Comments

  1. stephen says

    In that moment, the audience hushed while waiting to see if Stewart would co-sign Leary’s homophobia. Leary asked Stewart if the interview was over, a few awkward seconds and nuthin’… Thanks, Jon.

    I once had a client in a negotiation ask if the other side was going to continue to “jew them down” on price. Should I have laughed it up along with them, Jon? I didn’t.

    What a disappointment from someone that I thought ‘got it’

  2. peterparker says

    Denis Leary wrote a book called “Why We Suck” in which one of the chapters was titled ‘Matt Dillon Is A Giant Fag’.

  3. Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com says

    PS: note that other things Leary said…assumingly “curse words”…were bleeped.

  4. peterparker says

    Oh, give it a rest, Stephen. Jon Stewart has consistently proven himself to be a friend of the GLBT community.

  5. says

    Denis was falsely quoting Steve Pasquale in this interview. Steve has had disagreements in the past with Leary on using this word on Rescue Me. And having seen Steve being a big defender of LGBT people in the past, it’s sick that Leary would try to tack this word onto Steve.

  6. Disgusted American says

    Dennis Leary gives me the creeps…he looks like he’d smell like a ashtray….and Im surprised He and david Spade haven’t played Brothers in anything….as they resemble each other.

  7. Musicboy says

    Maybe Stewart didn’t “call” Leary on it because he was caught by surprise? Maybe there wasn’t time? Or maybe it’s simply a matter of Stewart is the host of a comedy show and not some after-school special? Who knows? And who cares, really?

  8. Charley says

    I was actually at the taping with my partner, and wasn’t at all offended by the comment. I’m a big fan of Rescue Me, and think it’s shown an honestly about gay issues that other shows aren’t willing to tackle. AND, it shows that honestly to an audience that might not typically see the issues in their lives.

    Maybe he didn’t use my favorite word, but both he and Stewart are definitely on our side for the long haul.

  9. Dusty says

    Denis Leary quotes someone else saying fag. And here I was hoping this would be a big fucking deal.

  10. Bill says

    But, but haterosexuals who play gay characters are progressive and brave. Give me a break! A haterosexual is a haterosexual. Haterosexuals have to thousands of years oppressed gay people. Past behavior predicts future behavior.

    You can always be brave when you have a gang behind you. How many times have we heard of a single gay person getting beat up by a gang of haterosexuals or being attacked by a haterosexual with weapons while unarmed? Only in haterosexuals heads are they brave.

  11. Mark says

    I don’t get so bent out of shape by the use of that slur–but I do get tired of the implication that gay men are not “real” men.

    But I guess that is the entertaining irony of Rescue Me. The characters are heroes all day as firefighers–but complete disasters in their personal lives, especially when it comes to the areas that truly are measures of a real man–honesty, integrity, accountability, maturity, responsibility–being a good husband and father.

    No amount of fag jokes will change that reality.

  12. Musicboy says

    @ BILL

    You constantly spam gay blogs (using different names) with cheap bigoted slurs about “haterosexuals”. Why? Have all your experiences with straight people really been entirely negative?

  13. TANK says

    Riiiight…it wasn’t just “faggot”…followed up with “faggots” aren’t real men. It was extremely distasteful in an awkward, “some white guy said n igger casually and meant it,” kind of way.

    Am I offended? Not really…he’s nobody to me, and I’d like to keep it that way.

  14. Landon Bryce says

    Part of Denis Leary’s “appeal” is saying offensive things. This is one reason I’ve never liked him, but he certainly isn’t treating gay people any worse than he does anyone else. I don’t even mind that Stewart lets it go– and I bet this did play much less offensively in person. What I do object to– and what I would ask others to bring to the attention of The Daily Show– is the fact that “shit” is bleeped out but “fags” is allowed to stay. They think that anti-gay epithets are more acceptable than crude words for bodily functions. I’m not an advocate for any sort of censorship, but I think the standards used here are based on (probably unexamined) homophobia. Please join me in asking the producers of The Daily Show to look again at their choices of what to censor and what to let pass.
    (212) 767-8600

  15. christopher says

    At the end of the show where credits start to roll and lights go down about 50%, I swear I could see John saying to Dennis “Fag?” “Fag!” “Really? Fag?” I’m not sure where my newfound skill of lip reading comes from and I’ll have to check the Tivo to see if I’m imagining this. Did anyone else notice that little bit if video?

    I know John Stewart is a friend to the gay community and I don’t think Dennis is openly hostile to us, he is from Boston after all (sweeping generalization acknowledged). I think Miller prides himself on speaking his mind unedited and that can sometimes get you into trouble, like my Mom who still thinks someone’s race is an important part of their description. Is Dennis a 71 year old Irish Catholic woman?

  16. Harry says

    You know, it doesn’t make you any less gay or any more manly or “hip” to act as if it doesn’t matter if people use offensive gay slurs. If you’re looking to impress bigots by how cool and not gay you are you are only succeeding in that they are impressed that there are fags that have as little respect for themselves as they have for you. Do you think racist had a higher opinion of black people who dismissed racial slurs and blackface. Hell no. They just used them as these idiots will use you, to make the point that their racism and bigotry wasn’t racist.

    It doesn’t make you look strong and cool. It just makes you look like their bitch.

  17. Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com says

    @ Harry:

    BRAVO!!! One of the best deconstructs of why there’s no excuse for such things…and why some gays try to insist there is…I’ve EVER read!

    AGAIN, to the Self-Loathers: the show DID bleep other things he said!

  18. Musicboy says

    Harry, you are so off-base. Let me be clear; not only doesn’t it matter to me that some idiots use offensive gay slurs, but it also doesn’t matter to me that judgmental gays like you are constantly ready to berate and/or psychoanalyze anyone who doesn’t embrace perpetual victimhood.

    Life is far too short to worry about what anyone thinks of you. Be who you are. If you want to demand an apology from Denis Leary, fine. Good luck with it. I prefer to just roll my eyes and move on. To each his own, okay?

  19. Greenthumb55 says

    1) It was a QUOTE. Get over it people.

    2) The word ‘fag’ is not, never was, and never will be, the “f-bomb”. You all know what the real f-word is. If the word ‘fag’ offends you this easily in this context, time to grow a backbone and a life as well while you’re at it.

    3) I’ve met him – Denis is a good guy who doesn’t hate gay people. Part of his crassness and saying offensive things has always been part of his act, and it’s ONLY an act. Read his book “why we suck” and you’ll see that he hates on everyone in his commentary, but no one should be taking it seriously. If people did then he’s have EVERY special interest group whining about him, which is not the case. Plus he’s a damn good actor.

  20. sparks says

    Jon Stewart has been an unwavering ally to the gay community and has on numerous occasions used time on his show to promote equality, denounce our opponents, and comment on gay rights issues — always, always, always, arguing on our behalf.

    Clearly, Dennis caught him a bit off guard, which for all but old friends of Jon, is nearly impossible to do.

  21. says

    Here’s a statement from Steve Pasquale on last night’s Daily Show:

    “I am an actor, and I live and work in New York City. I can honestly say that half the people I know, love and respect are gay. I simply didn’t say it. I’m not capable of saying it, anymore than describing my black friends as the “N” word. I can’t take any responsibility for it. None. I’m afraid Denis got his wires a little crossed in remembering that story.”

    -Steven Pasquale, Rescue Me

  22. Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com says

    SO, if Pasquale GETS it, why don’t you

    GREENTHUMBS: Your most imbecilic excuse was that it “was a quote.” And, in any case, it DOESN’T matter IF Leary isn’t a homophobe any more than it mattered if Michael Richards was a racist when he went off on the “niggers” during his standup act a couple of years ago. We’re do equality in RESPECT as well as laws as any other group.

    SPARKS: The segment goes another two minutes…plenty of time for Stewart to regroup and at least say something like “‘Fags?’ Not cool, man!” AND/OR have it bleeped later. His history is to be taken into consideration but it’s no more atones for his failing to treat someone using “fags” as he would “niggers” or, most certainly, “kikes” anymore than Obama’s WORDS about us atone for the fact that even as you read this he’s shitcanning more gays in the military.

    Do you seriously think blacks or Jews would be making such excuses if the discussion had involved either of those words?

  23. Jason says

    @Christopher “he is from Boston after all (sweeping generalization acknowledged)”

    Yes cause the most homophobic people come from Boston, you know from the first state to legalize gay marriage. I mean Boston is the central hub for New England which is one of the most supportive areas in the country for gay rights, 4 out 6 states have gay marriage, all have laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The only appropriate sweeping generalization that fits here is that you are just uneducated.

    Anyway, Denis is an a**, but that’s nothing new. As for Jon he did look uncomfortable, and he has never been anything but completely supportive of gay rights, we could use many more allies like him.

  24. JauntyJohn says

    On the one hand, I guess it’s worth talking about — but on the other, I feel like we have bigger problems to get worked up about than this comment, most especially on The Daily Show, which has such an excellent track record at exposing the ignorance and bullshit of homophobes everywhere.

  25. Mark says

    I didn’t know I am a “pretend guy”. What about all those gay firefighers? Do they roll around and scream when they are on calls?

    Even though a straight man is not openly bigoted or homophobic–and Leary probably a decent guy working an offensive “schtick”–this comment betrays a deep-seated ignorance/belief/attitude about gay men not being “real” men. It’s akin to me saying, I respect you as a man, even though you’re not white”. He may not have meant it with malice, but when I hear comments or implications like that, it affects me much more than the word fag.

    When people use the word fag, you know you are dealing with the bigoted and ignorant. But when people who say they respect and like you inadvertently make these comments, it shows they really don’t really see you as their equal–or in the same way they see heterosexual men.

  26. Charley says

    I assume people are against Dan Savage, then? He uses the word all the time.

  27. Matt says

    Here’s the real question: Would it be ok for him to have said, “We’re just a couple of n*ggers/sp!cs/k^kes”? Leary’s position is that we shouldn’t let words have such power, and I can understand that view. But he needs to understand that those words DO have power to a lot of people, both victims and bullies. He’s thoughtless and selfish when he uses them.

  28. Landon Bryce says

    Actually, Charley, I think Dan Savage is a pretty mixed bag (and certainly has done more harm to gay people than Denis Leary ever will, although Savage has also done a lot more good for gay people than Leary has, and Leary has done an awful lot for gay people). On the one hand, Savage often talks very sensibly about sexuality and his memoirs have really helped some straight people empathize with gay people. On the other hand, he has built himself up with straight audiences by being willing to attack gays in general and has often been irresponsible in ways that seem calculated to increase his fame. His use of bigoted language is used to justify homophobic behavior almost as often as the president’s opposition to same-sex marriage is. I wish everybody– including gay men– would stop using all terms of bigotry in public. It may be okay for gay men to call each other faggots face to face because you can be pretty sure everyone in the room gets the joke. I don’t think it’s okay in print– even in blog comments, in part because, as I see them used, they usually accompany a homophobic attitude attitude, especially when they come from gay people.

    The Daily Show has a very mixed record on dealing with gay issues. Frank deCaro’s “Out at the Movies” spots were pioneering visibility, but they didn’t exactly advance equality. I think people at TDS and Colbert were really hit by the mixed message of Prop 8 passing the same day Obama was elected. They’ve changed their approach to gay stuff since then– neither show was ever anti-gay, but they were once much more similar in tone to Joel McHale on The Soup. Some messages of acceptance, some mostly harmless and pretty self-aware homophobia. That’s why, in part, I think it’s a good idea to let Comedy Central know that this was a misstep. Not to get angry or hysterical but to ask: do they really think the word “shit” is more offensive than the word “fag”? Why? Is this really what they think?

  29. stephen says

    First, I wanna say, I’m NOT totally worked up over this… but, I also think Leary should get the message that it’s really very tricky to use that word, just like the ‘n-word’ when you’re not in the club.

    Also, don’t underestimate the power of that setting (national cable comedy show) as an implicit okay for others to incorporate add it to their ‘punchline’ in the future.

    Nobody needs to get all worked up, heads don’t need to roll… but gay people absolutely should object. absolutely.

    Adding fuel to the fire… did anyone catch The Cleveland Show? A man has sex accidentally w/ another man & several characters have an extended-power-vomit at merely the thought? jeeesh.

  30. Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com says

    For the record, Leary HAS been called on saying “fags” before…as long as three years ago.

    And in 2006, when asked by “Elle” magazine which man he’d sleep with if his life depended on it, “non-homophobic” Leary said: “I’d shoot myself in the head.”

    He’s just a thinner, more-frequently bathed Andrew Dice Clay….needing to prove what a “real man” he is by lighting up another cigarette and another “fags” remark.

    And those “more important things we have to worry about”….they’re directly related. If we’re not deserving of simple respect why should we deserve legal equality?

  31. says

    Now that many have weighed in:

    I don’t find it acceptable to hear the word “fag” used as a pejorative by a straight person. I don’t accept explanations that it’s not really meant to connote homosexuality; it is. It’s meant always to describe someone who is less of a man. So they should pick another word. Why not? Because the anti-gay part of it is essential. Words have meaning, especially ugly ones.

    I like Jon Stewart and wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water over his inaction, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to decide that someone is an ally in some (many) ways, and therefore they are incapable of ever disappointing. I’m sure many white people I like and respect have at times heard racist comments and not spoken out, or non-Jewish people have heard anti-Semitic comments and not spoken out, or etc. Doesn’t make them vile, but it’s not ideal. It would have been cool if Stewart had said, “Fag? Really???” on air.

    I think it’s an interesting issue to explore why Comedy Central chooses to bleep out offensive words but not this one. Probably, because it’s not an FCC violation, they knew it would be controversial and controversy helps ratings. I assume they knew it was going to offend some people; Stewart clearly knew.

    I don’t buy arguments that this is a quote and so it’s fair game. If you quote someone approvingly, then you said it. It’s not like he’s quoting him and disavowing the quote. Worse, Pasquale quite possibly never said it. (Can’t find that statement yet anywhere but in these comments.)

    I’m glad the audience member wasn’t offended personally. But I think straight men throwing the word “fag” around to belittle someone’s masculinity is a negative for gay people, especially closeted and/or young/questioning ones. When gay men use it, it’s not the same. It could be argued it’s not a good idea, but it can’t be argued that it’s the same. Same goes for black people and the N-word; argue that it’s not a good idea for black people to use that word, but don’t try to tell me that because they use it they shouldn’t be offended when white people use it. White people using it is WHY they use it, and informs the ways in which they use it.

    And finally, I don’t think asking these questions is the same thing as having one’s panties in a wad. (But that phrase works well with the “fag” meme.) Pop culture matters; it molds people.

  32. Charley says

    Landon, you made some good comments. I’m not sure yet if I’ve changed me mind, but I’ll think through what you’ve said.

  33. Match Keel Kiwi says

    Hey all. I hope you guys are aware that Leary is an old friend of Jon’s. Haven’t you had a friend say fag before and just couldn’t bring yourself to comment on it? Perhaps because you’re not sure how they’ll react if you call them on it. and doing that on TV…

  34. Fahd says

    To me it’s disappointing that Denis Leary is setting the agenda for popular culture. As I recall he started out as a chain-smoker who glorified smoking when smoking was decidedly on its way out. I guess that is his shtick — he’s the lower middle class white guy (see New England) who resists social progress and can’t handle change.

    I decided Leary wasn’t worth any more time when he mocked autism in his book which I didn’t buy. At that time, I announced that he would never receive a dime of my money. I don’t watch any tv show he’s in, because I don’t want the advertisers to get my support. Had I known he was on the Daily Show I wouldn’t have watched. In other words, I have been boycotting him, which is what I suggest we all do.

    I think to some gay men, he may represent the heterosexual everyman with whom they just can’t make peace, which is why he keeps their attention.

    For me his fifteen minutes expired several years ago.

    I just don’t understand for the life of me how this man has any career at all, when there are so many talented actors and comedians going hungry. Maybe it’s me.

    I liked Matthew’s point about Jon Stewart’s inadequate reaction. Stewart is nothing if not quick on the retort, and I don’t think he’d tolerate let’s say “kike” just as an example.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop given this a*hole any more attention.

  35. MickW says

    Well thank God a black person didn’t say it because there would be an online campaign to get the show canceled by now.

  36. Carlton says

    When will gays ever grasp the concept that until people take you seriously they will never take your causes seriously. Until you educate the masses to refrain from using words like “fag” and “that’s so gay!” you will NEVER, EVER, EVER get your marriage license as there is such a poignant correlation between what society respects and what society rewards. To gays who pretend this is not offensive to them; I mean this with all due respect, but you’re a sad, sorry loser. The kind that gets made fun of to his face but pretends as though he is in on the joke to make himself sleep better at night.

    You know how you get people to accept you as normal? when you unaccept being the punchline.

    This is unacceptable and the Daily Show lost this fag and so many other fags I know as viewers.

  37. J.L Hewing says

    For all the gays on here who think it’s not big deal to have two straight men laugh at “sissy fairy faggots” in the most sensitive time of the gay rights movement…wonder if African Americans would sit in the comfort of their living rooms CRACKING UP and finding no big issue with two white television personalities going on about “n*ggers this and n*ggers that” in the 60s in the most sensitive time of their movement.

    the replies on this site perfectly prove what I always tell friends of mine: gays will never get the rights they deserve because they are completely utterly clueless with horrible social issues. They pat society on the back for using the word fag to their face then go run and cry in courts demanding rights. Dumbasses! try doing it the other way around. Convincing society you’re not a laughing stock first then having your rights be taken seriously.

  38. g_whiz says

    Its inteteresting to hear so many apologists are out and about today. As for “Match Keel” one of the kids from the neighborhood was drinking beside me at the pub yesterday and said “thats disgusting” when someone mentioned I was gay. I didn’t “let it slide” because I wasn’t sure how he’d react. I told him I didn’t need his permission to exist and didn’t give a damn what he thought. I also didn’t accept his apology when he got around to stammering it out. The problem here is that fag connotates to both being homosexual and an absence of masculinity. The connotation behind it is the majority of the time not meant to be funny or ironic or cute. Its meant to disempower a man (regardless of sexual orientation) based on the very suggestion they’re gay. Taking the post-modern tack of assuming its “just a word” doesn’t destigmatize it. It makes the people roped in with the word seem conflicted and complicit in perpetuating the stigma.

    On Leary, I’ve watched Rescue Me before and seen how tactfully they’ve handled gay characters before. The Probie bisexual storyline was handled with all the maturity of a bunch of 15 year old boys in a locker room. I wouldn’t expect Leary and his ilk to ever not be kneejerk homophobic given the way the story was handled. That doesn’t mean I have to pretend him being homophobic is somehow excusable.

  39. Vellum says

    I’m more irritated that Jon Stewart let it slide by like nothing. He laughed at it. There are plenty of guests saying appalling things that he doesn’t just let slide, and I’d really prefer to see something different in the future.

  40. Eric26 says

    I’m certainly not going to stop watching the Daily Show. Jon was obviously not pleased with what was said, and if you can’t see that you’re blind. He’s not going to call his friend out on television though.
    The very end of the interview was hilarious though, Jon was making some great jokes at Leary’s expense.

  41. says

    @Harry:
    “Do you think racist had a higher opinion of black people who dismissed racial slurs and blackface. Hell no. They just used them as these idiots will use you, to make the point that their racism and bigotry wasn’t racist.”

    You do realize you just described RuPaul (with his defense of Shirley Q. Liquor) perfectly?

    The analogy fits – both ways.

  42. kcoc says

    fag. a word. yes, it may refer to the wood used in the middle ages to burn homosexuals, but seriously. fag. a word. don’t rake people over the coals because you have thin skin.

    and don’t do that “words hurt” wa wa wa…