SOME comedians have defended Tracy Morgan after his act at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival caused outrage among audience members.… But comedian Josh Earl tweeted: “Anyone complaining about Tracy Morgan maybe should have Youtubed his act before paying $70." And comedian Tommy Little said: "People walked out of Tracy Morgan's show because it was sexist, that's like walking out of a musical because theres too much singing."
I don't believe two comedians quoted in tweets that may have just as well read "caveat emptor" can be said to actually be "defending" Tracy Morgan. That is unfair and lazy journalism, Sally Bennett.
It's well-documented that Tracy Morgan's stand-up material is horribly bigoted. If people were unaware, then it cost them $70 to find out. They won't make that mistake again.
But how many people walked out? How many people asked for their money back? Where is the actual story here? A man known for saying bad things said bad things, but locally.
So it's shit journalism. It's the Herald Sun. So what?
So Susan Provan let down the entire Australian and New Zealand comedy community with her comments to Ms Bennett.
Festival director Susan Provan said she was not aware of the outrage surrounding Morgan's Melbourne shows.
But she defended his inclusion in the festival.
"Tracy Morgan is a very high-profile comic with a huge fan base so is an appropriate participant in a broad-based international comedy festival," she said.
"His solo stand-up is very different from the character we see on TV in 30 Rock and his controversial material has been widely reported on," Provan said.
Susan Provan's message should have been as simple as: "Comedy is about taking risks for the performers and the audience. Sometimes that risk pays off and sometimes it doesn't. I hope the people offended by Tracy Morgan's show are not dissuaded from trying some of our wonderful local talent."
As Festival Director, she approved Tracy Morgan's inclusion in the festival. He is a high profile performer and can bring a lot of attention to the festival. But as a high profile performer there's a good chance people will judge the festival based on their experience at his show.
For the money it cost to see Tracy Morgan, audiences might have seen two or three other festival shows.
Ms Provan's quotes offer no sympathy to performers who may have missed out on bums on seats because of Morgan's inclusion, nor persuasion to the offended punter to not tar all comedians with the same brush.
The festival had a huge opportunity here to encourage Herald Sun readers to try some good shows in the remaining week of the festival. A chance for public relations magic fell in the Comedy Festival's lap and instead they stood up to issue a sentiment that translated as "sometimes comedy is offensive, suck it."