A 2011 clip of Chris Rock, Louis C.K. and Ricky Gervais throwing around the N-word sparked outrage across social media after it resurfaced on Saturday, December 22, with people including comedian Kathy Griffin chiming in.
In the footage from the HBO special Talking Funny, the Saturday Night Live alum, 53, told the Louis star, 51, that he’s the “blackest white guy I f—king know,” prompting Louis C.K. to respond, “You’re saying I’m a n–ga?”
“Yes, you are the n–gerest f—king white man,” Rock replied, eliciting laughs from everyone except Jerry Seinfeld, 64, who said he wouldn’t use the N-word “anywhere.”
Gervais, 57, then used the expletive to point out that Rock and Louis C.K. use the word on stage, while he and the sitcom veteran don’t.
“You and me say n—ga in private,” Louis C.K. told the British comedian. “These two guys don’t.”
“I’ve given it up, just because it’s played,” Rock added.
Seinfeld agreed when Louis C.K. suggested that he had probably never used the racial slur.
“That’s a huge difference between you and me,” Louis C.K. continued.
“Well, you’ve found the humor of it,” Seinfeld said, visibly cringing at the turn the conversation had taken. “I haven’t found it, nor do I seek it.”
A clip of the exchange went viral, with Rock briefly trending on Twitter.
“What was Chris Rock thinking?” one commenter asked.
“I know black folks who are completely comfortable with white people saying the n-word in their presence,” journalist Jemele Hill tweeted. “Have had to tell a few white folks I’m not that black person. Still it says something the only person who was uncomfortable was Seinfeld.”
“Note how proud Ricky Gervais was of the fact he used the n-word,” she added. “And Louis CK basically said he’s one because black folks ain’t s—t. Chris Rock is getting crucified, but those other two deserve massive smoke.”
Kathy Griffin replied to Hill’s tweet, writing, “Jemele has done a great job handling the racial component. Thank you. As an established professional, female comic, I can’t help but pick up on the bros before hoes aspect of this clip. Gervais & Louis doubled over in laughter at n word??? If these were female comics, well…”
Others compared the controversy to the outcry over Kevin Hart‘s resurfaced homophobic tweets that saw him withdraw as the host of the 2019 Oscars earlier this month.
“It is quite interesting to see how differently this Chris Rock situation is being perceived vs the Kevin hart situation,” one person commented, while another tweeted, “The same energy y’all had for the LGBTQ community about the Kevin Hart tweets being old , needs to be the same energy y’all have for that Chris Rock clip.”
None of the comedians in the clip have publicly addressed the fallout, but on Sunday, December 23, Gervais tweeted a photo of himself holding a glass of wine along with the caption, “Have a laugh. You’ll be dead soon. Merry Xmas.”
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