Monday, May 30, 2011

Hey comedian, you're maybe gay so clearly you're not funny anymore...

I work with some rather homophobic people. This tends to annoy the hell out of me but it's not something I can really do anything about. This is an actual conversation that took place during a slow period at work the other day.

Employee: "Did you know that comedian Daniel Tosh might be gay?"

Me: "So?"

Employee: "That would suck. I'd feel differently about him if he is gay."

Me: "Really? So being gay is suddenly going to suck all the funny out of him and someone you found formerly hilarious just won't be funny anymore because he might be into men?"

Employee: "I don't think he'll be less funny but I'll just feel awkward watching him knowing he's into men. Plus he tells gay jokes and if he's actually gay, they won't be funny anymore because it's like he's making fun of himself to make it less of a big deal that he's gay and not just making fun of gay people for the hell of it."

Me: "That's ridiculous. If he is gay and does make gay jokes to try and make it less of a big deal, good for him. People shouldn't focus on that anyway. It has no relevance what so ever to whether he's funny or not. If he likes to date men and watch gay porn or go hit up guy bars; whatever. It has no bearing on whether he's funny or not."

Employee: "You don't get it because you support that kind of thing. You can't see it from my point of view."

And he's right. I can't see it from his point of view because I'm just not ignorant enough to think someone possibly being gay is a good reason to stop enjoying them as a comedian. I've personally never even seen any of his videos or anything so I have no idea whether I'd find Tosh funny or not. I do know his sexual preference wouldn't influence me one way or another.

We debate this for another 10 minutes before I give up. We've had this conversation so many times over the last few months. The starter and the scenario are always different but the principle of the debate is the same. We don't ever agree.

I don't even want to entirely change his mind. I understand that not everyone will be comfortable with homosexuality. Which is sad but I realistically know that there won't be a day where every person on the world is comfortable and accepting of it. I just want him to stop letting someone's sexual preference color his view of them as a person. It doesn't define who a person is. It's just another part of the tons of parts that makes someone who they are. Maybe one day I'll get into his head enough that he'll learn to think of someone as an individual with a personality, full of characteristics that make them who they are and stop lumping people together by their sexual preferences and judging them based on that alone. No one should be judged or discriminated against because of their sexuality.


Tim_D_Enchanter said...

I'm sorry, but that employee guy is an idiot.. Humor doesn't change for anything... His argument is invalid... That would be like saying that a guy you thought was white isn't funny now because you found out he was black... It's just stupid on employee guy's part.

People piss me off!

phairhead said...

wow...people are just gross....what was yr employee's point exactly?

Advizor54 said...

I don't want to sound like I'm defending your co-worker, but learning this about someone changes how we see them. It causes us to re-interpret what they say because we now see them as coming from another perspective. Since humor is based on the twist we put on a situation or observation, anticipation and assumptions are a very big part of the humor.

Knowing that he is (or isn't, I haven't checked) gay can change a funny line in to an attack. If you know, for example, that I hate Christians, then an Easter joke is seen as mean spirited. If I never told you that I felt that way, you would hear the joke differently.

My mom LOVED the band Queen for years. This is all pre-MTV. They had great voices, fantastic harmonies, and catchy tunes. Then she saw them on TV in their Gayest glory. And she stopped liking them for a while. It took her a bit to see beyond the appearance and lean to appreciate them again. But, she told me later, she never liked their love songs as much because they seemed to ring false since he didn't love women. It changed her perspective. She got over the whole thing as she mellowed with age, but knowing more about a person changes how we think. It's inevitable.

What we do with that change is up to us.