His offense this time? Making jokes about the mentally disabled.
E! Online has reported that the Arc, a nonprofit that serves the intellectually and developmentally disabled, has called on Morgan to apologize for comments he made during a performance at Caroline’s in Manhattan on Saturday.
During the show, he reportedly said that people should not “mess with women who have retarded kids.”
“Them young retarded males is strong,” he continued. “They’re strong like chimps.” He then segued into a bit about dating a woman he described as “a cripple.”
“Tracy Morgan should apologize immediately,” Peter Berns, CEO of the Arc, told E! “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.”
Clearly what Morgan said was inappropriate. But does it merit another apology?
Personally, I think what Morgan previously said about gays was far more offensive because of the language he used. Suggesting that if his son was gay and didn’t talk to him “like a man” he might “stab him to death?” That’s hateful and not funny, which Morgan has since acknowledged.
Referring to the disabled as “retarded” and comparing them to monkeys is wrong, too. But it seems to fall more in the category of thoughtless and mean moreso than outright anti-disabled.
Under the circumstances, Morgan should probably issue a statement of apology and move on. It’s the right thing to do.
But this incident raises a lot of questions.
For one, are comedians going to have to start apologizing for every demographic group they potentially offend? Because if so, then almost every funny man in America should expect to get a cease and desist letter from NOW.
Or is it only Morgan who is being held to this standard? Right now, in light of what happened earlier this month, that’s probably true. Which means Morgan needs to get smart and watch what he says.
Are we, as a culture, more likely to think “retarded” jokes are okay? Probably so, which this recent public service campaign featuring stars from “Glee” noted. Everyone should be mindful of how they use their words, and the people at the Arc undoubtedly recognize that Morgan’s latest dumb gaffes are an opportunity to again make that point.
Lastly, should Tracy Morgan stop doing stand-up for the rest of the summer? Honestly, that’s not a bad idea. Maybe he can just go to the Hamptons, lay low and spend some quality time with Liz Lemon.