Louis C.K. went on "Nightline" Monday night to discuss his career, and while there, defended fellow comedian Tracy Morgan from the fiery backlash he faced this summer after saying in a stand-up routine that he would stab his son if he were gay. The "Louie" star told "Nightline" that the resulting fallout was a "wasted opportunity" to educate people on the roots of homophobia.
The comic, who is currently promoting his self-released stand-up special "Live at the Beacon Theater," had defended Morgan's joke in the past.
C.K. told ABC’s Bill Weir that he believes Morgan's comments were misunderstood, if not poorly worded. "He said, 'If my son is gay, he better come to me about it like a man. Because if he came to me like this' -- and then he did a little effeminate gay voice -- 'I'd stab that little n*****.'"
While admitting that he was not close friends with Morgan, C.K. tried to place the joke in context of Morgan's background and its traditional view of masculinity.
He theorized that Morgan's upbringing dictated that males "had an obligation to be a man in a certain way, and it was important in his family to view men as men. Then, he meets gay men and has no idea how to accomodate that."
Louie then explained his own experiences that informed his more tolerant attitude toward gays -- for instance, many of the fathers at his daughters' school are gay, and "they are some of the most courageous, manly, fatherly men I know." While not letting Morgan off the hook entirely, he emphasized that he felt Morgan should not have been attacked for processing "very confusing" thoughts during a stand-up routine. "That's what jokes are. You don't tiptoe around it."
But C.K. also feels that Morgan's critics did themselves a disservice by being quick to attack Morgan instead of opening up a dialogue about the subject.
"The opportunity that was lost was for the gay community to ask Tracy, 'Why did you say that? What was your dad like? What is being a man like to you?' It could have been the starting point of a conversation that might have actually made a difference in the way people feel about homophobia," C.K. said.
"But to say, you can't say that, and that's hate speech, and to go on a 'sorry' tour, that's a waste of time to me. I think it was a wasted opportunity."