We’re not the only ones who thought the petition to marry Bert and Ernie was a stupid idea, former The Man Show host Adam Carolla thought it was stupid too. In fact, he spent about 8 minutes on his podcast riffing about how he also thinks it’s stupid to teach kids to respect transgender people and asked, “When did we start giving a shit about this? About these people?” So this makes him the white Tracy Morgan, right? Except instead of threatening to stab gay his imaginary gay son, he’s hating on trans-people and saying that the gays need to “just get married and please shut up.”
OK, before we get to GLAAD’s requisite denouncement and Carolla’s requisite non-apology, let’s look at what Carolla said exactly (or if you’re too lazy to read the transcript below, you can just listen here and then skip to the end of the pull quote):
“When did everybody get fuckin’ lumped in with the gays? Really, I mean what percentage is transgendered, y’know what I mean? I mean, let’s just say I was a politician and I was like, ‘Hey transgendered folks, I don’t need your vote.’ I don’t think I could get elected? What do they make up, thirty percent of the population? Sure. ‘I went to school with a bunch of transgendered guys and now I work with a bunch of ‘em.’ What the fuck? When did we start giving a shit about this? About these people?
We gotta work it out with the—and now there’s all these variations where like, ‘I’m a pre-op, transgender, trans-neutral, trans-fat.’ Shut the fuck up! No. ‘I’m having hormone replacement therapy, but I still have my penis, but I’m not gay, but I’m attracted to men.’ It’s like what the fuck? I can’t do the math. I even, every time I see Chaz Bono I don’t know what, my cock looks at me and goes, ‘Uhh??! What do I do?’ I’m like, “I dunno, hide behind the balls. They’ll protect you.” They’re just a giant trampoline, they deflect anything that comes at you; the balls are very, they’re scrappy. Mm-hmm.
At this point, Carolla spends a long time talking about how “old-school” and tough his balls are, saying that his balls used to “walk twenty miles in the snow just to beat off” and that his generation’s balls “stormed the beach at Normandy.” We’d find all the testicle talk odd, except that he once hosted a show regularly featuring “The Juggy Girls” jumping on trampolines and a game where losers could get a “Sumo Wrestler Tea-bag.” But we digress.
Carolla’s co-host Emily Rosen continues reading from the stated aims of the Ernie and Bert petition and Carolla pipes back up:
Can the gays shut up? Just get married and please shut up? You’re ruining my life and what’s the, what does the ‘BLT’ stand for again? Oh, OK. They’re not “gonna save many worthy lives” [by marrying Bert and Ernie]. Yeah, Bert and Ernie butt-fucking are gonna save a lot of lives; it’s gonna be awesome. ‘Can you spell felch?’ What are we doing?! What is going on?
[His co-host says that the folks at Sesame Street "fired back" by stating that Bert and Ernie are not gay, they're just puppets]
Well sure, they’ve got their fist up guy’s asses. Literally up felt asses all day long. Of course. Can I say this? What’s with all the fucking training that’s going on? Like, I don’t feel like I had any training and I’m fine. Y’know what I’m saying?
[His co-hosts both agree that that's debatable] …
I want an apology from all the Asians and all the transgendered and the gay, the lesbian, bisexual, transgender community. Shouldn’t [the LGBT acronym] be something that like spells ‘YUCK’ or something? Y’know what I mean? Y’know like an acronym?… It’s important that I teach my kids about guys who wanna have their cocks cut off and a vagina put in their place. Alright. I’ll get to that as soon as I get home. ‘Hey kids, wake up. Y’know, there’s a small percentage of Americans who are really angry at their cocks. And they like them surgically removed and, uh, a hole put in their place. And it’s very important that you treat them with a certain amount of respect. It’s 1:30. And yes, I’ve been drinking. Natalia, sorry for peeing on you, but it was dark.’
So let’s start with the fact that this is completely unsurprising. Carolla’s entire schtick is wise-cracking, macho asshole—a low-brow, blue-collar type of comedy that passes off trite misogynist, racist, queerphobic cliches as “risque” comedy. Deservingly so, he has nowhere near the stature of Tracy Morgan, though Carolla does have a live tour, a podcast, and occasionally pops up on TV shows that need a loud mouth flapping his gums.
As GLAAD points out, while Carolla didn’t threaten to kill anyone a la Tracy Morgan, he did perpetuate the same hateful stereotypes used to bully, belittle, and bash transgender people—an especially callous thing to do in the wake of two transwoman murders in DC, another recent slaying in New York City, and the 3rd anniversary of transwoman Angie Zapata’s murder.
If Morgan were to provide any roadmap to what will happen next, GLAAD would ask Carolla to do the promotional walk of shame forcing Carolla to take a break from his tour, issue a formal apology on TV, meet with transpeople, and then sit alongside GLAAD while he apologized for his actions just long enough to get out of there as quick as the hell possible. But GLAAD will not be treating Carolla like they did Morgan.
As expected, Carolla issued this non-apologetic response: “I’m sorry my comments were hurtful. I’m a comedian, not a politician.” Ah yes, the old “I was only joking line.” If you were only joking then you can say whatever you want, right? Rape women, torture children, kill the president—it’s all in good fun! Eh, no.
In response, Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD said, “Adam Carolla has a history of making anti-LGBT and racist statements. Networks and advertisers should remember that attacking people who are different from him, and following it with empty apologies, is just a regular part of Carolla’s routine.” That is, while Morgan said homophobic things before his “stab my son routine,” he had never apologized for it. Carolla has… over and over and over again to the point that his apology is meaningless.
So rather than take Carolla on a parade of public penance, GLAAD’s out to show repeat-offender Carolla that words really do have consequences. “We’re going to be reaching out to our network and studio partners, as well as the development executives we’ve worked with, to let them know that this incident needs to be taken seriously when considering him for future projects.”
Sincere, teary-eyed apologies and admission of fault don’t really match Carolla’s tough guy routine. But if he doesn’t apologize, then GLAAD or other organizations could likely notify his live tour venues about his hateful remarks and even organize LGBT, race, and women’s groups to protest his appearances, or even buy tickets to heckle his performances, which could really make his tour a living hell.
But before Carolla decides whether or not to stick to his guns, he should know that his words really do shit on a misunderstood minority that already suffers greatly at the hands of privileged, presumptuous and ignorant people like himself. GLAAD points to a recent landmark study about trans-phobia and reveals the following:
- Transgender people can be legally fired in 35 states for being transgender. They are twice as likely to be unemployed.
- Transgender individuals live in poverty at nearly four times the national rate.
- Over 25% reported that they had lost a job due to their transgender identity.
- They are twice as likely to be homeless.
- 41% have attempted suicide, more than 26 times the rate (1.6%) of the general population.
Words do have consequences. It’s OK if Carolla doesn’t understand everything about trans-people. It’s OK even if he wants to joke about his lack of understanding. But acting like trans-people are in the wrong and deserve to be mocked and disrespected just for being themselves, is ignorant. No, Mr. Carolla—you are in the wrong and while not all of us will mock and disrespect, we will force you to wise up and realize that your words do have consequences. So take responsibility for them—y’know… “like a man.”