Jason Alexander Apologizes For “Cricket Is Gay” Joke. What Was He Thinking?

If an actor makes a gay joke on TV and nobody watched it, is it offensive?

We didn’t even know Seinfeld‘s Jason Alexander had made a public faux pas until GLAAD sent us an alert about his apology.

Last Friday, May 25, Alexander was on the Late, Late Show chatting with Craig Ferguson, when he teased that cricket was a “gay sport” as opposed to a manly one like baseball.

“You know how I know [cricket] is really kind of a gay game? It’s the pitch. It looks like nothing—if you slow it slow motion, it’s kind of a… It’s the weirdest… It’s not like a manly baseball pitch; it’s a queer British gay pitch.”

Wait a minute—baseball pitches are manly?

Anyway, after some consideration—and conversations with gay friends—Alexander released an apology via Twitter:

A message of amends.

Last week, I made an appearance on the Craig Ferguson show—a wonderfully unstructured, truly spontaneous conversation show. No matter what anecdotes I think will be discussed, I have yet to find that Craig and I ever touch those subjects. Rather we head off onto one unplanned, loony topic after another. It’s great fun trying to keep up with him and I enjoy Craig immensely.

During the last appearance, we somehow wandered onto the topic of offbeat sports and he suddenly mentioned something about soccer and cricket. Now, I am not a stand-up comic. Stand up comics have volumes of time-tested material for every and all occasions. I, unfortunately, do not. However, I’ve done a far amount of public speaking and emceeing over the years so I do have a scattered bit, here and there.

Years ago, I was hosting comics in a touring show in Australia and one of the bits I did was talking about their sports versus American sports. I joked about how their rugby football made our football pale by comparison because it is a brutal, no holds barred sport played virtually without any pads, helmets or protection. And then I followed that with a bit about how, by comparison, their other big sport of cricket seemed so delicate and I used the phrase, “ a bit gay”. Well, it was all a laugh in Australia where it was seen as a joke about how little I understood cricket, which in fact is a very, very athletic sport. The routine was received well but, seeing as their isn’t much talk of cricket here in America, it hasn’t come up in years.

Until last week. When Craig mentioned cricket I thought, “oh, goody – I have a comic bit about cricket I can do. Won’t that be entertaining?”. And so I did a chunk of this old routine and again referred to cricket as kind of “gay” – talking about the all white uniforms that never seem to get soiled; the break they take for tea time with a formal tea cart rolled onto the field, etc. I also did an exaggerated demonstration of the rather unusual way they pitch the cricket ball which is very dance-like with a rather unusual and exaggerated arm gesture. Again, the routine seemed to play very well and I thought it had been a good appearance.

Shortly after that however, a few of my Twitter followers made me aware that they were both gay and offended by the joke. And truthfully, I could not understand why. I do know that humor always points to the peccadillos or absurdities or glaring generalities of some kind of group or another – short, fat, bald, blonde, ethnic, smart, dumb, rich, poor, etc. It is hard to tell any kind of joke that couldn’t be seen as offensive to someone. But I truly did not understand why a gay person would be particularly offended by this routine.

However, troubled by the reaction of some, I asked a few of my gay friends about it. And at first, even they couldn’t quite find the offense in the bit. But as we explored it, we began to realize what was implied under the humor. I was basing my use of the word “gay” on the silly generalization that real men don’t do gentile, refined things and that my portrayal of the cricket pitch was pointedly effeminate , thereby suggesting that effeminate and gay were synonymous.

But what we really got down to is quite serious. It is not that we can’t laugh at and with each other. It is not a question of oversensitivity. The problem is that today, as I write this, young men and women whose behaviors, choices or attitudes are not deemed “man enough” or “normal” are being subjected to all kinds of abuse from verbal to physical to societal. They are being demeaned and threatened because they don’t fit the group’s idea of what a “real man” or a “real woman” are supposed to look like, act like and feel like.

For these people, my building a joke upon the premise I did added to the pejorative stereotype that they are forced to deal with everyday. It is at the very heart of this whole ugly world of bullying that has been getting rightful and overdue attention in the media. And with my well-intentioned comedy bit, I played right into those hurtful assumptions and diminishments.

And the worst part is – I should know better. My daily life is filled with gay men and women, both socially and professionally. I am profoundly aware of the challenges these friends of mine face and I have openly advocated on their behalf. Plus, in my own small way, I have lived some of their experience. Growing up in the ‘70’s in a town that revered it’s school sports and athletes, I was quite the outsider listening to my musical theater albums, studying voice and dance and spending all my free time on the stage. Many of the same taunts and jeers and attitudes leveled at young gay men and women were thrown at me and on occasion I too was met with violence or the threat of violence.

So one might think that all these years later I might be able to intuit that my little cricket routine could make some person who has already been made to feel alien and outcast feel even worse or add to the conditions that create their alienation. But in this instance, I did not make the connection. I didn’t get it.

So, I would like to say – I now get it. And to the extent that these jokes made anyone feel even more isolated or misunderstood or just plain hurt – please know that was not my intention, at all or ever. I hope we will someday live in a society where we are so accepting of each other that we can all laugh at jokes like these and know that there is no malice or diminishment intended.

But we are not there yet.

So, I can only apologize and I do. In comedy, timing is everything. And when a group of people are still fighting so hard for understanding, acceptance, dignity and essential rights – the time for some kinds of laughs has not yet come. I hope my realization brings some comfort.


Jesus Christ, could that apology have been any more drawn out?

We appreciate that Alexander seems to understand how stupid his comments were but this prolonged mea culpa reads more like he’s trying to put out a Michael Richards-level PR fires than admit he stuck his foot in it.

Seriously, a nice little “It was stupid of me to go on about how gay cricket was” would have sufficed. That’s why they limit Twitter to 140 characters.

But let’s get one thing straight, as it were: This wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark. As Alexander admits, this was a whole bit that he kept in his pocket for years. He actually kind of forced the conversation toward cricket with an awkward segue from Las Vegas.

Every guest on every talk show is prepped by a P.A. in the green room. For all his talk of Ferguson’s show being “spontaneous conversation,” Alexander knew he was going to be talking about his poker playing and cricket.

So this is a bit worse than an actor making a limp wrist on Leno.

But we don’t think Jason Alexander has some deep-seated homophobia in his heart. We’ve actually met him and he’s totally comfortable around gay people. He did a passable job stepping in for Nathan Lane in the film version of Love! Valour! Compassion! And lets not forget that Seinfeld helped show millions of Americans how silly being afraid of gays and lesbians was with the “not that there’s anything wrong with that” episode, among others.

It’s more likely Alexander—a nebbishy, overweight character actor—is just a little desperate to fit in among the popular crowd. He’s wearing a ridiculous toupee for God’s sake. (We’ve all seen you bald, Jason—we know it didn’t miraculously grow back!) While his desire to be one of the guys doesn’t excuse the rather stupid joke, it does explain it.

What we want to know is, why didn’t Craig Ferguson call out Alexander on his misstep? Ferguson’s a funny guy—he could’ve found a way to upbraid Alexander while still making the audience laugh.

Speaking of which, when are we going to get an apology from the Late, Late Show audience, who seemed to find Alexander’s dumb pantomime a laugh riot?

We’ll be checking our inbox.

Video: CBS via  Towleroad. Photos:

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  • Captain Dean

    Queerty – what more do you want? The apology reads very sincerely, and well, Jason has always seemed like a nice, reasonable person IMO. It was a lame joke for which he apologized and explained himself. Is that not enough?! Also, to make a crack about him being overweight and bald was unnecessary and frankly unkind.

    I love you Queerty, and you’ll always be in my first class cabin, but no soup for you on your next flight!

    Xoxo Dean

  • v

    He apologized and fully explained himself, fine. Why didn’t Ferguson call him out? Are you kidding? I’m sure he thought nothing of it. He regularly makes jibes and jokes at gays expense. He’s a funny guy who can’t resist going for the easy cheap shots.

  • samwise

    This is actually the best way to apologize. If only true homophobes would realize this.

  • Alexi3

    If only true homophobes would read his “lenghthy” apology they might actually learn something. He explained how the reflection process on an issue actually works so that you come out in the end with a well thought-out reason for why you are doing what you are doing. In this case apologizing. Our Right-wing foes are badly/sadly in need of such instruction. I, for one, appreciate what Jason said and why he said it.

  • Kieran

    He should have apologized for wearing that ridiculous rug on his head while he’s at it.

  • Larry

    you complain about the length of his apology (which did involve a long setup) but the you went on and on…jason has played many gay characters back in the days when you saw few…give him (and us) a break

  • Steve C.L.

    I wish he could have “gotten it” before that garbage spewed forth, but it’s also true that that was a thoughtful, candid, well-crafted, and appropriate apology. (Much better than Dharun Ravi’s.) I was not put off by the length: It implies thought, and respect for the issue. A quick Twitter nonpology can be like, “I don’t actually care about the content of the complaint; let’s just settle out of court to get past this as fast as possible.”

    I do wonder some about the psychology behind his choice of that bit. It was truly surprising. He had seemed gay-friendly before. Is it the case that now that he presents himself with a full head of hair, he’s drawn to taking on the persona of an in-group a-hole?

    And I really hope there were no gay kids, or their straight peers, out there watching that bit.

  • Ed Norton

    The thing is, he shouldn’t have to apologize. In fact, many people (including a large Gay population) find it EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE when GLAAD and other groups claim to represent them, the proceed to publicly humiliate someone for making a perceived “derogatory” remark toward the homosexual lifestyle, pushing far enought to get that person maligned and fired – even blackballed – because they don’t embrace homosexuality. This is still a free Country, your beliefs are not to be forced down the throats of others “or else” and you need to stop this hate-mongering toward those who don’t support homosexuality. On the same token, Gay marriage is an equal rights issue that will come to fruition one day, but brow beating celebrities who make off-handed remarks will not contribute to the cause.

  • Gay Bacon

    Cricket is gay…Not that there’s anything wrong with that! :)

  • Drew

    *Yawn* Who cares queerty? He apologized and yeah it’s true that cricket can be faggy. I agree with Ed Norton GLAAD loves to take political correctness and censorship to extreme measures.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    What we want to know is, why didn’t Craig Ferguson call out Alexander on his misstep?…Speaking of which, when are we going to get an apology from the Late, Late Show audience, who seemed to find Alexander’s dumb pantomime a laugh riot?

    Hets acting like hets. Why are we surprised? This is what straight people really think of us.

    As Truman Capote said,

    As everyone knows, a fag is a homosexual gentleman who has just left the room.

    And Mr. Alexander’s apology looks like a desperate plea for attention. The man has fallen off the radar, and will do anything to appear relevant.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    @Ed Norton:

    This is still a free Country, your beliefs are not to be forced down the throats of others “or else” and you need to stop this hate-mongering toward those who don’t support anti-gay Christianity.

    There, fixed it for you.

    With people like you, Ed, who needs enemies?

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    I agree with Ed Norton GLAAD loves to take political correctness and censorship to extreme measures.

    GLAAD was doing work to benefit the entire gay community, while you were still cowering in your closet.

  • Polyboy

    Anyone who trots out “Political Correctness” to describe an organization’s work to better a community should read up on the origin of the term and stop bleating what they think it means.

  • Mr.Tim

    Have we truly forgotten to laugh at ourselves? GLAAD needs to take the stick out of their collective uptight ass and realize that in order to be an actual member of society and treated as equals we get to be the butt of jokes, just like everyone else. Otherwise isn’t that asking for special treatment?

  • Drew

    That’s funny enema. I’ve been out since the early 70s while GLADD was only formed in 1985.

  • GinaSF

    Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the ‘clean’ end.

  • Ed Norton

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones:

    Of course you did, like the snarky revisionist moron you are! You know what everybody “means”, right tough guy? No, you completely and idiotically distorted my statement. Go ask your mom to read you a story and stay off the Internets.

  • Josh

    Jesus Christ everyone, lighten up. As a community in general, we need to realize who is actually on our side and not degrade and beat people up for a small blunder in a silly little comedy bit. I mean wow, don’t we have better things to talk about?

  • Rex

    I agree with Josh. GLADD should focus on ending actual discrimination. Not radical PC censorship.

  • Elaine

    I DON’T LIKE THIS THING! AND THIS IS WHAT I’M DOING WITH IT! (throws Jason’s toupee out of 5th floor window)


    Jason Alexander should have stuck to doing McDonald’s commercials like he did in the 80s. At least he played himself when he played that loser character George.

  • Hephaestion

    This long apology is good but it does nothing to help those of us who suffer at the hands of bigots every day. It doesn’t un-do the harm he’s done. He needs to go on Craig Ferguson’s show and say all that.

  • Hephaestion

    Josh, the purpose of GLAAD is to call people out when they dehumanize or defame gays. That is exactly what Jason Alexander did.

  • Chadboy

    Why in the world is Jason Alexander wearing a bad rug when we all know the man is BALD? It’s bizarre.

  • Carl

    The guy can’t win – a short apology would have been dismissed as “insincere” but when he offers a full up apology and explanation, he’s torn apart anyway. What the fuck do you want, Queerty – the guys head on a pike outside the castle gates? And slipping in a weight and hair joke? Will you be posting a one line apology anytime soon? Grow the hell up, he’s proven to be a better man than the Queerty writers!

  • 1equalityUSA

    Jason Alexander wrote, “The problem is that today, as I write this, young men and women whose behaviors, choices or attitudes are not deemed “man enough” or “normal” are being subjected to all kinds of abuse from verbal to physical to societal.”

    I loved the thoughtful apology. We don’t choose our orientations. Other than that, no worries, thanks for the support and sweet apology.

  • Larry

    @Carl: it is not just queerty…these bitchy commenters will never be happy with anything…you wonder why talk about queers? well just read this site…some people will not be happy until the pope personally agrees to marry them and then they should be allowed to fuck on the steps of the vatican during easter services. I’m atheist but hopefully you get my point…things are a million times better than they were 50 years ago although far from perfect BUT being a constantly bitchy queer is not going to make us more liked

  • Captain Dean


    Ahahaha! I’m so glad someone made the reference.

    “You’re bald!”

    “No I’m not – I…WAS bald!”

  • samwise

    Gay people who use term the “lifestyle”, like Ed did above, need to be bitch-slapped. Homosexuality is NOT a lifestyle.

  • Red Assault

    @Gay Bacon: wow. I’ve only heard that about 5 million times. How… ugh, it’s worse than those straight guys who think imitating Borat is still funny.

  • Frank

    Bridge is even gayer

  • Mike

    Carl I agree.

  • Gay Bacon

    @Red Assault: I’m just happy someone else has seen Seinfeld. My friends still don’t know why I put on large, plastic shades and yell “STELLAAAAAA!!!!!” at costume parties lol

  • Pete N SFO

    He chatted about it with his ‘gay friends’ and ‘eventually’ they found the offensiveness…


    Overall, I think he truly means what he says.

  • Charlie

    Why all the toupee hate? I think it looks pretty passable though a youtube video isn’t ideal to be able to tell – if you didn’t know he was bald it would probably take a few minutes of staring to really notice. Everyone says the same thing about Shatner and I don’t get it.

    The apology is wonderful and not one of those “I’m sorry you were offended” numbers we so often see.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    @Ed Norton:

    Ed, no one cares what you think–you’re a nobody with an internet connection.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    Of course you’ve been out since the seventies. That explains your self-loathing; oldsters like you want everyone to be like you were in the seventies–America’s doormat.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    GinaSF, you use your mouth prettier than a $20 whore.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    Have we truly forgotten to laugh at ourselves?

    We’re not laughing at ourselves, Tim, we being laughed at by hets. There’s a difference.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    Josh, the purpose of GLAAD is to call people out when they dehumanize or defame gays. That is exactly what Jason Alexander did.

    Please don’t confuse them with facts, Hephaestion. It upsets people who want to hate GLAAD for doing what they don’t have the balls to do themselves.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    things are a million times better than they were 50 years ago although far from perfect BUT being a constantly bitchy queer is not going to make us more liked

    But you’re still decades behind many other countries, because of queers like you–content to accept the crumbs tossed to you by hets.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    Gay people who use term the “lifestyle”, like Ed did above, need to be bitch-slapped. Homosexuality is NOT a lifestyle.

    There’s no evidence that Ed Norton is gay.

  • Derek Williams

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: But if we keep bitch slapping repentant hets then you can say goodbye even to the crumbs. We’re a minority, remember? Alienate our straight support base and there’s not a thing we can do.

  • billeeboy

    I am not a Jason Alexander fan. However, I was impressed by his apology. He made the effort to explain exactly why most gays found the cricket joke offense. Thus it became a ‘teachable moment’ for any het person who heard the joke and hadn’t found it offensive. It would have been easier for him to simply say he was sorry for any distress he caused. Good for Jason!

    I would also note that the cricket joke would have been found very funny if it had been told by a gay man in a gay club. It just like I, a gay man, can call another gay man ‘fag’ in private or in front other gays but not in front of hets – we don’t want hets to think it is OK if they say it. And it is not OK for hets to call us fags. Same is true among blacks – many refer to each other as ‘nigga’ but would take great offense (rightfully) if a non-black used that label. The linguistic rules for in-group and out-group members are different – and that is just fine!

  • ScaryRussianHeather

    I’ve been saying it for years here (with other who have long abandoned the site like @Romeo). As long as sexuality is the target or punchline, it’s homophobia. Now Jason has learned it. Kathy Griffin needs to learn it. ALL of these late night shows have been overtly hetero since day one.

    Why would you assume you’ve LOST allies with enlightenment? Stockholm syndrome.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    @Derek Williams:

    That was a pretty depressing comment, Derek. How often are we going to have accept this type of “support”? Jason Alexander by his own admission has been around gay people a lot. Yet he still didn’t see why using gay pejoratively, or using queer as a joke was a bad thing. It never even occurred to him as he was telling his little joke, that it was in poor taste. For how many more decades are we going to have to educate straight people? If someone like Jason Alexander doesn’t get it, what hope is there for the populace at large?

  • Derek Williams

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones: Alexander apologised, but that’s apparently not good enough for some activists and commenters who want him to eat his own dirt, cut out his tongue and then be burned at the stake. I believe this baying for blood to be counterproductive.

    Some public figures who make comparable comments try to wiggle free with a defence, but Alexander’s unequivocal retraction at considerable length proves he does in fact “get it”. Public self education like that represents a win. It’s not without good reason that the aphorism says “we learn by our mistakes”, and I believe others learn along with us.

    We’re where we are now in terms of LGBT freedoms because we won the hearts and minds by being good citizens, convincing the heterosexual majority that we are “born this way”, and through proving we’re no threat to anybody.

    Committing acts that lose the very hearts and minds that so much sacrifice has been expended in winning is in my view, the height of foolishness and does disservice to those who expended it, and continue to do so the world over.

    Recognising that we are a minority and therefore need forever to keep the majority onside may depress you, but it’s a fact some of us apparently still need to get used to.

  • 1equalityUSA

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    @Derek Williams:

    Feel free to be American’s doormat, Derek. Some of us hope for more. The equality we have today was fought for by the gay community, something you seem to ignore. Hets didn’t give us anything, we’ve had to fight for everything we have.

  • Derek Williams

    @Mr. Enemabag Jones:

    Far from being an American ‘doormat’ as you so contemptuously describe me, I am a New Zealand national who has lived and worked also in Australia and the United Kingdom, where I now live.

    Since the 1970’s I have placed myself in harm’s way as an openly gay teacher at a time when not only was it an imprisonable crime to be in a same sex relationship, it was perfectly lawful to dismiss teachers on these grounds.

    You go on to accuse the heterosexual majority of doing nothing whatsoever for gay people. Last time I looked, parliament where homosexual law reforms have been effectuated, was almost entirely populated by heterosexual politicians, so your claim is simply factually completely untrue, and grossly disrespectful to those straight people who placed themselves, their families and their employment in harm’s way by associating themselves with the cause of an intensely disliked minority, namely our goodselves.

    I’m afraid you’re being more than a little naiive if you think that a minority can get whatever it wants just by shouting loudly enough. Sure, we had to fight for everything we have, but somebody from the puissant heterosexual majority had at some point to listen, and enough people had to be won over for the discrimination to be eroded. If the majority chooses to withdraw its support, we will go right back to where we all too recently were. That’s why I am against self-importance and over-confidence, and I am certainly dead against attacking people who show a profound willingness to change.

    “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

  • janelle

    Well, bald and fat is better than gay anyday.

  • Derek Williams

    @janelle: Well that’s a recursion paradox, because some people are bald, fat AND gay, so your nasty little comment really shed far more light on your own vindictiveness and very limited understanding of homosexuality, and logical fallacy.

    While obesity is certainly under the control of the individual, neither baldness nor homosexuality can be chosen, because they are handed down by Nature.

    I recommend reading more widely so as to educate yourself more fully, and trying to get out more in order to learn how to be a nicer person.

  • KC

    Um, he’s had hair plugs/transplants some time ago.

  • Brandon

    I agree with you ScaryRussianHeather Kathy Griffin is homophobic and not for LGBT rights with her lame ass “My gays!” BS.

  • Baba Booey

    @Brandon: My gays bugs the sh!t out of me. She never says, “My blacks”. Why not?

  • Mr.Tim

    Wow with all the bitchy backhanded comments being thrown around in this thread it’s no wonder equal rights still evade the LGBT community. I’d like to know what one of you commenters has actually done to advance the cause for equality. Anyone?

  • Derek Williams

    @Mr.Tim: I’ve done plenty as an openly gay teacher and highly public activist, but I do agree with your comment that cattiness doesn’t make us look too good nor advance the cause for equality.

Comments are closed.