The Happy Drunk and the Funny Gay Guy

I watched television in the early days. There were just three channels, they went blank at night leaving a neat screen pattern, and the shows were clean. Red Skelton and other great comedians entertained us with humor that no one today would object to – with one exception. Comedians then made a regular practice of imitating a person who was drunk. He was never a mean drunk, as so many actual “drunks” are; he was always a happy drunk, and he was always funny. He slurred his words, knocked things over, fell down, and was the center of attention. There was nothing wrong with a happy drunk.

drunk

But by the late 1970’s depicting a drunk wasn’t funny any more. People began to realize that alcoholism was a serious offense. Because of “drunks,” wives and children were mistreated, families were bankrupted, and people were killed or maimed in car accidents. But for the generation growing up watching the happy drunk, the damage was done. When the 50’s and 60’s kids had their first opportunity to drink, there was a clear motivation – I can be a happy drunk! I can be funny! I can be the center of attention! Drinking will be great! We had all been fed that message from “clean” TV shows.

In the mid-80’s, something else became funny – the gay guy in a sitcom. Though not often depicted this way anymore, at that time he was always a happy guy. He was a great guy. He was a guy who talked funny, had humorous hand and hip movements, dressed flamboyantly, and most importantly, everyone loved him. Of course, none of those things were exactly true about every gay person, or always true. It was a common stereotype. But just like the happy drunk we all liked to imitate as kids, for years young people found it funny to imitate a gay man. It isn’t funny any more. But worse, the damage has been done. Young people have not only accepted the practice of what God defined as sinful, but many have become curious about it, desiring to explore the possibilities. After all, in nearly every TV show there is a happy, funny gay guy.

2014 Pew Research Poll

In 2001, 57% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage and 35% accepted it. Today, 54% are in favor and 39% oppose it.

Breaking this down by generations, the “silent generation” (1928-45) favors it by 38%. Boomers (1946-64) are in favor by 48%.

Gen X (1965-80) are in favor by 55%.

Millennials (1981-today) are in favor by 68%.

Catholics and Protestants favor same-sex marriage by 60%.

Black Protestants are in favor by 43%.

White evangelical Protestants are in favor by 23%.

67% of Democrats are in favor.

59% of Independents are in favor.

32% of Republicans favor same-sex marriage.

But 61% of young Republicans under 30 support same sex marriage.

What is missing is the biblical stance. Paul clearly states in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 those “who practice homosexuality and those who are drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God.” In other words, on the day of judgment drunks will not be happy and homosexuality will not be funny.

Berry Kercheville

berrykerch@gmail.com