Tracy Morgan Apologizes By Joking About “Retarded Kids”
Like many of his other fans, I was horrified by comedian Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant earlier this month, which he somehow thought was an appropriate part of his stand-up act. But his “apology” for saying that he would “pull out a knife” and stab his son to death if he didn’t “come home and talk to him like a man” mostly revealed that Morgan is also prejudiced against the disabled. Some apology, right?
During a stand-up routine at a comedy club in Times Square, Morgan explained that he had been misunderstood. ”My father was the lead singer in the Village People,” he joked. ”I would sing the ‘Y.M.C.A.’ the loudest. I was sitting right there when he wrote the song, my daddy. The Indian was my godfather.”
Morgan had initially apologized in a brief statement, saying that his remarks “clearly went too far and was not funny in any context.” In the following days, he met with youths who had been abandoned after coming out, and even returned to Nashville, the site of his original stand-up routine, to apologize to any audience members who had been offended. The events were organized by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), who claimed that Morgan’s first apology didn’t go far enough.
At the stand-up routine in New York, he thanked his audience for being there. Speaking about the controversy, he said, “I don’t have that in me. I believe gay, straight, anybody, everybody’s supposed to be happy in this world, man.” When he returned to his routine, however, the apology seemed a little less sincere. Apparently he hasn’t learned to check to see whether his jokes are offensive, because he launched into a bit about “retarded kids.”
According to the New York Times, he told his audience, “Don’t ever mess with women who have retarded kids.” As the audience groaned and moaned, he continued, “Them young retarded males is strong. They’re strong like chimps.” He then entertained his onlookers with jokes about ”his alleged teenage romance with a girl he described as ‘a cripple’ with a prosthetic arm, a mechanical larynx and a portable dialysis machine.”
So Morgan is now under fire from disability activists. ”Tracy Morgan should apologize immediately,” said Peter Berns, the CEO of the Arc. “This quote is far too offensive to be excused as comedy, and it is very hurtful to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Mr. Morgan has an incredibly powerful platform from which to fix this, and if he’s learned anything in the last few weeks, he can’t bomb this apology.”
Is this guy ever going to learn?
Photo from alexerde’s Flickr photostream.