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Is This Question Intolerant?

I already wrote humorously on Jason Collins and the black jockey in the Kentucky Derby this week, as well as a humble-braggish post yesterday about the week I am having, but after listening and reading to a ton of coverage of the Jason Collins story (the pro basketball player who came out as gay this week, if you have been living under a rock or camping out for good seats to Iron Man 3) I realized that I have not heard a question/answer that I am curious about: what would be wrong with a heterosexual athlete not wanting to shower and be naked with a gay man?  Now on its face this might seem like a bigoted question, but in the same context I would ask why is that men and women have different locker rooms? 

I raise that because the argument always goes to the extreme right away after a question like that, like by suggesting a heterosexual man might be uncomfortable with a gay man seeing him naked you are suggesting that the gay man is some sort of uncontrolled beast who will begin getting aroused or will initiate sexual contact.  Is this why women and men have separate locker rooms at gyms and at colleges?  Because there is an implicit understanding that without that barrier men will simply begin to masturbate, flirt and perhaps sexually assault nude women in their presence?  I don’t think so.  I think there is just a desire for a sexuality-free zone in what is otherwise a very intimate setting and I am not sure why it would be wrong, even if impossible to implement, for a heterosexual athlete to want the same feeling around same-sex teammates.

And put this in the context of pro sports.  These are men who are physical specimens – the most well built and physically fit humans on the planet in American professional sports.  They are exaggerations of masculinity when compared to the general population.  So it is no shame that a gay man would find this appealing.  This, in no way, is suggesting some lack of control on the part of Jason Collins or other gay athletes.  But from the perspective of the heterosexual athlete, why is automatically a hateful point to be raised that someone does not want to shower with people that are sexually attracted to them (or could conceivably be), for whom they do not reciprocate?  I am not endorsing this point of view, but I am endorsing it as a somewhat reasonable feeling that some athletes might have and it should not immediately render them a pariah in the enlightened avenues of modern society.

Now, unfortunately, many professional athletes are not articulate or intelligent enough to convey what might be a more nuanced discomfort with having a gay teammate.  And some are outright homophobes and bigots (or uncomfortable with their own sexuality).  And on the other side of the spectrum are erudite athletes who either have no problem with it or are too smart to say that they have any issue with it.  But there is no doubt in my mind that if an athlete tweeted “I have no problem with a gay teammate, but I don’t feel like being naked around him.”  he would be bashed, criticized and called ignorant, stupid, a homophobe and a lot of other things while  his team and league would have to apologize for him.  But why is that a completely unreasonable position or feeling?

My basic question is why does fully accepting people of different sexual orientations have to mean that you must be 100% comfortable with their orientation in the most personal moments of your own life?  I only raise this because I would be much more interested in hearing a debate on this more specific question than the usual “are you okay with a gay teammate” or “do you have a problem with gay people” generic questions.  Now it already appears that many teammates of Collins (and other closeted gay athletes) have no issue with this.  And that is great.  But I don’t think a different viewpoint on this somewhat specific question is as pernicious as I am sure social media would treat it.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes

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Joe Rogan, Jason Collins and No Money: My Huge…

So my name and Internet exposure continue to grow after the initial burst from the Louis CK parody video I did.  I got a spirit lifting message on Facebook last night as I shuffled from west village open mic to lightly attended Brooklyn bar show.   To paraphrase the message: “Hey Amy Schumer just mentioned your CK video on Joe Rogan’s podcast and they are loving it.”  This was refreshing in many ways.  One, it was good to know the video would get a little bit more exposure. Two, it was good to see Amy Schumer had not forgotten about the metaphorically little people who were doing bringers and open mics with her for a couple of years before she made an ever so slight move ahead of us in the comedy world (between the two of us we have grossed hundreds of thousands of dollars in comedy).  And three, I liked seeing Joe Rogan and Ari Shaffir laugh at the video, especially since Shaffir seemed to know more about me than Schumer remembered, despite the fact that I only was in the same room as Shaffir and Rogan once, when I got bumped off of a Father’s Day show in Atlanta at The Punchline because Rogan only does two person shows (but no hard feelings – I crushed some nearby IHOP during their show, so no harm no foul (or money).

Click Here for My “Appearance” on The Joe Rogan Experience

If that was not a good enough way to keep my name going strong, my podcast episode cleared 3300 downloads/listens this week, making it my most popular episode to date.  I was discussing Summer movies, but also riffing and discussing the Jason Collins story and apparently that triggered some hiccup or spasm on the Internet that led to a major uptick in downloads.  If you want to listen to it check it here.  Or maybe because it was episode 69 it just received a lot of lost porn fans.

But in case anyone was afraid this might have a happy ending it does not.  The Google loot has not started to roll in yet (220,000 views puts me only many months from the first Google penny being minted) and the podcast is free, which are two reasons why I write these  from an office in Manhattan, until that glorious day when Louis CK punches me in the face and I sue him for $1 million, which will lead to a wave of inspired lawsuits (when comedy websites and social media experts begin reporting me as a trailblazer in new ways to make money in comedy – “the old way of getting famous and rich without getting your ass kicked is a thing of the past!”).

But the good news is my new album recording is fast approaching (which will put some money in my pocket temporarily) and tickets can be bough HERE for the May 18th 9pm recording at NYC’s Triad Theater. Please buy the rest of the seats up now and get friends to join you or buy their own.

Lastly, in a hopeful epilogue the script for my new sketch for release in mid-to-late May will be done tonight.  So catch up on my YouTube channel and get ready for more fun.  If the May video is even close to the success of the CK video I will have to start a Kickstarter for my July video because it is going to be big (hence no June video), and actually much more daring and impressive than the CK one (by a lot), so it iwill require money that I don’t have.  Speaking of which, back to the spreadsheets.

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Lamest Good Day in Sports History: Black Jockey Gets…

I thought today the sports media would have been exhausted after the 489 hours of NFL Draft coverage and Carmelo Anthony needing his right arm surgically repaired yesterday after the worst shooting performance in America since Newtown, but Monday provided some major historic milestones, if you are willing to stretch. First, the New York Times reported that jockey Kevin Kligger will be the first black jockey to race in the Kentucky Derby since 2000 and will have a chance to be the first African-American jockey to win the race since 1901! The 5’6″, 110 pound Kilgger, or as he is known to his friends as “Bigger Kevin Hart,” seemed like this week’s biggest piece of “let’s try to make a historical story out of sports” until Jason Collins came out of the Big and Tall Dressing Room closet and announced that he was gay.

Before moving on to Collins, there are some things I have to say about the Kligger matter (his name might still be a major problem (or taunting blessing) to many residents of Kentucky today). Shouldn’t history be something we care about at this point? To Kligger’s credit he says he does not care about being a role model or trailblazer, but his color should be irrelevant. Not because we have moved beyond race, but because we are largely moved beyond horse racing! The popularity of the sport is dwindling and no one gives a crap who is riding the horses. Now in the New York Times story there is some fascinating history about black jockeys at the turn of the 20th century, but I would rather read a book about that then the imaginary torch that Kligger is carrying.

But just when Kevin Kligger (seriously does his middle name start with K also? KKKligger might be the most racist thing I ahve ever seen if it is!) was getting his 15 minutes of fame, NBA scrub Jason Collins comes out as a gay athlete (while also announcing that he is black). Now I say scrub because he and his brother were pretty bad as far as NBA basketball players go. His twin brother Jarron, who is straight, but equally bad at hoops, responded with shock at the announcement, “Oh wow – well I hope that stuff that happened to the evil twins in GI Joe doesn’t happen to us.” (Seriously my resentment of the Collins twis stems from my years as a Jazz fan watching Jarron be terrible)

I think it took courage for Jason Collins to come out, though technically he is a free agent and his season is over, so if he is not signed by a team he technically is not an active athlete in one of the four major American sports leagues. But that is besides the point. What is happening is already a revising of Collins’ career. See unlike Jackie Robinson (the sports media has been calling for a “gay Jackie Robinson” over the last few months, hopefully not to produce an overly sentimental film called “69” in a few decades – sorry I really couldn’t help myself), Collins is not that good at his sport. He is less Jackie Robinson and more John “Wait, I thought he was just British” Amechi 2.0. But as I read captions and descriptions, Collins is now being described as a “tough, gritty defensive player,” “a “great teammate,” “known for shutting down Dwight Howard (huh?)” and “savvy veteran.” Are we in that big a hurry to validate this moment by making him better than he is? Doesn’t that de-value Collins’ moment, as well as the moment when a player we actually care about announces he is gay? Like when a player who averaged 6 points per game and is under contract comes out? That should be earth shaking compared to this announcement.

And let’s not ignore the benefits – ever since the announcement has been made Jason has been crushing Jarron in twitter followers (though Jarron quickly wrote something begging for more attention with the misleading title “I’m proud of my brother” or something like that. And endorsements are sure to follow. Is Ben Gay too obvious? How about Jason’s “Grindr” tough play of the game?

I know we are a cynical culture and I am a cynic, but I still recognize how tough it must be to be a skinny, black, near-midget riding a horse or being gay and bad at basketball. But let’s not make everything bigger than it is. The good news is that one day we will not care about all of this (but of course we will as long as sites like Deadspin can get web traffic from athlete dick pics). But I look forward to more groundbreaking announcements from NFL punters, 3rd base coaches in baseball and pretzel vendors in hockey. I am just impressed that Collins’ twin brother had no idea. You’d think at some point some girlfriend/boyfriend would have had a mix up and outed the whole thing! At least if life were a 1980s sitcom it would have happened.

But congrats to Kevin Kligger and especially Jason Collins – you are courageous and you are part of history, even if it is Snapple Facts level of history.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes