EDITORIAL NOTE: This is an opinion piece written by comedian Chad Riden, who does not represent or speak on behalf of anyone, including sometimes himself.
Today, comedian Louis CK took to twitter to defend Tracy Morgan. Over the course of several tweets, he said:
Tracey Morgan said something wrong, evil, cruel, ignorant and hilarious. He was on a comedy stage, not at a pulpit. You have a right to be offended, sound off. As a man who hates violence and discrimination against gays or anyone, I was not offended.
I can have two thoughts simultaneously. 1. Gay people have a right to grow up and live in confidence happiness, honesty and equality. thought 2. Tracey Morgan is ridiculous and I love watching him just go to wrongful and crazy places in his mind and I can laugh.
If every word a person says has to be right and balanced and fair, I will jump off a tall thing onto a hard place. It is clear to anyone with an ability to reason and understand people that he didn’t mean a word of what he said. he was fucking around.
Louis is 100% correct.
I was at the show and although the bit in question did not get laughs from ME, it DID get laughs at The Ryman that night. His “tone” wasn’t any different from when he was talking about butt-fucking “retards” or when he was talking about how women should be at home cooking. Where is the outrage from the retards? Why aren’t we talking about women’s rights right now?
The Tracy Morgan controversy is NOT about Tracy. It’s 100% about TN HB 600 / SB 632 & Stacy Campfield’s ridiculous “Don’t Say Gay” legislation — Both Tennessee state bills are terrible, hate-fueled legislation proposed by Republicans and GLAAD is using Tracy Morgan as a pawn to further their agenda in the state. I do not disagree with them on the real issue at hand, but I do dislike HOW they’re doing this.
LGBT rights / equality is important and Tennessee is a hotbed right now.. but by demonizing Tracy Morgan, the new victim has become free speech. Comedians – and all artists of any medium – must be able to communicate whatever they want, however they see fit. As soon as one subject/word/idea is “off limits” then it’s ALL taboo. Tracy’s words were in the context of a show, NOT a political statement.
Tracy’s act was paraphrased second-hand in text by someone who was offended by a performer who has said similar things many times before. Yes, it was “violent imagery” and it would be “disturbing” IF you thought he would act out literal interpretations of his ACT in REAL LIFE.. but what moron actually believes that?
Sometimes I say the exact opposite of what I mean and exaggerate view points I totally DISAGREE with, but sarcasm doesn’t translate to text. We can’t take the literal meaning of the text of the words comedians say in their ACTS and use that to try to judge their REAL WORLD opinions. Johnny Cash did not kill a guy in Reno. Steven Wright didn’t have a pony. Tracy Morgan wouldn’t stab his kid to death. Use your brain.
If special interest groups who exist ONLY to be offended by things are allowed to dictate what artists can say.. Freedom of Speech is dead.
I have been outspoken in the Nashville media this week. A lot of people I’ve talked to feel the same way. I find it ironic that because of this controversy comedians are now being bullied by the LGBT community.
I’ll be on NewsChannel5’s “Open Line” show tonight from 7-8pm Central (on NC5+) discussing the Tracy Morgan controversy. You can call in: 615-737-7587.
[ UPDATE: Here's a link to video of the first ten minutes of the show. ]
Gay or straight, sane or crazy, I love you – each and every one. Your pal, Chad Riden