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James Franco ‘shocked’ by gay jokes during Comedy Central Roast

By Shaun Kitchener

James Franco has played a wide range of gay characters throughout his career, leading to endless speculation about his own sexuality – and a load of wince-inducing gay jokes during his infamous Comedy Central Roast.

In 2013 the actor was ribbed by comedians Seth Rogen, Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Nick Kroll, Natasha Leggero, Jeff Ross, Andy Samberg and Sarah Silverman as part of the send-up; and the actor now says he found the continual barrage of one-liners about his orientation “weird”.


“I was a little shocked, I didn’t write those jokes [at the roast], they did,” he told The Independent. “I didn’t make any gay jokes.” The star has always dated women.

He acknowledged that while homophobia still exists in Hollywood, the gags he does with Rogen – for example their faux-steamy parody of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s Bound 2 performance – are not intended as a send-up of homosexuality itself.

“There is still a little bit of homophobia [in the industry],” he said. “I think part of it, when I do films with Seth, it’s more playing on straight male anxiety about any sort of same-sex interaction. To me that is really a comment on a larger anxiety and not really anything about denigrating or criticising anything about the gay community.”

The 37-year-old has acknowledged the speculation in several interviews before, telling Entertainment Weekly in 2011: “It’s funny because the way that kind of stuff is talked about on blogs is so black-and-white… ‘Is he straight or is he gay?’ Or, ‘This is your third gay movie — come out already!’ And all based on, gay or straight, based on the idea that your object of affection decides your sexuality.

“Part of what I’m interested in is how these people who were living anti-normative lifestyles contended with opposition. Or, you know what, maybe I’m just gay!”