I'm cashing in my giant checks, and you're not helping!

    Sin-queer-ly!
    Jeff

    P.S. What do you think of my hair?
     
  19. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Invoke whatever you like. And click my link in my previous.

    It appears Jay's onto something ....
     
  20. Lex

    Lex
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    4 guys walk into a bar in t-shirts, cargo shorts and flip-flops. They proceed to get hammered and tell really loud jokes while arguing football and sports. None of the women give them the time of day because they are druken assholes so they go home, jerk off and fuck each other...


    WAIT...
     
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