“Not Having Homophobia Discussed On Our Show Was About Projecting A World That Is Gentler And More Accepting.” Dan Levy Talks About The Uniqueness of ‘Schitt’s Creek’

“Not Having Homophobia Discussed On Our Show Was About Projecting A World That Is Gentler And More Accepting.” Dan Levy Talks About The Uniqueness of ‘Schitt’s Creek’

This year’s The Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Actors Roundtable features Ricky Gervais, Kumail Nanjiani, Ramy Youssef, Kenan Thompson, and Dan Levy – an interesting crop, especially as Gervais is something of an old-guard comic at this point, and the others all represent the vanguard of television comedy, in one way or another. You can feel the genuine admiration and respect the younger comics have for Gervais, but at the same time, they spend much of the conversation just roasting him, or pushing back against his “anything goes” approach to comedy.

At some point during the conversation, Gervais talks about responsibility in comedy and his philosophy that “anything can be funny”. He’s not wrong, anything CAN be funny, but as the upcoming star of The Eternals, Kumail Nanjiani points out, one really, REALLY has to consider the perspective of the joke, the target of the punchline, and ask if the thing they’re joking about actually deserves to the be the butt of that joke.

The younger actors at the roundtable seem to understand this. They are considering not only their punchlines, but how those punchlines might resonate beyond their intention. That was why Dan Levy chose not to give voice to hate on his show, saying, “My feeling was if I were to include homophobia or bigotry of any kind in the show, it would be giving power to those people who see themselves on TV.”

One of the main draws of Schitt’s Creek is the fact that despite the show touching on topics about same sex love and gay marriage, there is a remarkable absence of bigotry in it. This makes the gay relationship in the show feel ordinary, like it is an unquestionable aspect of life – something that resonated with the LGBT fans of the show.

When the roundtable moderator asked Levy – who is both the show’s creator and starred as the character David Rose – why it was important to him to show a “widespread acceptance on the show” and ensure that there is “not a whiff of homophobia” on the show, he responded, “Having the ability to say, ‘I am not going to have bigotry or homophobia ever discussed on our show,’ it’s a way of projecting a world that I felt was gentler and more accepting, and saying, ‘Here, this is making people feel good. And this is bringing out the best in people.’”

He also went on to reflect on how often the love stories of gay characters on television meet with tragedy.

“I think particularly, for gay characters, we have come to expect anytime we fall in love on camera to end in death or end in something terrible or tragic, or to never be given happiness completely,” he said, before adding that he fixed this problem in Schitt’s Creek because he “wanted to take the space to create a love story where you didn’t have to fear for the safety and security of these two people who were falling in love. And that inherently, the support of this community is what made them fall in love and what actually lifted the group as a whole.”

Ricky Gervais’ “anything can be funny if the joke is good enough” is valid, but as the person telling the joke, you have to ask yourself if you want to even possibly be the conduit to a bigot sitting at home and comforting himself in his bigotry because he sees himself on TV. By excluding that perspective on Schitt’s Creek, Levy ensured that bigots can’t see themselves and feel accepted or even supported by that representation.

Click HERE to watch the entire roundtable discussion, but see below for the clip bearing Dan Levy’s response to the question about his show’s lack of homophobia:

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  1. Mikkiyfab
    August 19, 14:44 Reply

    Now that is what I am taking about…just negodu… beautiful show, beautiful content and a cast with the most beautiful interpretation of every aspect of it…schitt’s Creek is SIMPLY THE BEST-BETTER THAN ALL THE REST

  2. Mandy
    August 19, 18:53 Reply

    I’ve never liked a show as much as Schitt’s Creek.
    I’ve never known love as free to grow as when I’m watching it.
    Something about watching this show just makes me feel alright, like the world in Schitt’s Creek will be our world someday. It just shows you how beautiful the world could be. I will forever be indebted to them for the joy they gave me in 22 minute segments and I wish them nothing but the best of luck with all their future endeavours.
    The decision to make Schitt’s Creek a homophobia and bigotry free zone was a huge paradigm shift. It modelled how beautiful it would be to live in a place where David’s pansexuality, Patrick being Gay and Ronnie being a Lesbian are what they are and didn’t need an anxiety-ridden episode where it was discussed and then accepted.
    Dan Levy may never truly understand what he has given us or how much this beautiful creation has meant to people like me.

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