Tracy Morgan stops offending gays, starts offending the mentally challenged


It’s horrible, but I actually laughed when I heard this. I wasn’t laughing at Tracy Morgan’s actual jokes, in his new non-homophobic comedic act. No, I was laughing at the sheer absurdity of Tracy’s train of thought, like “They don’t like it when I make fun of the gays, so I’ll just say ‘retarded’ a bunch of times, and everybody should be cool with that.” *headdesk*

So, yeah… Tracy’s new controversy – after his homophobic rant in Nashville a few weeks ago and the subsequent sh-tstorm and apology tour – is that he’s doing jokes about the mentally challenged. Oh, Tracy. I want to take you behind the middle school and educate you about political correctness.

Tracy Morgan stuck his foot in his mouth — again. Only weeks after profusely apologizing to the LGBT community for his homophobic rant at a stand-up performance in Nashville, he managed to offend another group of people: the mentally disabled.

“Don’t ever mess with women who have retarded kids,” Morgan, 42, said Saturday night at a performance in New York City, as reported by the New York Times. As groans of “uh-oh” were heard in the crowd, he continued, “Them young retarded males is strong. They’re strong like chimps.”

The 30 Rock star went on to tell a story about an alleged teenage romance he shared with a girl he described as “a cripple” with a prosthetic arm, a mechanical larynx and a portable dialysis machine.

Earlier in the night, Morgan said something went through his mind “that I can’t share with y’all.” When the audience encouraged him to spill, he said, “I can’t. I just got out of controversy man. This is diabolical.”

“I love you all so much,” he said. “Did I tell you that tonight? I’ve been in trouble lately, and this was big for me that you all came out.”

[From Us Weekly]

It sounds like Tracy was actually trying to bait the audience, not offend them with his offensively ribald humor. Did it work? Well, saying “retarded” once or a bunch of times doesn’t make you lose your job. When most celebrities say it, they face a strongly worded statement from some special-needs interest group, they make an apology and it’s over. Is it right that Tracy faced wide condemnation after anti-gay remarks, but saying “Them young retarded males is strong. They’re strong like chimps” will barely get a “meh” from Hollywood?


Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

40 Responses to “Tracy Morgan stops offending gays, starts offending the mentally challenged”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    So people are gonna police every single show that Tracy does? Thats bullsh*t. He does really offensive comedy…people should really get off his ass. He is the first comedian to do jokes like this but because he is on show like 30 Rock people expect his comedy be a certain way and its just not like that. Tracey is kinda racy and its hard to be vanilla in comedy. Comedy is a freer art. I don’t believe in saying the R word everyday or in a TV interview but being politically correct in a comedy show seems kinda hard.

  2. mln76 says:

    Hmmm I call unfair. I am against using the ‘r’ word, and the joke doesn’t sound funny. But I think it’s pretty standard in the world of comedy. I have heard alot of comics use the term including Jon Stewart, and people on SNL, and possibly others and no one gets offended or calls for a boycott etc. I think he f—ed up big time on the homophobia but I think people should stop hounding him because he was trying to make it better.

  3. Rio says:


    I think the difference is, using “retard/ed”, as an insult, really doesn’t have a lot of weight behind it. Most people don’t even think of mentally disabled people when they hear that word- it just means “lame”. When used in context, as in actually calling a mentally disabled person a “retard”, you’re cruising into some murky waters.

  4. Samigirl says:

    Ehhh….he’s kind of copying some stuff Daniel Tosh did in his stand up…but Daniel Tosh was actually funny when he said it.

  5. mln76 says:

    @Rio sorry but I watch a lot of comedy and yes many people make fun of disabled people in mainstream comedy. Have you watched South Park or seen the movie the did about the Special Olympics? There is a lot of this type of humor out there. I personally don’t find it funny. But I am pretty sure if Morgan did this joke 3 weeks ago no one would be batting an eyelash.

  6. Sloane Wyatt says:

    Tracy is not too smart, just like a male chimp. See what I did there? *Cringing in self disgust whilst typing*

    Offensive comedy kinda sucks. It’s lazy, and it’s not even really funny. Mr. Morgan doesn’t have the sense, or maybe he doesn’t have the material, to lay low for awhile and tap a different comedy vein.

    Tracy Morgan, you Sir, are no Chris Rock, George Carlin, Sam Kinison, Kathy Griffith, etc.

  7. werty says:

    “They don’t like it when I make fun of the gays, so I’ll just say ‘retarded’ a bunch of times, and everybody should be cool with that.” *headdesk*

    Exactly but i think Rio has a point, when i hear the word re***** i dont think of disabled people i think of idiots. I think the word has changed its meaning, still i can see why some people would be offended.

    If he would have said “kill all the retads!!” i would see it in a different way.
    And im still not going to watch 30 Rock anymore so it doesnt matter for me anyway.

    mln76 i forgot about south park i guess there is some “comedy” thats see it that way. Anyway i dont and like i said im not watching 30 anyway.
    And offensive comedy is not funny so i dont watch any of that either.

  8. Dorothy#1 says:

    I am pretty sure he did that whole bit on his HBO special. I watched it a while ago and no one was bitching about it then. It is politically correct or funny? No but no one said boo about it a year ago when it was on TV.

  9. J O'C says:

    Very smart of him to go after a group of a people who can’t_defend_themselves. Imagine if a white comedian described Tracy Morgan as being “strong as a chimp.” People would go crazy. But attack a mentally disabled person and that’s freedom of speech, or as a previous poster called it, “art.”

    It *is* possible to be a successful comedian without being an a$$hat. Ellen Degeneres is a comedic genius who never attacks others.

  10. mln76 says:

    @Dorothy#1 thanks for confirming what I already knew..I don’t approve of him or his comments but this is just piling on.

  11. frankie says:

    @mln76: Agree completely.

  12. Rio says:


    I’m really talking more about the semantics of the word than its use in comedy. Morgan wasn’t using “retarded” in the schoolyard sense (let’s face it, at some point we’ve probably ALL used that word)…he was calling a mentally disabled person a “retard”. It’s a question of usage and context. I truly do not believe that when a person uses “retarded” as an insult, they’re actually comparing the person/place/thing to a mentally handicapped person. The word is just rapidly losing it’s weight as a referring agent.
    The word itself from an etymological standpoint (and Holy crap, I spelled that right the first time!) has been phased out mostly because it was used to describe ALL mental deficiencies– in French, it means “late” or “delayed”. Only in the past 40-50 years when our understanding of the spectrum of mental handicaps grew did the word gain the negative connotation it has today.

    Okeh, sorry if that seemed like a weirdly disjointed rant, but I love the study of word usage and development and I haven’t slept in nearly 24 hours, so I’m not exactly firing on all cylinders…

  13. Drivel Lady says:

    What? I thought you had to be mentally disabled to even enjoy Tracy’s “comedy.”

  14. fannomore says:

    His act has never been any different, even on 30 rock, he is what he is, love him or leave him, I wouldn’t go out of my way to catch his act but he has every right to perform it. Now, if he performed as a Disney star, that would be a problem, but hey, there is an audience out there that enjoy his type of comedy.

  15. Mayday says:

    When did everybody become such cry babies about everything COMICS say?

    Yes, I agree that not all comics have to be offensive (someone gave the example of Ellen who I think is great) but if every comic out there was like Ellen we would have never had people like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Jim Belushi, Gilda Radner etc who paved the way for many of the comics today and during their time, did a few things people probably found pretty offensive and also completely ground breaking as well.

    Personally, I think part of good comedy always HAS been pushing the envelope a little – walking that fine line between whats okay and whats not – and Tracy isn’t the first person to cross it and he won’t be the last. He admitted he went to far, he’s done a lot to apologize, genuinely I think, because he sees he went too far.

    It’s not fair to over analyze every joke he makes from now on and expect him to become this squeaky clean comic from here on out.

    Read this interview of comedian Louis CK on why he defended Tracy:

  16. curmudgeon says:

    So for years now Chris Rock has been making “Whitey” jokes, even though Richard Prior did it back in the 70s when it was actually relevant. Now its just racism. To me it is positive to see black comedians finally get taken to task for this crap. I think its a sign of a dissapearing double standard. Unfortunately it also means political correctness is winning. For instance someone will probably take what I just said out of context and be offended.

  17. ElleGin says:

    It’s bad humour. I’ll admit that, but I still laugh at them. Watch Ricky Gervais and it will make you cringe it’s so offensive, but that’s what the audience pay to watch I guess. I don’t think he means anything bad. In fact, he probably thought he was complimenting them…

  18. UKHels says:

    it’s easier to take the piss out of people with mental illness because they have no power, that’s why there probably won’t be a backlash

    the only time anyone’s interested in it is when some celeb who hasn’t been in the papers for five minutes claims they’ve got bipolar to get attention

  19. the original bellaluna says:

    Richard Prior is thanking God he’s not alive right now.

    Comedy wouldn’t be where it is without him, and we all know he was considered “offensive.”

    (I’m not comparing TM to Richard, because we all know that would be an insult. I’m just saying…)

  20. tapioca says:

    “Retards” can’t fight back and Tracy Morgan knows it, as does every other “comedian” who’s done that schtick way before him.

    If he wants to be contraversial under the banner of comedy, surely you can’t get a more of-the-moment topic than Islam right now? I would love for him to mine that rich vein of material, because if anyone needs to be brought down by humour it’s the religious extremists.

    But, you know, it’s so much more brave and cutting edge to make fun of the disabled…

  21. Laurie says:

    Calling these people “strong like chimps” is disgusting! I’m shocked that anyone would try to defend this as comedy. Was Michael Richard’s rant during his comedy stint using the “n” word funny? No – and neither is this.
    Then again, Mr. Morgan has never been very funny.

  22. bluhare says:

    He’s got more publicity out of the gay slur than he’s had in a long time, so doesn’t surprise me he’d keep it up.

  23. Kimble says:

    I have got used to the way “retarded” is used in American culture, even though it shocked me initially and I am LESS offended by its use as an insult meaning “dumb”.

    However, as the mother of one of those “retarded” kids, Tracy Morgan’s use of the word and comparing a small, developmentally disabled child to a “chimp” is extremely offensive.

    People find this funny or “art”???? – riiiight! I think this says more about TM or them than it does about children lik my son …

  24. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    Laurie you know perfectly well thats not the same thing at all. Micheal Richards was mad and angry, he intentionally tried to be cruel to a black men who heckled him during his show. Get real sweetie. Tracey Morgan is telling some juvenile jokes but its not malicious.

    I think people who are sooo dead set on being politically correct shouldn’t watch certain comedians…plain and simple. Stick with Ellen and Bill Cosby.

  25. Missfit says:

    To be retarded isn’t the mentally challenged, it’s those whom fear in what is different and choose to be ignorant in refusing to understand.

  26. original kate says:

    my problem is that he is still going for the lowest, dumbest form of “humor.” it isn’t funny and it is offensive. what if he said this:

    “Don’t ever mess with women who have black kids…” Morgan, 42, said Saturday night at a performance. “Them young black males is strong. They’re strong like chimps.”

    still not offensive?

  27. Lucinda says:

    First, he compared a mentally handicapped child to an animal. That’s offensive. It’s also stupid on his part and I’m not giving him a pass. I didn’t even know who this guy was before all this and now I’m glad I didn’t.

    Second, words change over time because language changes over time. Gay used to mean happy, then homosexual, and now sometimes it just means stupid or lame. But because of past meanings, the word carries offense and shouldn’t be used so much. Same with faggot which used to mean bundle of sticks but then it took a worse meaning and now we don’t use it except to offend.

    Retarded has followed the same path. It meant delayed. Then it meant mentally handicapped. Then stupid. But for some it offends and it’s easy not to use it when he have words like stupid, dumb, ridiculous that can just as easily be used. So regardless of the context, it’s a word that needs to be eliminated from our vernacular.

  28. Leigh says:

    Re: George Carlin and offensive comedy

    Don’t forget that George Carlin liked to dive in and out of the ‘offensive comedy’ water. Case in point? His stand-up piece “Rape can be funny” OMG offensive but OMG funny at the same time.

    To quote Carlin himself “They’re just words … Its the context that matters”

    God rest his smutty genius of a soul :) I miss George.

  29. k says:

    This is standard fare for a lot of comedians. Plus Tracy has a crippled/disabled brother. Can we please move on?

  30. J O'C says:

    I have a special needs son and iI just want to say how impressed I am by all of the compassionate people on this site. Even the ones who are defending Morgan are, for the most part, not exactly condoning his “comedy” but defending his freedom of speech and reining in the personal attacks.
    If you could see how nasty this debate gets on special needs parenting sites, you’d be shocked. So anyway…you guys are awesome. That is all. Carry on.

  31. girl says:

    I think the most offensive part of it is thatthe homophobic remarks or the comments about mentally challenged people weren’t funny at all. I get “wrong” humor. I really do. I love Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Kathy Griffin but attacking someone who can’t attack back, or wouldn’t judging by the mentally delayed people I know, is just cowardly.

  32. The Bobster says:

    It takes one to know one. Tracy Moron IS retarded.

  33. Ramona Q says:

    He’s a comic, not an ambassador – wow hypersensitivity!

    BTW, retardation is a medical term – it’s not a slur.

  34. Trillion says:

    IMO, this joke is not comparable to his statement that basically advocated killing gay people. Maybe it’s not funny to some of you, but I wouldn’t say it’s in the same ballpark as his homophobic comments.

  35. grayze says:

    I’ve been reading too many comments about this today elsewhere, so pardon me while I rant a minute:

    I think what makes me craziest about these types of events is that, inevitably, whoever makes the (arguably in some cases) inappropriate comment gets defended (not necessarily here, but elsewhere) by a bunch of people screaming, “Free speech! Free speech! Tracy Morgan has free speech! He can say what he wants to say!”

    Well, yeah. And everybody who loathes Tracy Morgan and what he says has the exact same right to air that opinion as obnoxiously and loudly as Morgan airs his.

    I just wish we could stop with this “get used to it, he’s exercising free speech” crap. We all know he’s exercising free speech, and we’re exercising ours.

    Additionally, the fact that something is prevalent isn’t a justification for its existence. I hear a lot of “well, a lot of comedians make these types of jokes, they’re everywhere.” Well…okay? The fact that they’re everywhere doesn’t automatically make them permissible, useful, and/or acceptable. Presence does not justify acceptability.

    I’m not saying there aren’t valid arguments can be used to defend Morgan’s use of the word (you can make semantic arguments and the like) but falling back on flawed premises always makes me crazy.


  36. Ruffian9 says:

    Lowbrow, I-must-insult-somebody-to-be-funny humour. Can’t we do better than this, people?

  37. Emily says:

    I don’t think Tracy’s capable of being funny unless he’s reading from one of Tina Fey’s scripts. Saying young disabled kids are strong as chimps is pretty gross.

  38. Nah, nah & nah... says:

    I remember him when he was megaround and spitting “jokes” back on some chitlin-esque, late night “comedy” show, pre-SNL. We all usta make fun of how sloppy and slow-sounding he was. I’d like to see his IQ scores. He might’ve been mocking his darn self with this latest fiasco. There’s one other scenario, tho, that I’m not sure folks are looking at here.

    Liz Lemon gave him a comeup and he straight ruined it. He was only marginally funny without the bigotry, but coulda carried that for years on the wings of “30 Rock.” But, if he’s on death’s door, there’s no more years for another comeback. I’m wondering if he’s outta control ’cause his health is failing, he’s dogged and dic*ed a lot of folks in the past and he’s in a mortality panic manic episode. The whole transplant thing has me thinking he’s going thru a Sandler in “Funny People” period. If that’s the case, don’t you think he’s just kind of a sad and desperate dude right now? I do.

    Pray for him.

  39. Nah, nah & nah... says:

    Oh, and I have a 6’4″ autistic cousin who would kick Morgan’s natural arse. I wish he woulda said the “r” word to HIS face, death’s door or otherwise.

  40. Hakura says:

    When you screw up this badly, you need to take time & run your material by someone first, to make sure it’s not incredibly offensive.
    When you screw up this badly twice, it’s time to STFU.

    Also, people who don’t want to be offended should stop going to his shows. It’s pretty much a given, at this point. They know what they’re walking into, at least now they do.