Transphobic and transmisogynist humor is nothing new for late night talk shows. So it’s sadly to be expected The Late Show with David Letterman would make a joke about Amanda Simpson. I don’t watch Letterman’s show, though, so I have to ask: is his humor always this stale?
Transcript after the jump.
Woah, déjà vu. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard or heard of almost exactly the same joke. A straight cis dude is shocked to “discover” he’s been “duped” into “accidentally” sleeping with a trans woman. He reacts how he’s supposed to – he’s sickened and he panics. Cue laugh track. Seriously Dave, your transphobia couldn’t have been a little more original?
On a more serious note, the line of thinking perpetuated by this joke – that straight cis men are tricked into sleeping with dishonest trans women, who are sexually disgusting – is used to justify the murder of trans women. By making this same tired joke, Letterman is continuing the mainstream cultural support of the deadly notion of trans panic. Nice going Dave, humor and humanity fail.
Letterman: Well here’s something interesting. President Obama has appointed a transgender person, a transgender person, her name is Amanda Simpson and he has appointed her to be part of the Commerce Department. We have a photo, here she is right there. Yeah, that’s Amanda Simpson, and she’s a transgender…
Alan Kalter: WHAT? AMANDA? Amanda used to be a dude? OH MY GOD! (Runs away)
Letterman: (Laughing. To someone offscreen) Will you talk to him later for me?