By Guest Contributor Eric Anthony Glover, cross-posted from Midnight Breakfast
Some months after I’d come out as queer to my friends and family, I happened upon a Louis C.K. meme about anti-gay rights advocates—particularly those who argue they shouldn’t have to expose their children to same-sex marriages. The meme’s caption read, “Two guys are in love but they can’t get married because you don’t want to talk to your ugly child for f*ckin’ five minutes?” As much as I’d like to tell that you that straight allies don’t deserve cookies and congratulations for exhibiting the bare minimum of human decency, I’d be lying if I said C.K.’s words didn’t move me. After years of shaming from straight people, whether in purposely oppressive ways or indirectly cruel ones, it always strikes me as miraculous when some of them support my cause—especially if they’re cultural icons. And given the thousands of Likes and Shares the Louis C.K. meme received, I’m guessing his words touched a few others, too. Thing is, I doubt it would have gotten as much mileage if the caption had included C.K.’s full quote: “… Who f*ckin’ cares about your sh*tty kid? He’s probably a faggot, anyway.”
On the one hand, I personally find the punchline funny: it subverts the sentimental direction of the setup, makes fools of the people he’s frustrated with, and arguably turns the word “faggot” into a weapon against them. On the other hand, it’s not the only time C.K. has used the slur for a laugh, and he hasn’t always been so progressive while doing it. Louis C.K. follows a similar pattern with the word “nigger,” insightfully addressing the horrors of racism in some of his stand-up, but gluttonously employing the epithet for amusement in other instances. And it’s not as if he does so without racial awareness, either; despite being half-Latino, C.K. has publicly acknowledged looking white, identifying as white, and benefiting from white privileges — such as never being marginalized enough for slurs like “cracker” to truly hurt him. As a black man with the opposite experience, I find myself on edge whenever I hear him speak. Although I haven’t forgotten his beautiful bits bashing racial prejudice, I have to remember that he’s prone to blurting “nigger” at whim, and doesn’t always care to add a constructive reason.
Sometimes, I really, really love Louis C.K. He is far from perfect, but he tends to keep things interesting. His bit on “Being White” is one of the top search results when you search his name, and he’s throwing some wrenches into pricing and comedy shows.
Interestingly, as we are dealing with the oh-so-tedious, faux-feminist ideas that criticizing shows like Bunheads and Girls for their lack of diversity is selling out women, Louis C.K. (after tweeting his support of Lena Dunham), decides to exercise his right to cast whoever the hell he wants in his created universe – which resulted in Susan Kelechi Watson being the mother of his children. Huffington Post recaps what was on Jimmy Kimmel:
On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (Weeknights, 12 a.m. ET on ABC), he was asked about his decision to cast African-American actress Susan Kelechi Watson as his ex-wife and mother of his daughters in Season 3.
C.K. conceded that his TV daughters are “extremely white,” but said that race didn’t really factor into his decision to cast Watson in the role of their mom.
“If the character works for the show, I don’t care about the racial,” the show’s creator, writer, director and star said.
Plus, there was another reason he went with a black actress.
To C.K., it’s all about line delivery. “When a black woman tells you to get a job, it’s just more … ” he explained with a laugh.
While my eye did a little twitch at that last bit (can we ever have anything?), Louis C.K.’s decision is a little bit of relief after a long season of whitewashing justifications.
By Guest Contributor Caitlin M. Boston
Courtesy: W. Kamau Bell
W. Kamau Bell stands out. Tall, broad, and Black, with a coife au naturale, his physicality doesn’t exactly lend itself to anonymity; equipped with a booming base for a voice, he really doesn’t have a hope in hell of ever going unnoticed in an American crowd. But come this autumn, the impulses behind the diffident stares and sideways glances on the street will be a little bit more difficult for Bell to decipher, hoodie up or otherwise.
That’s because Bell, a comedian who could do a stand-up routine featuring nothing but heckler retorts at this point in his career, just inked a six-episode deal with the FX network (the “coolest of all the Fox’s,” as he calls them) executive-produced by Chris Rock.
In case that last part didn’t make your eyebrows shoot up, for Bell to garner Rock’s participation amounts to an endorsement from a comedy doyen: having established himself in the game as a headliner who can perform in any comedy club, anywhere, on his own terms, praise and a partnership from Rock is synonymous to a weighty nod of approval from Yoda (albeit, Bell says, a foul-mouthed, microphone-wielding version).
Bell officially announced last Thursday that his show would be called Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, debuting Aug. 9th at 11 pm. With the show set to follow Louie, created by and starring biracial comedian Louis C. K., the two programs together constitute a rarity in network television–a progressive comedy block not led by white people.