Saturday, March 08, 2008

Nicely said, Ellen

OK, ok, I know it was ridiculous that Ellen DeGeneres topped a list of all time Gay "Heroes" not long ago. (In fact, I hope she'd agree. And it's not like she compiled the list.) I've liked her since the early days of her sitcom, and she's always struck me as a decent person.

Ellen recently discussed the tragic murder of Lawrence King, and I thought what she said was right on.

Regarding the monologues comment, Red and I have been saying the same thing for years. All the late nights hosts are guilty of this, but I'm particularly disappointed in Conan O'Brien, a comic I otherwise admire and enjoy. Why? He's much too talented a comedian to be excused for the lazy gay jokes he relies on so routinely. I hope Ellen's widely-heard comment will provoke some reflection in NY and LA.

In the world of Conan/Jay/Jimmy/Craig, it's routinely the case that to be gay is to be a punchline. I'm not saying gay people shouldn't ever be the butt of jokes. Just that it's dangerous to constantly imply that being gay itself is a joke. Defusing straight audiences' gay panic through humor is one thing (a healthy thing), but not when it's done in such a way that says one group is superior to another.


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