30 Rock Tackles Tracy Morgan’s Gay Gaffe The Right Way—With Humor

GLAAD makes statements about TV shows all the time—but it’s rare the gay media watchdog actually pops up in a show.  That’s what happened last night, though, on 30 Rock, when the show finally addressed star Tracy Morgan’s outrageous “joke” that he’d stab his son if the kid was gay.

In the episode, “Idiots are People Two,”  Tracy Jordan (Morgan’s 30 Rock alter ego)  tries to apologize after making some tasteless gay jokes during a standup routine. Only instead of reaching out to GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, he calls on the makers of Glad trash bags.

That’s actually pretty funny. Even GLAAD’s Senior Director of Programs Herndon Graddick told the New York Times, “I thought it was hilarious. We’ve been called worse than trash-bag manufacturers.”

There was strong message folded inside the humor, though: Liz Lemon tells Jordan/Morgan, “You’re a public figure and, believe it or not, the dumb things you say may influence or hurt people. You need to apologize.”

We gotta say, that’s a much better approach than some “The More You Know” PSA during a commercial break.

Watch the full episode, the first of two parts, on NBC.com


Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #entertainment #30rock #glaad(gayandlesbianallianceagainstdefamation) stories and more


  • Franco

    This is terribly written with egregious spelling mistakes. Proof read before you click the submit button please!

  • Adam

    Are you serious here? 30 Rock equated “If I had a gay son I would stab him” with “If I were gay I’d sit around staring at my penis all day.” They mishandled this controversy in a completely offensive way.

    They already didn’t have a great track record, which I didn’t mind because they’re equal opportunity offenders and their gay stereotypes were at least funny. But this really pushed the show over the edge for me. They shouldn’t have bothered with the issue if they could only process it in an un-funny, insensitive way.

  • RomanHans

    I appreciate how they specifically, repeatedly called Morgan an idiot. However, in the show he joked that if he were gay, he’d just look at his own penis all day long. Kind of different from saying you’d stab your son if he was gay.

  • Cam

    So the author thinks that Greys anatomy should have just made jokes about what the actor said?

    Yes, by all means lets never hold anybody accountable.

    I have a feeling if Morgan had said “If my kid is born a girl, I’m going to drown it, women shouldn’t live.” that Tina Fey wouldn’t be so quick to laugh it off with jokes.

  • JayKay

    So the right way to handle a guy saying he’d murder his gay son is to joke about it, but the right way to handle any perceived slight against transgendered people is to SHUT. DOWN. EVERYTHING…

    Yeah, ok.

  • Jesse

    I loved 30 Rock, but they should
    have fired Tracy Morgan. If a comedian had said the same thing about killing their daughter because they hate women or killing their child if they were part black because they hate black people, they wouldn’t still be working. Why is ok for him to say it about having a gay kid? Why is this site supporting the show’s poor judgement to make light of this when gay kids are killing themselves ever day because of the kind of hatred Tracy Morgan has spewed? I find it offensive, not funny.

  • pedro

    @Jesse: I assure you, not one gay kid has killed themself because of Tracy Morgan…It’s over people move on, life is pretty short and your real enemies are busy planning against you.

  • Tyler

    Regrettable as Tracy Morgan’s comments were, he’s done a lot more than other offenders in trying to make amends. Also, as for the way his character got in trouble on the show, I prefer the route 30 Rock took rather than having him say something ACTUALLY offensive and start this business up all over again. I think they handled it really well. Liz’s words to Tracy about it really said all that needed to be said.

  • Eric Auerbach

    @Cam: Well said.

  • DavyJones

    @Adam: @RomanHans: So you’re suggesting they should have repeated on national TV what Tracy actually said in his show? Or else something equally offensive? Think about what you’re suggesting…

  • Zack

    get over it , it was just a bad joke.

  • HeroQueero

    The only correct way to handle Tracy Morgan is to fire him. This slap on the wrist only sends the message that this type of behavior is acceptable as long as there are belated apologies afterwards. Why is it that comedians still have permission to say “faggot” in their routines but can’t say “nigger”? Both words are slang born of hate and should not be tolerated if we want to create a world of equality.

  • Cinesnatch

    What Pedro, Tyler and Zach said.

  • Trip

    @Adam: It’s not the job of a sitcom to address the real life lives of the actors appearing on it. The fact that they made the effort is applaudable. The fact that they succeeded in being funny while doing it is even better. It’s not about speaking to Tracy Morgan’s specific incident; it’s about bringing the subject to a wider audience, and pointing out the importance of actors thinking before they speak.

  • newcityspot

    I have said very offensive things in the past. It’s how we learn how not to think. Tracy Morgan made a lot of sincere effort to apologize, just not so publicly or with a PR agent screaming every little thing he’s done. When I found out what he said, I completely hated him and wrote him off because I loved his character on 30 Rock. But my respect returned when I researched what he had done to make amends to the public and as part of personal growth. I didn’t like that what he said on 30 Rock wasn’t nearly as horrible as what he said during his stand-up, but that could have meant a second round of apologies and having to relive the horrible experience. Time to bury this and give him a second chance. If he fucks up one more time, then we know he’s done.

  • dontturnaround

    What a bunch of bitter queens. He said something offensive, and apologized. Get over it.

    30 Rock is a funny ass show and Tracy Morgan is hilarious.

  • Tackle

    I agree that people are too bitter and holding on to this like some grudge.
    Which is very unhealthy. Tracy Morgan has gone above and beyound to make amends. He’s done a lot better then many of the gays who are criticising him. How many of us have NOT said or done something critical, or damaging to others (real people) based on looks, age, race, education or gender. And do not believe we have done “anything” wronge, refusing to apolgise???
    He’s done a helluva lot better than most of us.

    And we can speculate all we want: If he said this about his kid, if it were a girl. If someone said this about a kid who were black or handicapped. We’ll never know and it wasen’t said about these.

    What was said and heard are Tracy Morgans apologies. Time to move on to fight bigger battles and real enemies.

  • Charnel

    @dontturnaround: THANK you.

    Yes, what Tracy Morgan said was terrible, but the show (both within the program and in the real world) went about handling it better than virtually any other organization I’ve seen. It’s been a long time since the original incident, and since then there have been repeated apologies, genuine condemnation and disappointment from Tina Fey herself, and numerous and prolonged efforts at amends. Note that this episode is NOT the first response they had to his actions.

    I’m probably wasting my energy, I guess, because as humorless as some of you guys seem to be I can’t imagine you ever having enjoyed a comedy of any kind.

  • Jesse

    I think 30 Rock is a brilliant show. That being said, We all get to choose what products we buy and that choice is in essence an endorsement of those products. I make the choice to no longer watch any show that Tracy Morgan is involved in. Quite simply, I don’t want to further his career by aiding his success.

    I can’t reconcile his words with my own beliefs.
    That doesn’t make me a bitter queen. It’s not really necessary to name-call or attack someone who has a differing opinion from your own. If my career depended on me making nice after making bigoted hate speech, I’d go above and beyond to save my career as Tracy has done. At the root of it, I think he is a hate-filled man.

  • ankan bose

    This is a good read :)

Comments are closed.