An executive producer of FAMILY GUY has offered his perspective on jokes the show
has made at the expense of transgender reality star Bruce Jenner.
Six years before the former Olympian officially came out as a woman trapped in a man’s body, he was providing humorous material for the long-running Fox comedy.
One episode depicts the father of six doing a burlesque-style dance in front of a group of horny sailors.
Another features the following exchange between baby Stewie and family dog, Brian.
Stewie: “I can’t believe that came out of Bruce Jenner’s vagina.”
Brian: “Bruce Jenner is a man.”
Stewie: “No, Brian. That is what the press would have you believe. But he is not. Bruce Jenner is a woman. A beautiful, elegant, Dutch woman.”
In a conference call promoting the show’s 250th episode yesterday, executive producer Steve Callaghan told me the passage of time can often change the way jokes are received — and suggested that the references may be deleted from future broadcasts.
“I watched that interview [with Diane Sawyer] and I was quite, I think, like a lot of people, surprised by it and by how moving it was and how sincere and articulate Bruce Jenner was about his life and the struggles he has faced,” Callaghan said.
“I think in comedy writing — especially for shows that are ‘edgy’ and try to push the envelope — context matters. Putting Bruce Jenner aside, when a joke seems to be poking fun at someone’s potential vanity it is one thing.”
“[But] when you find out something about a person that makes you realize that if you make a joke about him it is poking fun at some kind of genuine emotional struggle that has caused a person great pain, I think many people would say that is less funny. And over the course of time, as you learn different things about different people, they become more or less the subject of comedy.”
“Like Hillary Clinton. There are things about Hillary Clinton that will always be the subject of comedy and then there are probably some things that you wouldn’t go to. If, you know, something were to happen to someone in her family, I don’t know if you would make a joke about health care…”
“So the reality of what is going on in the world does affect what you target.”
Callaghan had no firm confirmation as to whether the references would be removed from future broadcasts, but admitted, “We might have that conversation.”
So far Fox has declined to comment or confirm.
Family Guy airs Sunday nights on Fox.
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