WATCH: Canadian Prank Show Features Gay Punch Line. Funny Or Foul?

Just for Laughs: Gags is a Canadian hidden-camera show along the lines of Candid Camera—hapless bystanders are roped into various embarrassing scenarios and wind up laughing at their own silliness. The show is generally silent, making it ideal for international distribution and use on airplane TVs (It airs in Mexico, the U.S., England Portugal and elsewhere.)

In the above clip, various male pedestrians are tricked into holding a stop sign that actually reads  “I am Gay,” attracting the unwanted attention of an über-gay motorist (note the pearl necklace).

It’s about as funny as most Just for Laughs bits—i.e. not incredibly so—but is it offensive to the gay community? Even though the “victims” take the prank in stride, the motorist is so flaming he practically sets his car ablaze.

But maybe that’s just the nature of a silent gag? Charlie Chaplin wasn’t exactly known for his subtlety.

So what do you think—harmless fun or offensive? Speak up in the comments!



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  • Paul

    Nah, not offensive at all. Gave me a laugh, and like the article says, none of the “victims” seemed upset and took it in stride. It’s much better to see that than “victims” getting all upset and riled up.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    I wasn’t offended a bit. What works about the clip is the happy/silly/”ah shucks” responses by those set-up — each laughed over the bit, each seemed almost, “well I caught someone’s eye”

  • Jaack

    Aren’t there enough NEGATIVE stereotypes in the public’s pea brains without
    reinforcing it? Where is the positive messages or the messages that show stereotypes
    are wrong?

  • Draskle

    One thing that the gay community has always been able to do is laugh at itself. I think with everything going on in the world we’ve forgotten how to do that. I think the better thing to take from this video is that they all thought it was funny, which is a perfect example of how people’s thinking HAS changed.

  • Charley

    Not offensive. Slight giggles.

  • JAW

    Funny as Hell… I laughed at the guys wondering why the guy was coming on to them… Tooo Funny

    @Jaack… get a grip… you must live a sad life

  • MEJ

    I know one of the actors on JFLG and he’s gay. I doubt he would be part of the program if it was purposely anti-gay. Since the show is silent, the actors have to ham it up because of lack of dialogue.

  • DouggSeven

    Canadians by in large don’t have the same stigma about sexuality as the rest of the world does. I’m not saying we’re in a perfect utopia, but a silly joke like this wouldn’t make your average Canadian fly off the handle. This show has a history of similar jokes like cross dressing and same sex flirting. It’s harmless. The show is fun and sometimes howlingly so.

  • Mrs. Robinson

    If you are offended by this then you need to let the seams out because you are too uptight.

  • Kev C

    Cheap cornpone buttcrack humor is always offensive, if you think about it.

  • Rob

    It’s set in Montreal, one of the gayest places in the world.

    The gag reels have participants selected in advance. They likely knew what the sign said. The participants also have to sign release forms consenting to being on tv. Harmless fun.

  • Carlos at Gags

    Thanks for the article and we’re loving “and relieved” by the feedback.
    We obviously get a lot of comments and attention when we post gags that involve a gay character. As most know there is no malicious intent or message that we are trying to put forth, we are just trying to make people laugh. I’m particularly fond of when we make fun of priests! ;)

    If anybody has questions or complaint please reach us through our social spaces http://www.facebook.com/jflgags, http://www.twitter.com/jflgags or email us at [email protected]

  • DavidBC

    This is probably the funniest thing I’ve seen on that show.

  • dave

    Dumb, unfunny, and amateurish – just like all Canadian TV.

  • Rockery

    I love this show, there is no issue, the guys are sometimes in thongs, butts out etc. It’s just fun, it’s one of those shows that you never seek out to watch, but it’s always on and once you’ve stumbled upon it, you watch it until the end.

  • calvin

    @Carlos at Gags: “we are just trying to make people laugh.”
    At gay people using homophobia.

  • JayM

    Offensive…. not exactly. Although gay baiting is a typical thing for bullies to do. It’s mean and juvenile and potentially dangerous. But the people who do this show thrill in publicly humiliating people for profit. You know these guys were the ones who would taunt gay kids in high school to make themselves more popular.

    What their real point was here, as in all their “gay” skits, is to try to drum up a homophobic response and laugh as someone is uncomfortable or reacts badly. Not far from the Jenny Jones show bit that ended in a dead gay man, Just For Laughs is playing with fire.

    Their big hope, of course, is that someone does explode with anger or homophobia so they can get their viral Youtube moment. It’s kinda pathetic and very out of character for Canadians. If they had done “I’m Jewish” and had an old Barbara Streisand look-alike flirting with them in the hopes of laughing at creepy and harmful stereotypes, it would be slammed by everyone. But since it’s the gays…we’re expected to just laugh at ourselves. And told to “get over it” when we don’t find it very funny.

    Personally, I think the gay community has been laughed at quite enough, thanks.

    Saying that “a gay guy works there” doesn’t prove much. It was a gay guy who orchestrated the wave of anti-gay ballot initiatives that won George W Bush a second term and gay men like GOProud who pay Anne Coulter 6 figures to tell a room full of them that “you don’t deserve civil rights, you’re not black.”

  • Edouard de Mas

    Hilarious. C’mon people, take a deep breath, this is really not an issue. We’ve got Bachmann, Santorum, homeless gay youth and a whole laundry list of real problems. Some social stereotypes exist because there are real people in our community who are one way or another. In certain ways I’m a gay stereotype by working with art & design. The flaming queen exists too, and they have as much a right to exist as anyone else. I’m not in the slightest offended to be associated with them, in fact, I’m proud of their courage to be who they are.

  • DouggSeven

    @JayM: Would you feel better had the sign said ‘I’m Dumb’? Would you then start a protest defending dumb people? I doubt it.

    You think too much – have a drink and relax.

  • Chris

    Situational comedy…. lets not be boring. I think thats fair game. I didn’t see anyone react with disgust when they realized what they were holding. Its just funny!

  • Red Assault

    I’m so sick and fucking tired of gay people being the butt of straight people’s humor and then being told “you need to learn to laugh at yourselves!!”

    The gay community can laugh at ourselves but this is straight people laughing at us. And in the wake of the Tyler Clementi case, maybe we’re not really in the mood to be shot on video wihout our knowledge so straight people can laugh at us.

    And don’t tell me I need to have a drink and relax, that’s just what they told women in the 50s who were trying to stand up for their rights, too.

    Btw, their new “laugh skit” involves making a child think he’s just seen someone killed by decapitation. These are not funny people, they’re very mean-spirited bullies.

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