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UPDATE: Comedian Jo Koy apologizes for anti-gay slur at Just for Laughs
News update posted Thursday, June 16, 2011
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2011-06-15

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Comedian Jo Koy has apologized after an anti-gay rant at a show he performed as part of Chicago's Just for Laughs comedy festival.

Koy posted on his website, "I sincerely apologize for the incredibly foul word I chose to use on stage last night in Chicago. It was a moment that I regret. I realize that words can be hurtful, which is never my intent. I'm truly saddened if I offended anyone with my poor choice of words, particularly the gay community. Homophobia is not funny."

Hot on the heels of Tracy Morgan's anti-gay slurs, Koy dropped in on Chicago to perform at The Vic Theatre, opening the festival June 15. At one point in his stand-up act he danced in a feminine fashion and said, "I made this dance extra gay since I am not gay." Later his zipper was open to the screams of several female fans in the front row pointing at his jeans. One male voice yelled, "I saw it"—to which Koy reportedly replied, "What are you looking at, fucking faggot?"

Tina Fey recently apologized for what her onscreen co-star, Morgan, said on his free time so this leaves one wondering what Chelsea Handler has to say to her largely gay following about her roundtable friend.

Local lesbian comedian Cameron Esposito emailed Windy City Times her reaction to the account: "I'm bummed to hear this, as I am whenever I hear 'faggot' thrown around at a show. In this case, it doesn't seem to be part of a joke; it was an off-handed insult.

'I frequently see comics use this word to either shock or shame audience members. It's not clever and the laugh ( if there is one ) comes from that shock or discomfort it has caused. A great comic gets laughs based on skill, not tricks. I'm constantly working to get there myself. Stand-ups spend their time on stage talking about what makes them angry, and the ways they feel like an outsider in a mislead culture.

"It's an art based in cultural criticism. Watching a straight male comic get on stage and attack gay folks or throw around an insulting 'Faggot!' while also bemoaning the difficulties in his life, I think that the comic lacks any sort of perspective. I wish those comics would step it up. It's lazy, and disproportionately affects members of your audience in a way you can't understand.

"You may have felt uncomfortable when some dude in the audience talked about your zipper; I get hit on by dudes on the street and at shows all the time. It doesn't work for me, either. Yelling at the dudes normalizes behavior that I bet Jo Koy would be ashamed of offstage."

—Assistance: Andrew Davis


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