Tonight Show Makes Tired Transgender Jokes

By GLAAD |
August 17, 2009

On last Thursday's episode of The Tonight Show, host Conan O'Brien repeated his "Conan's Tabloid Moment" segment and used the skit to make easy and unfunny jokes at the expense of the transgender community.

Tonight Show

"Conan's Tabloid Moment" typically involves O'Brien staging scandalous tabloid photos with the (false) intent of selling them to magazines to make a profit. In Thursdays segment, O'Brien began by posing at a strip club after a few drinks then wondered how to make the situation even more embarrassing for himself. At this point, a neon sign reading "Trannie's" appears and the female strippers slap on fake mustaches. 

Conan O'Brien has shown in the past that he is a comedian capable of making gay-themed jokes without resorting to cheap laughs and offensive slurs. This was most recently on display when he made fun of NBC's Failing grade in the GLAAD Network Responsibility Index. Unfortunately, sensitivity to transgender issues is an area in which many comics frequently fall short. Not only is the term "tranny" offensive to the transgender community, the representation of transgender women as mustached men in dresses is a harmful misrepresentation.

GLAAD has reached out to NBC and is hoping to have an update to this issue soon.

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