Log in

No account? Create an account
Where Jeff W. (who wrote "Avenue Q") goes off on Jay Leno in an angry letter 
23rd-Apr-2006 05:30 pm
(Yep, this letter is real...it was sent by Mr. Whitty to Leno and Larry Kramer sent it out and then so and so and on and on...while there are other battles raging in the u.s. and in the world...this is an interesting angry letter...from the point of view of a white gay male in the entertainment industry to a straight white guy in the industry. It came to me by way of an anonymous but wholly reliable source - I know people everywhere.)

From: "Jeff Whitty"
Date: April 21, 2006
To: (Tonight Show email address)
Subject: For Mr. Leno

Dear Mr. Leno,
My name is Jeff Whitty. I live in New York City. I'm a playwright and the author of "Avenue Q", which is a musical currently running on Broadway.

I've been watching your show a bit, and I'd like to make an observation:

When you think of gay people, it's funny. They're funny folks. They wear leather. They like Judy Garland. They like disco music. They're sort of like Stepin Fetchit as channeled by Richard Simmons.
Gay people, to you, are great material.

Mr. Leno, let me share with you my view of gay people:

When I think of gay people, I think of the gay news anchor who took a tire iron to the head several times when he was vacationing in St. Maarten's. I think of my friend who was visiting Hamburger Mary's, a gay restaurant in Las Vegas, when a bigot threw a smoke bomb filled with toxic chemicals into the restaurant, leaving the staff and gay clientele coughing, puking, and running in terror. I think of visiting my gay friends at their house in the country, sitting outside for dinner, and hearing, within hundreds of feet of where we sat, taunting voices yelling "Faggots." I think of hugging my boyfriend goodbye for the day on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, and being mocked and taunted by passing high school students.

When I think of gay people, I think of suicide. I think of a countless list of people who took their own lives because the world was so toxically hostile to them. Because of the deathly climate of the closet, we will never be able to count them. You think gay people are great material. I think of a silent holocaust that continues to this day. I think of a silent holocaust that is perpetuated by people like you, who seek to minimize us and make fun of us and who I suspect really, fundamentally wish we would just go away.

When I think of gay people, I think of a brave group that has made tremendous contributions to society, in arts, letters, science, philosophy, and politics. I think of some of the most hilarious people I know. I think of a group that has served as a cultural guardian for an ungrateful and ignorant America.

I think of a group of people who have undergone a brave act of inventing themselves. Every single out-of-the-closet gay person has had to say, "I am not part of mainstream society." Mr. Leno, that takes bigger balls than stepping out in front of TV-watching America every night. I daresay I suspect it takes bigger balls to come out of the closet than any thing you have ever done in your life.

I know you know gay people, Mr. Leno. Are they just jokes to you, to be snickered at behind their backs? Despite the angry tenor of my letter, I suspect you're a better man than that. I don't bother writing letters to the "God Hates Fags" people, or Donald Wildmon, or the Pope. But I think you can do better. I know it's "The Tonight Show," not a White House press conference, but you reach a lot of people.

I caught your show when you had a tired mockery of "Brokeback Mountain," involving something about a horse done up in what you consider a "gay" way. Man, that's dated. I turned the television off and felt pretty fucking depressed. And now I understand your gay-baiting jokes have continued.

Mr. Leno, I have a sense of humor. It's my livelihood. And being gay has many hilarious aspects to it -- none of which, I suspect, you understand. I'm tired of people like you. When I think of gay people, I think of centuries of suffering. I think of really, really good people who've been gravely mistreated for a long time now.

You've got to cut it out, Jay.

Jeff Whitty
New York, NY
23rd-Apr-2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
Great letter!

But Leno? I doubt the letter will make any difference.
23rd-Apr-2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
It seems to have done an admirable job of propagating Mr Witty's name, though.
23rd-Apr-2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
23rd-Apr-2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
24th-Apr-2006 02:37 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing -
I think it is a well written letter that should be read by many other comics as well as Mr. Leno (who used to be more sensitive to gay issues).
24th-Apr-2006 05:09 am (UTC)
avenue q makes my vagina go Weeeeee!

siriusly black though....i love avenua q and jay leno is due for a swift kick in his balls...if they exist
24th-Apr-2006 11:51 am (UTC)
Thanks - that's fantastic! I really appreciate your posting this; it helps me work through a couple things I'm thinking about in my research, actually.
24th-Apr-2006 01:19 pm (UTC) - Let me play Dick Cheney's Advocate here.
Is this the New "N-word"?

My African American friends can call each other nigger (or the new derivative, niggah) but let it come from anyone of another race and it's hate speech.

Almost all of the stupid, groaning "Brokeback Mountain" jokes I heard were from gay men who really relished telling them.

This letter is coming from the man who gave us the lyrics "Racist jokes might be uncouth, but we laugh because they're based on TRUTH."

I admit, I don't watch Jay Leno, I don't know what jokes he is telling, I'm a fan of Jeff Whitty's work, but this letter seems more than a little over the top.

The people who laugh at Mr. Whitty's Gay humor on stage are paying for Broadway tickets and are more couth and get the subtle nuances of HIS gay jokes. If middle America saw the gay scenes from Avenue Q and laughed, would they be laughing AT us instead of WITH us? And thus would it make him just as bad as Mr. Leno because of WHO was laughing and WHY?

24th-Apr-2006 02:05 pm (UTC)
I really, really want to see Avenue Q, and I have ever since charlesks played me "The Internet Is For Porn". I nearly fell out of my chair. Anybody who has that good of a sense of humor can have my ticket money. (I can make fun of geeks and appreciate jokes about geeks, because I am one.)

I posted a link to this post in my own LJ. Thanks for sharing this, Jude. Good stuff.
This page was loaded Sep 23rd 2019, 12:16 pm GMT.