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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tracy Morgan Blows Past 'Offensive Joke' to Just Plain 'Offensive'

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM

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I didn't want to write about Tracy Morgan. I wanted to write about how last week Marc Maron invited me to L.A. to be in his TV pilot. I wanted to write about how I hung out with the pilot's director, the super chill and Academy Award-winning Luke Matheny. And how Luke realized we had met before and that I had yelled some advice at him. But somehow along the way Tracy Morgan did something that comics know him to do on a regular basis; he said something outrageously offensive. In Nashville he let loose with many derogatory and hateful things about gay people, and not in a funny way like an old-school Andrew "Dice" Clay cassette.

Obviously what he said is horrible. I'm not going to be like many of my fellow comedians and say, "Hey! He's a comic! Can't you take a joke?" Well no, people don't have to take jokes. Offending people is in fact an occupational hazard. And Morgan is in the school of comedy where the offense is an inherent part of the joke. So if you are an offensive comic, you can't be surprised when the rare occasion comes where people are actually offended. Same argument I had when Don Imus got fired.

Tracy Morgan (above) is not Tracy Jordan (below), the character he plays on 30 Rock. I've been in comedy clubs packed with 30 Rock fans stunned to see how much more over the top Morgan is than Jordan. What those people want is "An Evening with Tracy Jordan ... as Written by Tina Fey!"

UP NEXT: It's not enough for Tracy to apologize. He has to make things better.

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W. Kamau Bell

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