James Franco Roast: Why So Many Gay Jokes?

John and I finally got around to watching the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco. There were some very funny moments (i.e. Bill Hader asserting that "Dave Franco" sounds like a made-up brother name). There were some not so funny moments (Natasha Leggero hoping that Bill Hader will be the Phil Hartman of his generation. Too soon. Actually, never not too soon for "fingers crossed, your wife will kill you in a brutal murder-suicide" jokes.)

Then there were the gay jokes. And there were many of them. Hundreds. Rape jokes. Jilted faux-lover jokes. Jokes about every kind of appendage in every kind of orifice. I found these jokes to be at the same time offensive and tired. Hacky. The kind of comedy you'd get from a comedian who's been dead for twenty-five years. Why is someone's sexuality still a go-to burn? Haven't we moved beyond that? It reeks of try-to-hard masculinity and homophobia. And you'd think that some of these guys, especially the younger ones like Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, and Andy Samberg (especially Franco, himself), would've moved beyond this tired schtick by now.

The only one who has, it seems, is Aziz Ansari, who also took a lot of ribbing during the roast for being (hahaha, the comedy) Indian. It was pretty much the only thing people poked fun at him about, the fact that he is of Indian heritage. To his immense credit, Ansari called everyone on their crap, making fun of them for their tired Indian jokes and wondering why everyone felt the need to crack wise about other men being gay.

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