Last Friday’s 20/20 special, Bruce Jenner: The Interview, was widely lauded for its sensitive handling of the former Olympian’s announcement that he is transgender and transitioning to female.
Now, the exact opposite is being said of a Monday night segment on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, in which the host used Jenner‘s brave revelations (i.e. “for all intents and purposes, I am a woman”) to fuel almost eight minutes of mock confusion, outmoded stereotypes and Colin Quinn’s Pinocchio blathering about his own “transition” from puppet to real boy.
“Back in the day, ‘Johnson’ equalled man, ‘Ladybird Johnson’ equalled woman: Very simple,” Wilmore said at the beginning of the piece. “I’m just a little confused. You’re saying you’re a woman, but you have man parts. OK, well how are you so sure that you’re a woman?”
Wilmore’s practiced ignorance about transgender issues — and his inability to bring anything fresh or funny to the conversation — seemed especially thudding (and perhaps even transphobic) following Sawyer’s two-hour special. The ABC report, to its credit, included thoughtful information about gender identity, troubling issues plaguing the transgender community — specifically violence, depression and often suicide — and a history of the transgender movement.
Press PLAY below to see the entire Nightly Show segment — then weigh in with your thoughts. Did Wilmore merely fail in his attempt to mine Jenner’s situation for humor, or did he cross a line into offensive territory? Or did Wilmore amuse you — and make you think it’s his critics who need to take a seat? Sound off!