CNN host Don Lemon cracked up over a raunchy joke about Michele Bachmann's husband, on Sunday night's 6 p.m. edition of Newsroom. Conservative guest Will Cain then confronted the openly-gay anchor over why it was okay to make fun of Bachmann appearing to be gay.
"If, as the joke suggests Marcus Bachmann is gay, but he hasn't come to grips with himself. Now, I'm asking two guys who've been through this process, honestly, I'm honestly curious, why is it okay to make fun of him then?" Cain inquired. Lemon "came out" about his orientation a year ago and expressed his wishes that prejudices about homosexuality would be overcome. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Both Lemon and gay journalist L.Z. Granderson had lost it after watching comedian Jimmy Kimmel at Saturday's White House correspondents dinner. Kimmel used a raunchy gay slur at the expense of Bachmann and joked that he played a gay character on the ABC show Modern Family.
After repeated inquiries from Cain, Lemon finally offered a lame response. "I'm just going to say this. I'm assuming that he's flamboyant. It wasn't anything. I just thought it was a very funny joke, I didn't analyze it as much as you have, Will."
Granderson took another small jab at Bachmann when he joked about not knowing whether Lemon had "tried to convert gay people" when he was a teenager. Bachmann runs a Christian counseling clinic in Minnesota.
On the May 16 edition of HLN's Joy Behar Show from last year, Behar asked Lemon if people's minds would be changed if they "would just get that, that it's not a choice, that this is the way people are born." Lemon answered that "it would be great if people would get that." Apparently he thinks it's okay, however, to laugh at a Christian therapist who appears to be flamboyant.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 29 on Newsroom at 6:14 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
KIMMEL: Keith Olbermann burned more bridges than the arsonist of Madison County. He has more pink slips than Marcus Bachmann. Too soon? Too soon? If you're not familiar with Marcus Bachmann, he plays Cameron on the show Modern Family. Stand up and – where are you Marcus? Oh, there he is.
(End Video Clip)
CAIN: Okay, now I have a question for you guys, okay?
GRANDERSON: That was just wrong. That was wrong.
LEMON: He has more pink slips than Marcus Bachmann.
CAIN: Let me ask you a question, let me be the host and ask you guys a question. And I'm genuinely curious here. If, as the joke suggests Marcus Bachmann is gay, but he hasn't come to grips with himself. Now, I'm asking two guys who've been through this process, honestly, I'm honestly curious, why is it okay to make fun of him then? Is it just because of his politics? Or because he's a public figure? I'm really curious, why is it okay?
GRANDERSON: Oh, Will, stop it. Stop it, Will.
CAIN: I'm serious.
LEMON: I'll let you have this one.
GRANDERSON: (Laughing) First of all –
LEMON: Look at this video first of all.
(Video plays of Marcus and Michele Bachmann dancing)
CAIN: No, no, no, you don't have to convince me of anything. I'm just asking why it's okay.
LEMON: Well, listen, before L.Z. answers, I'm just going to say this. I'm assuming that he's flamboyant. It wasn't anything. I just thought it was a very funny joke, I didn't analyze it as much as you have, Will. But anyway, go on, L.Z.
GRANDERSON: No, you know what? Don and I have been friends for years, but I wasn't around Don when he was a teenager, so I don't know if he tried to convert gay people or not. But it just seems funny that when –
– that when you are having flamboyant mannerisms and your livelihood is to convert gay men to be straight, it's just funny. It's just funny, man. I don't know. I don't even care what his politics happens to be. It's just kind of a funny thing when you juxtapose the two images, that's all.
LEMON: I saw this – I saw it as a funny joke.
LEMON: Okay. Anyway, did we satisfy your curiosity, by the way, since you're so curious?
CAIN: Yeah. I mean, there's no doubt it's a funny joke. But there's a lot of funny jokes in the world. So I was just wondering why it was okay. But I mean, it's a decent answer. But I was really curious genuinely.
LEMON: All right. We'll move on.
CAIN: I didn't mean to rain on your parade.
LEMON: We'll move on before this becomes something way crazier. I can see the bloggers already, they're like – (pretends to type)