Just Not Laughing

Mon. June 20, 2011 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

The Just For Laughs festival was this week all over Chicago. This annual stand-up event has some of the best comedians in the biz and gives them an opportunity to showcase their skills. In the past I have interviewed Ellen DeGeneres among others to promote the week. I was approached to talk to Jo Koy before his show at The Vic. Even though he is not gay I thought he would be a good match for GoPride because of the Chelsea Handler connection. He invited me personally to the show and I was looking forward to it.

After the Sidetrack anniversary party, I ran in the rain all the way to Koy's show. I took pictures from the soundboard then sat in the balcony to get a bird's eye view. Jo's zipper was open and several female audience members pointed it out. When a male voice responded, "I saw it." Jo fired back with "What are you looking at, fucking faggot?"
I left uncomfortably right after.

I wrote about the incident for Windy City Media Group. The story blew up after that. All day it popped up everywhere in the Huffington Post, NBC, The Advocate, Instinct Magazine, Gawker even Perez talked about it. I wrote Joy Behar thinking she might like to talk about it on The View. She wrote back "Be vigilant." I had people writing me for comments about it.

Do I think Jo is homophobic? No, but I wanted him to think twice about using the F word in a derogatory way on a public stage. He apologized on his website, which was good to hear.
The festival continued on with excellent performances from Joel McHale from Talk Soup to the variety of Anglo Indian Russell Peters.
George Lopez mentioned in his act that he wouldn't even say the B word because it is unflattering toward women.

Steve Martin and Martin Short closed out the festival at the Chicago Theatre on June 19. They interviewed each other really spotlighting their careers. Steve played the banjo and Short changed into his overweight character Jiminy Glick to bring down the house!
The two waved goodbye as they left the building. There is a reason that the older comedians have stood the test of time because they are class acts and make the audience laugh without using words that have caused our community a great deal of pain.