Category: Standup Comedy

Tracy Morgan apologizes for homophobic rant at Nashville show

Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan apologized Friday morning for a homophobic rant he launched into during a June 3 show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

"I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others," Morgan said in a statement. "While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context."

Morgan spoke out after organizations including GLAAD and the Human Rights Commission called for an apology or explanation.

Photo gallery: Celebrity apologies

During his June 3 show, the "30 Rock" and former "Saturday Night Live" actor had launched into a bit in which he called homosexuality a choice, said gays needed to stop complaining about bullying and promised that if his son were gay he'd better come home and talk like a man, or Dad would stab him to death. 

That according to fan Kevin Rogers, who was at the Nashville show with his partner and a friend and had shared the comments -- much more raw than our version -- in a profanity-riddled Facebook post recounting details of Morgan's raunchy rant.

"I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I'm well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor," wrote Rogers, who said he found most of the show hilarious, until Morgan went off -- in detail -- on why homosexuality was "crazy" and how President Obama should "man up" and stop speaking out on behalf of lesbian gay bisexual and transgender kids.

Rogers' observations got more notice when Truth Wins Out, an organization that fights anti-gay extremism, issued a release Wednesday calling for a response from Morgan.

The Ryman Auditorium told the Hollywood Reporter that it "regrets that people were offended by the show," and does not control or endorse statements made by performers on its stage.

LGBT civil-rights organization HRC issued a follow-up statement Friday praising Morgan for apologizing, but saying that those words weren't enough.

"He's a role model and Morgan now has a responsibility to make amends for his horribly hurtful and dangerous 'comedy' routine. He also needs to go further than his apology and correct the record: no one should feel ashamed because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and they should definitely not become a victim of violence," said Fred Sainz, HRC vice president for communications. "Words have consequences and Morgan should be held to a higher standard. Until he does something meaningful, his brand will remain tarnished."

So, should the audience have expected Morgan's rant? Perhaps the comic thought so.

"I think Nashville is hip, that's why I like playing it," he told the Tennessean newspaper in a June 2 article subtitled "What will Tracy Morgan say next?

"People get what I'm saying. They understand the words that are coming out of my mouth."

Hmm. Not so much?


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Photo: Tracy Morgan arrives at the "Rio" movie premiere in Hollywood on April 10. Credit: Jason Redmond / Reuters

Mike Myers and wife Kelly Tisdale expecting a baby boy

Mike Myers expecting baby with wife Kelly Tisdale "Austin Powers" star Mike Myers and wife Kelly Tisdale are having a baby.

As the International Man of Mystery would say: Yeah, baby!

The couple are expecting a boy, who will be Myers' first child.

"They are overjoyed," his rep Ina Treciokas told E! News. Tisdale is sporting a noticeable baby bump and is in her second trimester, according to the New York Post.

Myers, 47, and Tisdale, a co-founder of the Manhattan hipster cafe Teany, tied the knot last fall and went public with their union in March.

The "Shrek" funnyman was married to Robin Ruzan for 12 years and had no children.


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-- Nardine Saad

Photo: Mike Myers. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Charlie Sheen delivers violent torpedoes, audience boos the truth

Charlie Sheen debuted his one-man show, "My Violent Torpedo of Truth / Defeat Is Not an Option," in Detroit and Chicago over the weekend, which sold out several shows within hours of tickets being made available weeks ago.

The former "Two and a Half Men" star promised fans "the real story" during the monthlong 20-city tour. But on opening night at the Fox Theatre in the Motor City, the warlock couldn't deliver and was booed by an exceedingly tough audience.

Even pithy catchphrases and tiger blood couldn't save him. Times reviewer Charles McNulty wrote:Charliesheen_gallery

He didn't bring the goods, and no amount of pandering to the spectators with his you-and-me against-the-trolls malarkey could convince them otherwise. The Malibu messiah's stab at demagoguery died a quick and not entirely painless death.... But the aging Hollywood pretty boy was not only defeated by the uncontrollable nature of theater — he was running scared.

So much for that.

However, the laundry list of rants continued in Chicago, though the Windy City crowd wasn't nearly as hostile. Sheen then announced that he'd be willing to take back his sitcom job if the "Men" bosses he so overtly maligned asked him to return.

"If they say, 'Here's your job back, I'll go back to work,' " Sheen said onstage in Chicago. "I think it's a great ... show," he added. But "they didn't give a ... that I was hammered for eight years: money, ratings, money, ratings."

Um, bad idea to talk about the benders, Charlie Bender. But Sheen said he would deliver the truth, as violent or torpedo-like as it may seem.

What do you think of the reviews? Did Sheen deserve to get booed? Tell us in comments.


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Twitter.com / NardineSaad

Photos: Top, actor Charlie Sheen is introduced to the audience during his performance at the Fox Theatre in Detroit on Saturday. Right, Sheen onstage. Credits: Carlos Osorio / Associated Press.

Nick Cannon on Mariah Carey's 'nerve-racking' contractions and more

It'll take a little more than a few contractions to rattle Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey. Reports this week suggested the pair panicked over a possible early arrival of their twins, but all four are doing just fine.

"They're calling it a 'scare,' but really, it was just nerve-racking. We were in the hospital from 4 a.m. until I don't even know," Cannon told the Ministry.

"The thing with twins is that you want them in their natural incubator as long as possible," he said. "They might be ready to come out, but we need them to stay in for a while."

But is mom Mariah ready for their debut? "She's super ready," Cannon said with a laugh.

While the dad-to-be confirmed their official due date is May 14 (the day his new comedy album drops and his Feeding America-sponsored charitable initiative "Stamp Out Hunger" launches), he suspects they'll arrive earlier. Meanwhile, Mariah is enjoying her pregnancy, evidenced by Monday's baby-bump decorating.

"That's her finding the fun and festiveness through the pain," he said.

Another source of joy for the couple has been the embarrassment of gifts in their home trumpeting the fraternal twins.

"We got so much stuff. ... There's all these giant stuffed animals," he said of the life-sized loot listed on their baby registry, "it looks like Noah's Arc in here. There's giraffes, polar bears, lions." 

Though quality swag awaits the kids, Cannon maintains they'll always be aware of giving back.

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Eddie Murphy to be honored as an icon at first Comedy Awards

Eddie Murphy to get Comedy Icon Award Funnyman Eddie Murphy is set to receive the inaugural Comedy Icon honor for his performances in stand-up, sketches and film at the first ever Comedy Awards, airing April 10.

Murphy's memorable comedy roles include a vacationing cop in "Beverly Hills Cop," an oblivious African prince in "Coming to America," "Shrek's" animated Donkey and his unforgettable multi-character roles "The Nutty Professor." But he got his start in comedy clubs and on "Saturday Night Live" in the early 1980s.

"Eddie Murphy's impact in the world of comedy is immeasurable," said Casey Patterson, an executive producer at MTV Networks Entertainment Group, in a statement Monday. "From the characters he created on 'SNL,' to his groundbreaking stand-up performances and unforgettable film roles, Murphy changed the game forever."

For his first stand-up gig on Johnny Carson (and that of Steve Martin, David Letterman, Jay Leno and Garry Shandling too), watch the hilarious montage below.

The show, which will take place March 26 at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom, will also honor a comic with the Johnny Carson Award For Comedic Excellence. At-home viewers can catch in on MTV Networks outlets, including Comedy Central, Spike, CMT, TV Land, Logo and Nick at Nite in April.

"SNL" alum and funnypeople Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader and Andy Samberg have been slated to present at the show, along with comedians Tracy Morgan, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Matt Stone.

For more on the Comedy Awards, visit insider blog Awards Tracker.


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— Nardine Saad

Photo: Eddie Murphy attends a Dark and Lovely event at Juliet Supper Club on Jan. 18 in New York City. Credit: Henry S. Dziekan III / Getty Images.

'Last Comic Standing' finalist Mike DeStefano dies


Comedian Mike DeStefano, a finalist on the most recent season of "Last Comic Standing," died Sunday of a heart attack, his rep confirmed Monday to various media outlets. He was 44.

Punchline magazine had a revealing -- and (warning) a very profanity-filled -- interview with DeStefano during the run of the NBC show last year.

Asked which comics he'd want in the room for the last or the best performance of his life, DeStefano referenced his friend Greg Giraldo, the "Last Comic Standing" judge who died in September a few days after an overdose of prescription medication.

"In LA, just waking up to the sad news about Mike DeStefano. He helped so many people. I'm glad he was my friend," Jim Norton, another comic on DeStefano's list, tweeted Monday.

The blunt-talking DeStefano, who was a drug counselor before getting into comedy, had overcome heroin addiction and coped with the loss of his wife to AIDS. He'd been HIV-positive since the 1980s, writing for Poz in 1998 about being a "long-term nonprogressor" and "not fitting in with the AIDS community."

"Last Comic Standing" was a departure from the norm. "Guys like me don't do shows like that -- guys like me don't even attempt that," he told Punchline

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Russell Brand nabs Variety's Power of Comedy award


Being funny is its own reward, but Russell Brand certainly enjoyed a perk on Saturday night -- the actor picked up Variety's first Power of Comedy award in downtown Los Angeles.

Power-of-comedy-gallery With new wife Katy Perry in tow, Brand turned up at Club Nokia for a program that featured performances by several of his heavyweight comic colleagues. Tickets were open to the public, with all proceeds benefiting the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a cancer-research nonprofit. 

Aziz Ansari, B.J. Novak, Bob Saget, Patton Oswalt, Brandon T. Jackson and Garry Shandling were among those doing a few minutes for the good cause and for their pal Brand, with actor Justin Long serving as host.

"I think he's trying to cut the circulation off ... so he'll be faithful," Shandling said of Brand's trademark tight pants.

Perry took the joke in stride, sitting at a table front and center with a girlfriend.

Above Club Nokia's black-box stage, a VIP pre-reception hosted by the Sims 3 and Bing was attended by the likes of Brand's "The Tempest" costar Dame Helen Mirren, actress Lake Bell, the cast of "Outsourced," Sarah Silverman and "Little Britain" mastermind Matt Lucas. Click the Bing Twitpic of Mirren with comedian Brandon T. Jackson, above, to see more photos from the red carpet.

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Russell Brand to be honored at Variety's Power of Comedy

Russell Brand The good news -- well, almost all good news -- won't stop coming for Russell Brand: After marrying singer Katy Perry, he's been selected as the first honoree at Variety's Power of Comedy event.

Come December, Brand will get props for his contributions to the Noreen Fraser Foundation, which supports women's cancer research.

At downtown Los Angeles venue Club Nokia, some of comedy's big names will band together for live stand-up and prerecorded skits, with ticket proceeds benefiting the Fraser Foundation. Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Bob Saget and BJ Novak are just a few slated to appear.


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-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Russell Brand performs in 2008. Credit: Nancy Pastor / For The Times

Judd Apatow has a funny way of raising money for 826LA

Garry Shandling and Judd Apatow at the Writers Guild of America

When Judd Apatow was a little boy, he played with everyone, all the kids in the sandbox -- he was good that way. How does the Ministry know this? His grandmother told us.

We rubbed elbows with Gram, who was looking spiffy in a sparkly cocktail dress, heading into the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for Apatow's "I Found This Funny: An Evening of Music and Comedy." Was she proud?  "Meh -- nothing phases me," she said in a heavy Brooklyn-Jewish accent. "I’ve known him since he was born."

Humor runs in the family.

Aziz Ansarit and 826-LA executive director Joel Arquillos The evening was a big-ticket benefit concert for 826LA, a tutoring center for kids founded by author-screenwriter and McSweeney's publisher Dave Eggers ("Where the Wild Things Are"). With his wife, novelist Vendela Vida, by his side, Eggers greeted guests as they streamed into the lobby for a pre-show cocktail party studded with almost as many big-name comics as CAA agents -- Garry Shandling, Aziz Ansari and Maria Bamford among them. All three standups performed rousing, crowd-pleasing sets later during the show, when Shandling gave Ansari advice on women and dating. Penis extensions, Shandling said -- he'd toyed with the idea, except that he was afraid of stretch marks. 

Monty Python's Eric Idle humored the crowd during the cocktail reception and repeatedly posed for pictures with adoring fans, murmuring one "thank you" after another in his British lilt. Nearby, Apatow lingered by the bar with singer Fiona Apple, who was sporting a black fishnet blouse and … a waist-high wooden cane? She wouldn't say why she was hobbling around, but she made the look work. 

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Tina Fey unveils her 2011 swimsuit calendar [Video]

Night of Too Many Stars Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tina Fey Swimsuit Calendar
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That Tina Fey simsuit calendar you always wanted is finally here! Sort of.

42 Below Olivia Munn LR The "30 Rock" funny lady joined a slew of famous comedians Thursday for Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars," a benefit for autism hosted by Jon Stewart, and was kind enough to offer a rather creative swimsuit 2011 calendar in various bikinis (check out the clip above).

A live telethon at Los Angeles TV station KCET saw attendance from George Clooney (yes, he's that handsome in person), David Spade, Betty White, Olivia Munn, Jeff Garland, Jim Parsons, Will Forte, Adam Scott, Jaime Pressly and Dax Shepard.

Fey, in addition to Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Sarah Silverman, appeared in taped segments shot at New York City's Beacon Theater earlier in October.

At the telethon, Clooney chatted with comics and Comedy Central producers, while the likes of Munn, Scott and Shepard munched White Castle burgers and sipped 42 Below vodka concoctions in the green room.

Learn more about the New York Center for Autism here.

-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Olivia Munn mugs it in the green room at the "Night of Too Many Stars." Credit: Casey Rodgers / Associated Press

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