I Want to Work For Diddy: Laverne Stays Strong

By GLAAD |
August 26, 2008

In last night's episode of I Want to Work for Diddy, entitled "Diddy.com," the two teams were tasked with creating viral videos for the mogul's web site that were entertaining, engaging, and above all, worshipful of Sean Combs.

The Downtown Team urged their scene-stealing teammate, transwoman Laverne Cox (pictured), to act as on-camera talent for their video, interviewing Diddy's former assistants and asking them for the dish on Combs. At first, my heart was warmed, because the team was treating Laverne as one of the gang, highlighting her performance experience (she is an actress and dancer) and using it to their advantage. In an early scene, when the team selects Laverne as their star, Stefanie tells her it's because "You're super funny and bold," which got a smile from me. Then she continues, "If you could make yourself look even more transsexual, though -- you look so much like a woman, I think."

Hold the phone! Was that supposed to be some sort of compliment?

Cut to Mike, in the confessional cam, giggling: "She's gonna use her tranny-ness! And you can just laugh at that, period."

So let me get this straight: Laverne is supposed to emphasize the fact that she is transgender to get a laugh from the folks at Diddy.com? That will win the challenge?

Sadly, though Laverne was initially reluctant to bow to her team's whims, she was in it to win it, and actually listened when her teammates told her to "tranny it up" when conducting interviews. She admitted in the confessional cam that she didn't quite know what they meant by that request, but she began behaving outrageously with her interviewees and got a few laughs from asking straight-laced subjects to accept a lap dance or lie down with her. (Seriously.)

Spoiler Alert! Luckily, Laverne's team won the challenge -- and actually managed to create a pretty funny video, sans transphobia. She even won over a few teammates, schooling them in the art of opening a bottle of champagne without making a sound. All were impressed, and this viewer was satisfied knowing that the vivacious Laverne was in it for another week.

Missed the episode? View it in its entirety here. (Thanks, VH1!)