Comedian Jim Norton sounded off on the issue of homophobia and anti-gay language in stand-up comedy in a Nov. 19 HuffPost Live appearance.
On the subject of anti-gay slurs, Norton said, "Context is everything with these words. The problem is...we eliminate words and we act like we're doing something. If a gay kid commits suicide, it's probably because his parents were sh**ty to him and didn't accept who he was or the people in his life treated him horribly."
Noting that "offense is so subjective to the time," Norton continued, "Comedians are being asked to live by a different set of rules than actors are ... rape jokes are frowned on, [but] how come it's OK to play a rapist in a movie?"
He then concluded, "When comics get caught up in being right all the time, to me they get very boring."
Comedians have been divided on whether or not anti-gay language should be permitted in the realm of stand-up comedy. Former "Howard Stern Show" fixture Artie Lange told HuffPost Live last week he was "embarrassed and ashamed" over his infamous use of "faggot" and other homophobic slurs in some of his earlier performances.
Meanwhile, openly gay comedian and "Sex and the City" star Mario Cantone said anti-gay epithets should carry weight "just as much as any other slur" in an interview with HuffPost Gay Voices, but quickly noted, "When there's hate behind it, there's hate behind it. If there isn't, there isn't -- and you know when there is."