Irish comedian Oliver Callan came out this weekend on Ireland’s Satruday Night Show partly to address accusations of homophobia for presenting a sketch in which he portrayed Irish footballer Paul Gavin as a suspiciously gay fashion enthusiast who carries manbags and wears ridiculously low neck lines. A columnist called the sketch homophobic and Callan responded on TV by saying, “Let’s get the record straight. I’m not a homophobe because I’m gay.”
Too bad he’s wrong.
The 30-year-old comedian isn’t wrong about being gay—we assume he knows that better than anyone. He’s wrong about gayness being a free pass for homophobia. Gays can totally be homophobic. Does the name Roy Cohn ring a bell?
Granted, Callan is no Cohn. But lampooning a public figure often treads the fine lines between humor, mockery and shame. Comedians use jokes to mock public figures all the time. The real question is when does a mincing depiction of a straight public figure devolve into homophobia?
“I mean is it so horrendous to him that people might speculate wrongly that [Galvin] is gay just for wearing manbags? Paul Galvin claims he felt it was excruciatingly difficult to watch me poke fun at his fashion sense and him throwing shapes around Manhattan with a T-shirt that had a neckline down to his nipples. Straight men should not be insulted to be sent up like a gay.”
So it seems possible that others interpreted Callan’s mockery of fashion as a mockery of homosexuality. Perhaps this is, as Tracy Morgan said, all a big misunderstanding.
Bit while we congratulate Mr. Callan for finally arriving on the other side of the closet, it’s a mistake to think that gay people can’t be homophobes or bullies when it comes to calling other peoples gay (think Perez Hilton calling Will.I.Am a “faggot”).