Comedian to face Human Rights Tribunal
By Sunny Dhillon, THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER — A comedian whose put-downs of a lesbian and her companion in the audience is hoping she doesn’t have the last laugh at a B.C. Human Rights Commission tribunal this week.
Was Guy Earle’s discriminatory verbal assault spurred solely by the woman’s sexual orientation, or was the professional funny man exercising his right to free speech when an audience member wouldn’t settle down?
Earle, who’s been a stand-up comic for more than two decades, was the volunteer master of ceremonies at amateur night at a Vancouver restaurant in May 2007.
Lorna Pardy and her same-sex partner had moved to seats near the stage after the patio closed. Pardy’s lawyer says as they spoke with the waitress they were bombarded by a series of gay slurs courtesy of Earle.
But Earle, who lives in Georgetown, Ont., and has a day job as a physicist, has a different version of events and said his remarks come with the comedy show territory.
“When you heckle me and you’ve been disrespectful through the whole show, I come from the George Carlin school of dealing with a heckler,” he said in an interview. “So yeah, I shoved it down their throat and that’s what you do.”
Earle said the women were disruptive, not only ordering their drinks loudly but ignoring his requests to quiet down because a new comedian was about to take the stage. In fact, he said, they purposely got louder.
“As an MC, it’s kind of your duty to make sure that nobody’s disrupting the show, nobody’s heckling, nobody’s derailing it,” he said.
“These guys at this point, they’re making out and flipping me the bird.”