Vince Vaughn remains unapologetic about the “gay” joke in his upcoming film “Dilemma” – in fact, the actor says the uproar over the slur has ultimately been a positive thing, and he’s glad it’s staying in the movie.
“Part of the thing with comedy is that it’s always been effective in that if there’s tension there, ultimately, it brings us together, it makes things more comfortable,” Vaughn said Wednesday morning on the Q100 FM The Bert Show, based in Atlanta.
“When there’s things you can’t say – you can’t joke about this, you can’t joke about that – I think it causes more awkwardness,” Vaughn continued.
Vaughn’s line in “Dilemma” – which first appeared in the trailer but then was pulled by Universal – got the actor, the studio and director Ron Howard in hot water with GLBT advocacy groups, which said the joke was derogatory.
In it, Vaugn’s character tells a group of executives: “Ladies and gentlemen, electric cars are gay.”
“We didn’t really think it was being used as a derogatory term,” Vaugn told The Bert Show. “We sort of clarified even within the joke that we say not ‘homosexual gay,’ but ‘Your parents are chaperoning the dance’ gay.”
Vaughn said the line drew attention in large part because of the spate of homophobic bullying making headlines lately.
”I think whenever you’re doing comedy, it’s easy for someone to find something and take it in a way – but that’s the point; it’s a comedy, and we would never try to hurt anyone’s feelings. … I’m glad to hear that it’s staying in the movie. That said, with all the things that were happening at the time, Universal was trying to be respectful of the climate of what was going on.”
Vaughn was confronted with a difference of opinion from one of the show’s hosts, who identified herself as a lesbian and said that while she understood where he was coming from, the gay and lesbian community’s recent efforts to “make strides” was hurt by use of the word in that way.
Still, Vaughn held his ground.
“It’s the old argument that comes up every now and then, which is to say what is OK and what isn’t OK. Ultimately it becomes a censorship issue. … Once you start drawing lines over what you can joke about, that divides people. And that’s never an effective way to go with people, especially with comedy, where you have a long history of making fun of stuff … to a point where you are breaking those tensions.
“Even the conversation that came out of the (joke),” he said, “is a good thing."