|Allow Me to Fix Your Dumb Gay Joke, Bro |
posted by Alejandro Morales
on Apr 18, 2011 00:00am | comments
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After a trial run at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Alejandro Morales moved from New York to Philadelphia in 2003 to attend the University of the Arts, where he learned how to write real good. Currently he co-hosts Camp Tabu, a comedy showcase, every second Friday of the month at Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar, as well as the Rant-O-Wheel, an improvised storytelling competition, every first Monday of the month at the Shubin Theatre. He blogs culture, politics, and entertainment for PhillyGayCalendar because he loves you.
A little while back, I wrote a bleeding-heart essay about the use of the fag word in comedy. After that, life somehow continued and I kept on doing comedy, performing at the shows I co-host as well as a handful of open mics in the city. And the homophobic crap really never stops flying. If it's not somebody doing a piss-poor imitation of how gay guys talk (like thisth, sthilly goosth!), it's one of the many explanations for why gay men shouldn't serve in the military (because nobody would be able to stop sucking dicks long enough to shoot people, or whatever. Which is an accurate representation of how I imagine the military, actually! – Just an orgiastic buffet of military porn scenarios as far as the night-vision binoculars can see. But I'm aware that that's not the way it really is, which is why I don't actually go out and join the military. Also I want to live.). But what am I gonna do? I'm not on a one-man crusade to make comedians behave themselves, and being some kind of designated liberal wet-the-bed finger-wagger doesn't suit my cause in this town. I'm just tryna do me.
HOWEVER. I get so annoyed at the stupid, lazy, uncreative gay jokes I have to sit through sometimes, and if I don't do something to address these annoyances, I am going to end up trying to choke out a stand-up comic and then getting my ass handed to me – so to speak – because I haven't actually been in a fight since junior high. So what I'm gonna do right now, is I'm going to take the most recent example of a dumb and mildly offensive gay joke that I've heard at an open mic, and I'm going to fix it so it's less dumb and facepalm-inducing, maybe. Or I'll just ruin it. Either way.
So, I was at an open mic the other night, and your standard pudgy meat-head sweatshirt-and-backwards-hat- wearing bearded white guy comic was up on stage, looking kind of cute in a bearish way, actually, until he makes this dumb gay joke, which goes like, "How about my outfit? I look like a contestant on Gay Double Dare. Did you know that in Gay Double Dare all the challenges involve bowling pins?"
This joke, first off, is not offensive and hateful on par with dropping the fag bomb on some poor unsuspecting homosexual. On a scale of one to picketing-your-funeral-with-Fred-Phelps, it's like a 1.5. Still! It's problematic. Let's talk about why.
My first beef with this joke is that it rests on the very tired assumption that all gay guys ever want to do in their lives is stick any remotely phallic object right up their cornholes and just fuck themselves into eternal bliss with it until Madonna comes home. Not true! And worse, it's hurtful and destructive, because this assumption ignores and erases the lived experiences of the .025% of gay men who are tops.
It also erases my lived experience, because let me just state that I do not generally enjoy having or putting objects in my butt. I can breeze right past traffic cones, fireplugs, and, I imagine, even bowling pins, without even the slightest yearning twitch of the anus. Trust.
For my birthday a couple years back, one of my best friends bought me a dildo. It was a very thoughtful gift, and certainly much better than the text message I got her for her birthday. But! (Ha.) But! It wasn't a dildo in the shape of a penis. It was a dildo in the shape of a blue dolphin, with a little blue dolphin smile on its little blue dolphin snout. While I appreciated the little guy's enthusiasm, I wasn't really keen on using a water mammal for sexual pleasure. Oh, sure I cocked a leg into the air and gave it the old college try, but my heart just wasn't in it, primarily because of the whole dolphin thing. Who wants to have a dolphin in their bathing suit place? Apparently the clerk at the sex shop had said that the bottle-nose made for easier insertion, so my friends and I took to calling it the Ergonomic Butt Dolphin. I put it away in my bottom drawer (not a euphemism BTW) and forgot about it until my parents helped me move the following year.
The point being! – That reducing gay guys to a cartoonish sex act ignores the wide range of other gay things we do. But that broad assumption's not even what's the most irritating aspect of the Gay Double Dare joke. What gets me is that there would be SO MUCH MORE involved in Gay Double Dare than just a bunch of guys in sweatshirts upside-down bobbing for bowling pins. So. Much. More. And this comic felt he didn't have to think beyond, "What's something funny that gay guys can put up their asses?" and leave it at that, and that is just plain lazy.
I mean, GAY DOUBLE DARE. A game show with obstacles that frequently involved messy weird slime and edibles. Think of the food item possibilities! Think of the excited squealing. Think of the jumpsuits.
Gay Double Dare would be catered to the hilt, with towers of flan and pools of au jus waiting to be corrupted by flailing limbs, and streams of organic slime with aloe. The host would be able to make all the naughty jokes about splatter that Marc Summers could never get away with. And speaking of, it's really like I've always said about earning gay jokes by doing the work and sucking a dick first, for context. I'm not sure a straight comic could really own a good Gay Double Dare joke. It would be much better to see, maybe, a drag queen frowning at you and saying, "I look like a contestant on Gay Double Dare. I am a mess on television. I look like I am trying to have fun and get slimed along the way." Or a self-deprecating gay woman could say, "I look like a contestant on Gay Double Dare. I look like I'm wearing something that I don't mind getting ruined completely. Go ahead, spill a bucket of pink gook all over me. No biggie. You vain people can go ahead with your nice going-out clothes, but if the opportunity to jump into a giant ice cream sundae presents itself, only one of us will be ready for it."
Or, you know, something. That last one didn't even need the "Gay" part to work. Which, maybe, is the actual point. Adding "Gay" to "Double Dare" at the open mic really didn't lead up to anything other than a reference to buttsex, and why should an entire community be relegated to a grim alternate Double Dare where all there is is to do is defile oneself with bowling pins, just for a one-off joke? The price is too high!
And that's why I had to fix your dumb gay joke, bro.