Update: Morgan has apologized for the error on Twitter: “OK, this was embarrassing. And disrespectful. And I’m sorry. I’d never heard of him before, but that’s no excuse. #fail”
Original post below
Patrice O’Neal’s death from complications of a stroke Tuesday prompted an immediate outpouring a grief and some touching tributes from his friends and fans. It also gave CNN’s Piers Morgan an opportunity to make a rather embarrassing gaffe on live TV, as Gawker pointed out.
“It’s a sad day for comedy with the death of Patrice O'Neal, who I know that you knew,” Morgan said to his guest, Dane Cook. “She died of a stroke today. I want to take a quick look at Patrice on ‘Jimmy Fallon,’ to remind everyone just how funny she was.”
Of course, that snippet of O’Neal’s “Late Night” interview revealed to those not in the know that the comedian was a man. But Morgan didn’t miss a beat, proceeding to call O’Neal a “he” and a “very funny guy.”
Ironically, O’Neal had joked about people thinking he was a woman in a different part of the very Fallon interview Morgan’s clip was from.
During the interview, Fallon complimented O’Neal on his controversial brand of humor, to which he replied, “That’s why nobody knows me. That’s why a lot of people thought I was a woman.”
“No one thought Patrice O’Neal was a woman,” Fallon said back, laughing. Guess not, Jimmy.