An extended gay joke was removed from trailers for Vince Vaughn's new comedy The Dilemma after public outcry. But it's going to stay in the movie. Why? Because, according to director Ron Howard, removing it would "endanger comedy."
Vaughn had already defended the joke in a statement that seemed to express the belief that his gay joek "brings us together." Howard, for his part, just expressed the reasons behind his decision to keep the line in the movie in a rambling email to Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times,
Did you think it wasn't offensive? I don't strip my films of everything that I might personally find inappropriate. Comedy or drama, I'm always trying to make choices that stir the audience in all kinds of ways. This Ronny Valentine character can be offensive and inappropriate at times and those traits are fundamental to his personality and the way our story works.
Will comedy be neutered if everyone gets to complain about every potentially offensive joke in every comedy that's made? Anybody can complain about anything in our country. It's what I love about this place. I defend the right for some people to express offense at a joke as strongly as I do the right for that joke to be in a film. But if storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong armed into making creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a provoker of thought.
Wow! I never really thought of it like this, but Vince Vaugn's extended "electric cars are gay" speech did both entertain and provoke thought. All manner of, like, important thoughts were totally provoked, such as, for example, political thoughts and philosophical thoughts. And all kinds of entertainment was provided! Such wit and verve! It was like fucking Tale of the Tub for the 21st century.
Now I feel awful for "strong arming" Ron Howard into taking that joke out of his movie. And so awful, too, for strong-arming Michael Richardson into not making obscenely racist jokes!