the unfunny

Jay Leno Very Concerned Amy Poehler’s 4-Year-Old Is Showing Signs Of Gay

Last week Jay Leno welcomed Amy Poelher on his program, so she could plug her NBC sitcom Parks & Recreation. And as all guests of talk programs do, she and Tonight Show producers worked out ahead of time a few things they could chat about, for which Leno could easily guide her through in what’s basically a monologue with a sidekick. When Poehler brought up how her family gathers ’round the television to watch the New England Patriots battle for greatness, she mentions her four-year-old son Archie blows kisses at the team’s (male) coach. Cue Leno wondering whether Archie’s father, the actor Will Arnett, has a problem with his young son acting all gay, and whether he’s ever going to show signs of interest in the opposite sex. Amy laughs it off.

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So here’s the deal: Was Leno’s remark bigoted, in the true sense of the word? No, and this isn’t something for us to call up GLAAD about. But the remark was homophobic, as in: It was uttered from the standpoint of being scared a little boy might be gay, or showing signs of gayness. Does Leno hate gay children? Of course not. He doesn’t hate gay adults, either. But in uttering the “joke,” he gives one more pass to his viewers — moms and dads, some better parents than others — to look at their kids funny if they show any signs of being attracted to the same sex. That’s a far cry from telling parents they should beat the gay out of their kids, and if any parent did that, Leno wouldn’t be responsible. The same way Sarah Palin isn’t responsible for the deaths of six outside a Safeway. She is, however, responsible for creating a climate of violence-infused rhetoric. And here, then, Leno is responsible for adding his voice to the “those queer kids sure are weird” group think. He’s been here before, when he called on guest Ryan Phillipe to make his best “gay face”. It needs to stop.

I’m willing to laugh at pretty much anything. Crude humor? Bring it on. But children “acting gay” is not a punchline.

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  • American Patriot

    This reminds me of the article that appeared a couple (?) years ago in Esquire or Details magazine about politically liberal, straight men from places such as New York City or Los Angeles. The men said that they personally knew gay men from work, and these straight men supported gay rights & didn’t have any problems with homosexuality. BUT if their own son was gay, or worse, was really effeminate and liked to play with dolls & wear makeup, etc…….then they would be really uncomfortable with that.

  • hephaestion

    Pathetic. With all the kids who have killed themselves lately because they could not bear to continue living as the punchline of every heterosexual’s jokes… and these assholes have the nerve to make a joke inferring that they should be worried that Poehler’s son could be gay.

    Despicable. Fuck Leno. Fuck Poehler. They are both pathetic morons for this exchange.

  • raygstl

    is this really anything new for the jay leno show?

    i mean honestly, every other night it seems theres a transphobic joke mixed in with the rest of his unfunny jokes. his show is such trash and i refuse to watch it.

  • Francis

    It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but with that said, definitely not an appropriate joke. But sadly, it is what most straight men, especially older men like Jay, are thinking. Most because of the fact that having a gay son would basically immutably connect the dad to “gay”, and they cannot handle that because they’re straight, and their MEN, and MACHO, and all that rah rah beer drinking and pussy fucking bullshit and all that insecure hyper-masculinity that most straight men deal with. They don’t want to be associated that closely with anything gay, and they don’t think that they could relate to having a gay son. Gay makes them uncomfortable. What needs to be done to correct this is basically continuing to come out, be open, and basically be yourselves, and people will learn based on first hand knowledge “OK, these people are just regular people, it’s not a big deal.” Also, always call someone out on their homophobic posturing, don’t let people get away with being homophobic in any way. A lot of these men don’t ever realize what they say is anti-gay.

  • Francis

    Insecure people make jokes of things they are personally uncomfortable with instead of addressing their own feelings and discomfort. They make jokes of serious things to essentially diminish their own internal issues, they make light of it so they don’t have to take it seriously. That is the #1 reason why joking about the gays is so prevalent. Because heterosexuals in general, even many of our supporters, are insecure with homosexuality and their own identity and heterosexuality when it comes to homosexuality.

  • LisaW

    I like Jay and agree he is not homophobic but this is distressing in that it sexualizes what are just innocent childhood acts. young kids of 3 or 4 are natually loving and will hold hands with other boys and even kiss them on the check. This is so natural but when adults freak over it, they quickly learn what is unacceptable behavior.

    Its these types of “jokes” that spread the homophobic attitudes, ut oh!!! on no!!! your son may be gay!! how could you be ok with that???? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Jay should think more carefully about this,

  • justiceontherocks

    I’m very concerned that Jay Leno is showing signs of not being very funny.

  • Qjersey

    We should just start a new column: Jay Leno’s homophobic moment of the week.

  • Avenger

    Jay did nothing wrong.
    Stop being so uptight.

  • jason

    A lot of anti-gay male sentiment – such as demonstrated by Leno – is disguised by humor. It’s the stock in trade of Hollywood liberals. This is how they operate. They don’t like the concept of male-male sexuality.

    Keep in mind that American liberalism was built on the notion that women must be encouraged to put out for men (hence the development of the pill and lurid clothing fashions for women) and that women must also be encouraged to behave bisexually (to satisfy the fetishes of men). Men, on the other hand, must dress relatively conservatively and must not be bisexual.

    It’s incredibly important to realize how the liberal mainstream media in the USA influences the general public’s perception of same-sex sexuality in a very sly and cunning way. Depictions of female-female sexuality are skewed towards a feminine (and hence socially desirable for a woman) quality whereas depictions of male-male sexuality are skewed towards an asexual or feminine (and hence socially un-desirable) quality for a man.

    It’s a clever trick. This is how liberals operate. Liberals are thus the enemy, and so are women.

  • christopher di spirito

    Jay Leno is a disgusting thief.

    All the comics in Los Angeles and New York detest him. He sold Conan down the river and yes, his sniveling homophobic remarks are cause for alarm but, his 11PM show has lower ratings than his former 10PM show, so he doesn’t really matter.

    Now that Comcast has merged with NBC, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he gets replaced. Johnny Carson must be rolling over in his grave.

  • tjr101

    I see Jason and American Patriot are one in the same..:P

  • ewe

    Jay Leno is very homophobic and he attempts often daily every night to inject that bigotry to his audience. I loved that Joan Rivers recently said Jay Leno has NEVER said a funny joke.

  • Adam

    @jason: I agree with your premise, but I don’t see how that’s a “liberal” thing.

  • samthor

    who the hell watches Jay Leno?

  • j

    @Adam: It’s not. Actually, the idea that women have to present themselves to men whilst men have to dress conservatively as to differentiate themselves from women and clearly mark out their masculinity is a conservative one. In fact, liberalism (especially the gay kind) spends a lot of its time fighting this notion. Also, the only real reason that men dress conservatively and differently from women is to exaggerate the differences between men and women and perpetuate their status as “other”. That isn’t a liberal ideal, as jason would have you believe. In fact the fighting of this boundary between the white, heterosexual white male and the “other” which is so often abused by him (not jason lol) (think gays, women, people of other races, the poor) is exactly what liberalism is about, especially in its pursuit of equal rights. How jason can say that its because of liberals that a disparity arises between men and women that somehow fundamentally favours women(???) I have no idea. However, hatred of women is a key component of a repressed, disfunctional and unhappy gay man. Reading jason’s other posts its clear he fits this bill.

  • gina

    Let’s see… Conan recently had Gwyneth Paltrow on, and they made 3 rather pointed transphobic jokes within a five minute period. And when I point out instances out like this, the usual response is… lighten up, they’re jokes, Conan is a friend of the LGBT community yadda, yadda. Something being a joke which is soaked in homophobia or transphobia, even from an supposedly ironic hipster comedian (and we’re supposed to be in the joke because *wink-wink* we know Jay is a good guy) are not okay. Much of the racist media/performance in this country’s past was either couched as ‘honoring’ black culture or presented as humor. I’m not saying this is the same as racist humor, but the tactic many have of dismissing any concerns about it because it’s ‘entertainment’ is exactly the same.

  • Bobby

    Jay has never been funny but he has always been homophobic. Ross-The-Intern must love being made fun of or maybe he loves the spotlight more than the humiliation from Jay.

  • Adam

    @gina: I agree with you completely. Unfortunately, we have many gays who benefit from a certain feeling of privilege in the straight world, or have had easier lives, and so they feel that they can tell other gays how to feel and how to respond to instances of homophobia, as in this case. None of us should have to lighten up when we’re being continually attacked and derided in popular culture and comedy.

  • dvlaries

    Leno hasn’t made me laugh since he used to guest on Letterman’s NBC show, and Reagan was president then.

    When he isn’t boring, he’s clueless, and when he’s neither, he’s inane and provincial.

    Even if he were still funny, I’m never forgiving him for killing “Law and Order.” And that’s exactly what his crummy, shitass 10 o’clock show did.

  • Jim Hlavac

    There are still are no fairy tales for fairies are there? Nope. It’s still a fear the boy is gay thing.

  • Adam

    @Jim Hlavac: The real problem is that our culture has such a distaste for male-male affection. When boys are loving toward one another and express sensitivity, regardless of orientation, it’s frowned upon and “corrected.”

  • David

    Jay Leno steals most of his material.

  • Kieran

    How can anybody suggest that Jay Leno is a homophobe? Didn’t he hire Ross the intern to represent gay men to millions of Americans? Afterall, if America can laugh out loud at gay people, how can they then hate them? Right?

  • john

    TV host Craig Ferguson of the Late, Late Show constantly cracks jokes, acts gay silly, and makes fun of gay people left and right on his shows any time the timing is right for such — don’t see anyone taking him to task on his constant gay humor……

    Why is Jay Leno always picked on ?

  • Francis

    @Adam: And this is all because of the type of society we live in: A patriarchal one.

  • .

    Selective outrage such as this is why this site will probably have a relatively short shelf life.

    The site thrives on the snark, sneering, and schadenfreude when the people and institutions it doesn’t like encounters adversity, but becomes apoplectic when the joke or advserity or anything bad happens to its darlings.

    That never really works as a long-term strategy.

  • adman

    If my kid ever showed signs of liking Jay Leno, or even worse, if he called him a “comedian”, I would disown him. We don’t live in an entirely media saturated environment to sit around believing we have to sit through blatant mediocrity prep propaganda like Jay Leno. Nope, get on the street, eat from garbage cans, and try to come up right this time, kid. You’re on your own.

  • Luxury


    Right On JOHN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ve been telling people that for the longest. Craig Ferguson averages about 3 Gay jokes a night.. literally. It’s disturbing.

  • jon

    Jay Leno has never been funny! What do unfunny people who feel entitled always fall back on? They take advantage of other people they consider “below them” and know they can get away with it. I’d love him to ask Oprah or Maya Angelou or even our awesome pres to do their best “ghetto face”! He would be off the air the next day, as he should be now. I have not watched the toinght show since Johnny left, I’m absolutely sure I’m not missing anything of substance.

  • Francis

    I sort of agree with Craig Ferguson, but at the same time, there is the issue of context that one needs to remember. The few times I’ve seen his gay jokes, they don’t come off as anything other than gay jokes. It’s not implied negativity behind it, it’s just a joke that is gay in nature. That’s sort of different than basically saying a dad doesn’t want a faggot son.

  • jon

    whoa!! why we do have to be faggots?!

  • Jeffree

    “Ross the Intern” was probably the tipping point for me in skipping Leno. Ross is vapid, homely & painful to listen to (OMG –that voice….).

    Ross aside, Leno hasn’t had an orginal comedic thought in a decade. Or longer.

  • jason


    You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    The instruction that women can dress in skimpy clothing but men must dress conservatively is a LIBERAL one. How do I know this? All my liberal friends demonstrate it. The man is almost always dressed in loose, abundant clothing whereas the woman is dressed in tight, skimpy clothing. It’s a double standard.

    Keep in mind that two of the hallmarks of the sexual revolution – a liberal movement if ever there was one – are the pill and porn. The two p’s. The two p’s caused a disempowerment of females because it encouraged them to put out for men and to act bisexually for his benefit.

    You only have to look at any straight porn movie to see how female bisexuality is included alongside heterosexual behavior for the benefit of the male.

    I know it might peeve the liberals who read queerty but I’m not here to gloss over the dangers of liberalism. Liberalism has enhanced patriarchy and encouraged the concept of woman as whore-cunt.

  • Adam

    This is one of the most logically argued posts I’ve ever seen on queerty. I hope we can see more of this.

  • pete N sfo

    I stopped watching, Leno, years ago b/c he always makes ‘gay’ the butt of the joke. So to speak…

    It’s a universal truth in comedy still today but it will change slowly. Letterman, regularly makes ‘fat’ jokes. Whatever.

    Get ready for homophobia on a grand scale… the Dorito’s Superbowl Ads are coming & the gays are definitely secure in their role as the silly, femmy, sidekicks.

  • Vinny

    I hate to break it to you homosexuals, I don’t know of any father that’s ecstatic that his son is gay. That doesn’t mean that the father will not be loving and accepting of his son, but I do think the child’s dad may have to examine his feelings about the subject at first. The term homophobic is getting tossed around a little to loosely these days.

  • Jeffree

    @Jason: Yes, the pill leads women to fake bisexuality. Of course, that makes sense—but only to you, to the voices who rage in your head and to your legions of sock puppets (who invariably disappear when you do).

  • L'Herbs

    First, I think we can all agree that whether he’s being offensive or not, Jay Leno is possibly one of the most unfunny people on the planet. Perhaps that makes this less of a big deal, in that who the hell’s watching his crappy show anyway?

    But more seriously, I have to agree that this is possibly one of the most well-written, insightful, REASONABLE posts I’ve seen on Queerty in a long time. Please keep it up!

  • Jaroslaw

    TJR101 – I don’t see how you figure American Patriot & Jason are the same guy. I often disagree with Jason, but for the most part he argues intelligently. Amer Pat in contrast, wasn’t arguing anything, he made a very valid point that people who say they are liberl/tolerant (and they may be) have different standards for their own children, especially sons. So maybe some of them aren’t so tolerant as they think.

    LisaW – great point also. Children are naturally loving and react to adult standards. (this has nothing to do with the post, but they can also be pretty mean little buggers – my mom babysat a lot, and with NO provocation from us, these kids could be just awful to each other – I remember a 4 year old John was SO mean to his 2 year old brother Steve – never would share toys, would always just TAKE what Steve was playing with etc. I suspect Steve got revenge ultimately, since John was a skinny little whiney nerd and Steve was a beefy kid…)

  • Francis

    @Vinny: #2 definition of homophobia=Irrational aversion towards homosexuals/homosexuality.

    #3 definition of homophobia=Irrational discrimination/bias against homosexuals/homosexuality.

    You’re unfortunately right, a lot of straight dad’s would sort of………gasp at the thought of having a gay son or actually having one. The reason for that is homophobia. Actually, the main reason for that is HETEROSEXISM, which is mainly defined a fundamental belief that heterosexuality is superior. It all falls under the anti-gay umbrella.

  • Dax

    JD, quit whining.

  • Andrew

    Jay is a repeat offender (remember the Brokeback Mountain Oscar matter?). And I truly hate him for it. Amy Poehler should know better, too.

  • Jay4Jay

    I think gays can stop being the butt of jokes when they stop camping it up and actively seeking the stereotype paradigms they turn around and complain about. When gays stop thinking it’s progressive to be materialistic, insipid, finger-snapping quip-whipping women, then they can say “stop making jokes about us”. Until then, they (we) are getting what they (we) deserve and ask for. Man up!

  • Jaroslaw

    Jay4Jay – Are you serious? The USA is not a dictatorship where some behaviors are permitted and others not. That is what Freedom is about, to be yourself.

    Your post assumes only standard masculine behaviors are permitted – and anything else may be ridiculed. How did you arrive at this conclusion?

    The point you seem to be missing is that a very large chunk of people don’t like Gays period and if all were manly, they would use another less obvious way to denigrate us. They already do, actually, the other faults are just less used. “Well, it’s unhealthy for one man to_______another man. It’s unnatural, not normal. Or “it’s a mental illness.” “The Bible says its wrong.”

    And picking on a four year old? Now who’s the sicko?

  • Eric

    @hephaestion: She was trying to laugh it off I think. I mean Jay is kinda of a powerful asshole he’s got his show back which I didn’t think would ever happen.

  • dale

    i have found jay leno to be rather gay at times,perhaps “glass houses” is an appropiate comment,or not.

  • JT

    Who cares?

    Jay Leno usually has a gay intern on his show named Ross who was a total queen and out as gay and proud.

    There are other comedians who are very homophobic and worse and they are not Leno. I find Lisa Lampinelli funny but she is homophobic and makes fun of black men.

  • swarm

    Oh snap Queerty has an epiphany? I’ve been posting for over a year that ya’ll ignore and give free passes to the institutional homophobic mainstream pop culture people. Leno, Letterman, Fergueson, Kimmel, radio djs…all of them need to hear about it. Instead, LGBT chose to be loyal to the offenders and bash Adam Lambert, the only ACTUAL gay person who’s fearlessly living his life. i.e. calling him a “vapid artist pushing gay messages” and Speaking of which, where is the blog on his Charity Water campaign that’s raised over $260,000 in 16 days? I won’t hold my breath.

  • Witlo

    Certain performers have the magical ability, no matter how vulgar, crass or outwardly offensive, to show a sincere, consistent respect for their audience (Lisa Lampanelli). Craig Ferguson and Conan O’Brien are welcome to cross that line occasionally because they’re capable of the respect that’s required to enter that territory. Unfortunately, Mister Leno doesn’t comfortably exude it and (along with his writers) should approach certain topics with extreme caution.

  • Shannon1981

    Leno needs to watch it. I am not saying he is a homophobe- I don’t think he is. But the thinly veiled homophobia coming from people who honestly do not hate gays is just as bad as the rest. It also perpetuates ideas about there being something wrong with being gay. And for those saying we get what we deserve for acting the way we do, you are sadly mistaken, and you are encouraging the current climate of too- rigid gender roles in this society. Leno might not be a homophobe, but his jokes are homophobic and harmful. Someone needs to call him to task. Where is GLAAD on this?

  • Jaroslaw

    #51 – The thinly veiled homophobia doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the fact this is a four year old kid. I understand comedians will do almost anything for a laugh – look at the old Jerry Lewis & Bob Hope movies- Jerry was jumping into other guy’s arms or acting as the female in a wedding rehearsal – Bob & Bing “accidentally” kissed a couple times (wiping their mouths after and feigning disgust) but that was 1940 or 50 and this is 2011. I’m confused though, you say you don’t think Jay is a homophobe and imply that it is minor so why would GLAAD get involved?

    Jay4Jay – too chicken to respond?

  • Shannon1981

    @Jaroslaw: Didn’t mean to imply its minor. Do I think he hates gay people? No, I don’t. I don’t really think Jay Leno hates anyone. However, I think he, and others, need to be aware of what they say. They probably don’t even SEE it as homophobia, what they do, when it is. they need to be enlightened and made to apologize. Sorry if you think I thought it was minor. No matter how flippant, until we have equal rights, the idea of ANY homophobic material on mainstream media(or anywhere really) is unacceptable, period. Someone needs to tell him. If we must scare them straight(pun intended) we should.

    and yeah using a kid for laughs- WRONG. No matter how you shake it.

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