Andre Rison Defends Jon Gruden ... 'I Know He's Not A Racist'

"BE SINCERE IN YOUR APOLOGETICS"
TMZSports.com

Andre Rison is going to bat for Jon Gruden ... telling TMZ Sports he knows the former NFL head coach is definitely "not a racist."

Rison -- who played for Gruden and the Raiders in the 2000 NFL season -- said despite the vile, racist, homophobic and misogynistic words Jon wrote in emails from 2011 to 2018 ... he still believes the guy is a good man.

"We all say some things behind closed doors that we regret or we wouldn't say in public," said Rison, who's remained close to Gruden even after the '00 season ended. "We've all made mistakes."

"I believe who he said and what he said and who he intended it for, it was intended for that person and nobody else."

Rison did admit Gruden did mean what he said in his messages to a Washington Football Team exec and others ... and offered to apologize on the coach's behalf.

But, Rison added in all the years he's been around the 58-year-old, he's never seen anything that would suggest Gruden is a bad person.

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ADDRESSING THE CONTROVERSY
Las Vegas Raiders

Rison also told us he believes if this is the end of Gruden's time in the NFL, the former Raiders head man should hold his head high.

"You've already given this game some of the best tutelage and best leadership that you could possibly give," Rison said in a message to Gruden. "So if you don't ever touch the game again, don't feel any type of way."

"Go on with your life and enjoy it with the rest of the Gruden family."

CELEB DERMATOLOGIST DR. KHADAVI RESTRAINING ORDER AFTER ALLEGED ANTI-GAY RANT ... Steer Clear Of Neighbor

7/7/21
DISTURBING THREATS
TMZ.com

Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Alex Khadavi just got slapped with a restraining order in the latest fallout from his homophobic rant caught on video ... he's gotta stay away from the people who accused him of making death threats.

According to new legal docs ... the gay married couple who claim they were on the receiving end of Khadavi's threatening rant is getting court-ordered protection.

The docs, obtained by TMZ, show that Khadavi is banned from harassing, intimidating, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, assaulting, hitting, abusing, destroying personal property or disturbing the peace of the couple, who live in his building.

Khadavi, whose celeb clients have included Lance Bass and Scott Disick, has also been ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from them anywhere outside of the West Hollywood condo building where they all live.

TMZ broke the story ... Khadavi's rant on July 7 was captured on video, which appears to show him approaching the front desk concierge in a hostile manner, talking smack about people who live in the building, referring to them with the homophobic f-word, and threatening to "blow their f***ing heads off."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

The restraining order will be in place for the next 3 years, ending in October 2024.

We reached out to Khadavi ... so far, no word back.

Carl Nassib Takes Personal Day ... After Jon Gruden's Anti-Gay Emails Revealed

Carl Nassib -- the only openly gay player in the NFL -- was granted a day off by the Raiders on Wednesday ... after his former head coach, Jon Gruden, was ousted for spewing homophobic comments in emails.

Las Vegas Raiders general manager, Mike Mayock, just told reporters Nassib requested the "personal day" following the departure of Gruden ... explaining, "He just said he's got a lot to process."

"There's a lot that's been going on the last few days," Mayock said of Nassib's situation. "And, of course, we support that request."

SUPPORTING OUR GUY
Las Vegas Raiders

Mayock added that he's already spoken with Nassib multiple times in wake of Gruden's exit ... and is planning to meet with him later Wednesday as well.

Mayock did not elaborate on if he expected Nassib to play Sunday when the Raiders take on the Broncos.

As we previously reported, Gruden stepped down as Raiders head coach after emails from the 58-year-old containing anti-gay rhetoric surfaced this week.

Some of the messages included the vile words "f*****" and "queer."

Nassib has yet to publicly comment on it all ... but he did say just a few weeks ago that he avoided going public with his sexual preferences sooner because, among other reasons, he "didn't know if guys would be supportive or not."

Nassib has played in all 5 games for the Raiders this season ... logging 1.5 sacks.

Dave Chappelle Trans Comic Flame Monroe Backs His Right to Joke Over LGBT

Dave Chappelle cracking jokes over the LGBTQ+ community is fair game, and should NOT be censored in the slightest -- so says a transgender comedian, who's backing the dude.

Flame Monroe -- a Black trans comic -- tells TMZ she's not in favor of taking Dave's new Netflix special, "The Closer," off the service ... because she says in the world of comedy, nothing is off-limits -- and she simply doesn't believe in censoring standups.

"NO TOPIC IS OFF LIMITS"
TMZ.com

Watch her explanation here, because it's very interesting. Obviously, Flame has a multi-dimensional perspective to offer -- from race to gender identity, and also her chosen craft -- and the one she feels most strongly about is a comic's right to joke freely.

That jibes with what Damon Wayans told us just the other day on this whole debate. He, too, seemed more focused on the comedy side of things ... rather than the LGBT vs. Black comparisons Dave raised in the special.

Flame goes further ... praising Dave as "great," while also saying she believes he's brought people together in a way -- to have a much-needed dialogue.

DEFENDING DABABY
Netflix

Bottom line ... Flame seems to be OK with Dave using Netflix's platform to speak his mind -- and clearly believes that outweighs the actual inflammatory content itself.

Of course, not everyone in her communities -- be it among African-Americans or folks under the LGBT umbrella -- feels the same way ... which means this convo's far from over.

Jeff Fisher Denies Gruden's Claim ... NFL Didn't Pressure Rams To Draft Michael Sam

Jeff Fisher is calling BS on Jon Gruden ... saying the coach was dead wrong when he claimed in an email that the NFL forced him and the Rams to draft Michael Sam.

Fisher released a lengthy statement late Tuesday night refuting Gruden's claim that Roger Goodell was the one who pressured the head coach to pick Sam in the 7th round of the 2014 NFL Draft due to the pass rusher's sexual orientation.

"As a head coach for over 20 years," Fisher said, "we drafted or didn't draft players based on a variety of qualities. Their sexual orientation would never -- and should never -- play a part in the decision-making process."

Fisher added, "The NFL never encouraged or discouraged me regarding the selection of a potential prospect."

In one of Gruden's many crass emails sent between 2011 and 2018 that were made public this week ... Jon wrote to a Washington Football Team exec that he believed Goodell urged Fisher to take Sam because he was gay.

In the email, Gruden used an anti-gay slur to describe Sam.

Fisher said in his statement he's still a big supporter of Sam's ... and praised the courage it took for him to go public with his sexual preference.

"I continue to support Michael, and his decision to come out as the first draft eligible openly gay player in the league," Fisher said. "It took courage to serve as a role model for those competitive football players who may also happen to be gay."

Sam played in all four of the Rams' preseason games in his rookie year ... but was cut just before the regular season began. He later signed a contract to join the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad, but was cut after just a few weeks there as well.

Sam never caught on in the league again, but did play in the CFL, becoming the first openly gay athlete in the Canadian league's history.

NFL's Ryan Russell On Jon Gruden Openly Bisexual Player: 'Deeply Upset, Shocked, Appalled'

STILL WORK TO BE DONE
TMZ.com

Ryan Russell, an openly bisexual NFL free agent, tells TMZ Sports he was sickened by Jon Gruden's racist and homophobic comments ... and the incident serves as proof the NFL has much work left to accomplish.

"I was deeply upset, shocked, appalled even that a leader of an organization, a leader of young men, football culture in general, would have so many negative, derogatory, hateful really, discriminatory things to say about so many different kinds of people," Russell says.

29-year-old Russell -- a 5th round draft pick of the Cowboys in 2015 -- has an interesting perspective. The DE announced he was bisexual in mid-2019.

So, despite players like Carl Nassib and Russ being open about their sexuality, has progress actually been made within the league?

Russell says yes.

"I think there's definitely been progress" ... just nowhere near enough.

"We're not done yet. There's much further we need to go, and much more we need to do. There's still work that needs to be done."

Of course, Gruden resigned days after the emails came to light. He's since been taken out of the Bucs' (where he won a Super Bowl) ring of honor. He's also been dropped by Sketchers -- his biggest individual sponsor.

As for Roger Goodell and the NFL's power structure ... Ryan has some advice on how to move forward.

"Putting 'End Racism' on the field in paint means nothing if it isn't painted within your staff, if it's not painted within the bread of your organization, your foundation," Russ tells us.

"They are capable of this change. People aren't asking for anything that is beyond the NFL's capability. And, that they just take the time and just be intentional with everything that they do moving forward to really breed inclusivity and diversity for all."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jon Gruden Pulled From Ring Of Honor ... Skechers Drops Coach

2:55 PM PT -- The Buccaneers have followed in Skechers' footsteps and cut ties with Gruden as well ... announcing Tuesday the coach will no longer be recognized in Tampa Bay's Ring of Honor.

"While we acknowledge Jon Gruden's contributions on the field," the team said, "his actions go against our core values as an organization."

"Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor."

Gruden coached the Bucs from 2002 to 2008 ... winning one Super Bowl with the team.

First, Jon Gruden lost his job ... now, he's lost his biggest sponsorship too.

Skechers has terminated its contract with the former Las Vegas Raiders head coach ... after learning the 58-year-old wrote racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails from 2011 to 2018.

"Skechers is aware of the recent press reporting on the emails of Jon Gruden, which caused him to resign his N.F.L. coaching position," a spokesperson for the shoe giant said in a statement Tuesday.

"Upon learning of these developments, we immediately terminated Mr. Gruden’s endorsement contract and our affiliation with him."

Gruden had been one of the faces of Skechers, appearing in ads for the company for the past several months.

"Skechers believes in equality, fostering tolerance, and understanding for all people," the spokesperson said. "It is at the core of who we are as a global lifestyle brand and why we have a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior within our business including those with who we formally work with."

"We believe taking a stand against racist or derogatory comments and for inclusion of all is imperative."

The news comes just one day after Gruden was ousted from his role as Las Vegas head man following the news that he had hurled an anti-gay slur toward Roger Goodell and used other offensive language in multiple emails.

In announcing his parting of ways with the Raiders ... Gruden apologized for the messages, and added, "I never meant to hurt anyone."

The Raiders have named Rich Bisaccia as their interim head coach in wake of Gruden's departure.

Originally Published -- 2:48 PM PT

Jon Gruden's Son Staying On Raiders' Staff ... Despite Dad's Ousting

Jon Gruden is out in Las Vegas ... but there will still be a Gruden on the Raiders' staff.

Jon's 27-year-old son, Deuce Gruden, is staying put in his role as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the team, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported late Monday night.

Of course, Deuce is accused of no wrongdoing ... but it's interesting nonetheless, given the way Jon was ousted on Monday.

As we reported, Jon resigned in disgrace following reports that he sent multiple emails from 2010 to 2018 that contained anti-gay and misogynistic language.

In a statement revealing his intentions to step down as Raiders head man, Jon said he was "sorry" for it all ... adding, "I never meant to hurt anyone."

Deuce, meanwhile, has yet to publicly comment on the situation ... but it's clear, he's not letting it affect his job status with the team.

Deuce was initially hired on Jon's staff after the 58-year-old took over the head coaching reins in 2018.

The younger Gruden had experience in the NFL prior ... initially breaking into the league as an intern on Jay Gruden's Washington Football Team staff in 2016.

Jon Gruden Out As Raiders Coach ... Allegedly Used Homophobic Slurs In Emails

7:28 PM PT -- Gruden released a statement minutes ago ... saying, "I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders."

"I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation."

"I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone."

6:15 PM PT -- Gruden is OUT as coach of the Raiders after his email scandal.

According to multiple reports, Gruden met Monday with Raiders owner, Mark Davis, and he's no longer coaching the team.

It's somehow getting worse for Jon Gruden, because his emails don't just include racist language ... now there's a report he also used homophobic slurs aimed at Roger Goodell.

Gruden, who already apologized for a racially insensitive email he fired off in 2011, reportedly referred to the NFL Commissioner as a "f*****" and "clueless anti-football p****" ... according to emails obtained by The New York Times.

Gruden also reportedly wrote Goodell should not have pressured former NFL coach, Jeff Fisher, to draft "queers" in 2014 ... referencing Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL.

The alleged homophobic language might not sit well in Gruden's locker room ... he's currently the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, who have defensive lineman Carl Nassib on the roster, the first active player who is openly gay.

According to The New York Times, Gruden fired off the emails from 2010 to 2018, when he was out of pro football and working as an analyst for "Monday Night Football" on ESPN.

Gruden reportedly aimed homophobic slurs at Goodell in several instances, as well as using other offensive language to describe NFL owners, coaches and media.

Even Barack Obama and Joe Biden were reportedly mentioned in Gruden's emails ... with Gruden ripping Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign and referring to Biden as a "nervous clueless p****."

As we reported ... Gruden's been on the hot seat since a 2011 email was uncovered, where he says NFL Players Association president, DeMaurice Smith, had "lips the size of Michelin tires."

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ADDRESSING THE CONTROVERSY
Las Vegas Raiders

Gruden apologized for the racist email a second time Sunday, after his team lost to the Chicago Bears, saying he doesn't "have an ounce of racism in me."

The new report also says Gruden mocked Caitlyn Jenner in his emails, after she received an award from ESPN in 2015 following her transition.

Gruden's currently in the 4th year of a 10-year, $100 million contract to coach the Raiders ... and it's unclear if he faces any discipline.

Originally Published -- 6:11 PM PT

Damon Wayans on Chappelle Dave Freed Comedy 'Slaves' w/ Special ... van Gogh of Comedy

BE FREE, DAVE
TMZ.com

Dave Chappelle is now the great emancipator of comedians thanks to his latest Netflix special -- so says Damon Wayans, who drew a parallel to slavery while praising Dave.

We ran into the comic and actor Monday at LAX and got his take on Dave's standup special, 'The Closer' ... which is STILL being hotly debated nearly a week after its release. As for where Damon lands ... count him as firmly in Chappelle's camp.

You gotta watch how DW breaks this down for us ... saying Dave "freed the slaves" as it pertains to other comics who might be fearful to speak on certain subjects in a PC/woke culture world.

DEFENDING DABABY
Netflix

He also goes on to call him the van Gogh of the comedy game -- saying he cut off his ear, in a sacrificial sense, to let the others know ... you can still joke, be yourself and operate without fear of being canceled. Or at least, you should be able to in Damon's view.

Our photog asks about the actual content of the special -- namely, the jokes that have deeply offended folks in the LGBT community (especially transgender people) but Dame won't touch on that.

What he does wanna talk about is a phenomenon he perceives -- that one is NOT truly free in the U.S. anymore on the issue of speech, and he sees that as the real issue we need to dissect.

Netflix Suspended Trans Employee for Crashing Meeting ... Not For Decrying Chappelle

1:50 PM PT -- A source close to the situation tells TMZ ... Terra did get suspended for joining a meeting with Directors without notifying the people running the meeting first. We're told Terra's presence in the meeting sparked an investigation -- same goes for the other 2 employees -- and her suspension was the result of that investigation.

A Netflix spokesperson confirms Terra's suspension was the result of her meeting attendance, and not any of her tweets.

1:18 PM PT -- Netflix has reportedly issued a denial of the suspensions, saying it's "absolutely untrue" that its employees were suspended for speaking out against Chappelle's special ... on Twitter or otherwise.

A Netflix spokesperson says, "Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so."

However, it's still unclear if the 3 employees received suspensions for allegedly busting into a meeting among company leaders they weren't invited to. We're working on a clarification.

Netflix benched 3 of its own employees -- including one who's trans -- for blasting Dave Chappelle's new stand-up special ... but the network insists it's more over HOW they did it.

The streaming giant reportedly suspended Terra Field -- who identifies as queer/trans, and who uses she/her pronouns -- and two other Netflix workers for crashing a meeting among top execs last week ... which Field and the rest infiltrated, uninvited -- this, per Variety.

DEFENDING DABABY
Netflix

It was a virtual quarterly business review sesh ... and, apparently, CEO Ted Sarandos at one point posed a question to the other bigwigs on how Netflix should handle employees/talent who are upset over Chappelle's special, "The Closer," which is full of trans and LGBTQ jokes.

Sounds like Field and co. piped up right then and there ... but no word on what exactly was said. In any case, they're not gonna be reporting to work for an undetermined amount of time over the stunt.

Field had been vocally against Chappelle's special on Twitter prior to the meeting -- something Netflix says it's totally cool with. What they don't approve, it seems, is the stealth move to sneak into the meeting to voice concerns. That, they say, is why she's suspended.

Of course, Chappelle's comments have been called inflammatory -- especially his remark that he sides with J.K. Rowling on the idea that "gender is a fact" ... going on to say he's team T.E.R.F. (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). It's just one thing he said about the community.

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CANDID CHAPPELLE
BACKGRID

Sarandos fired off an internal memo, also obtained by Variety, to employees after this episode, and essentially defended the special and its right to exist on their platform ... saying he didn't think 'Closer' crossed the line into inciting violence against the trans/LGBTQ community -- and that stand-up gets a longer leash by default in that regard.

Seems Netflix has drawn a line in the sand on this issue, and they're on Chappelle's half of it.

Originally Published -- 11:56 AM PT

New Superman Clark Kent's Son, Jon, Comes Out as Bi ... DC Comics Confirmed!!!

The Man of Steel is coming out of the phone booth like no other iteration before -- Superman's son will be bisexual going forward ... ushering in a new era under DC.

The announcement came down Monday by the comic book giant ... namely, that Jon Kent -- Clark Kent and Lois Lane's son, who's the new Superman -- is indeed both into guys and girls. Not just that ... but a male relationship will be explored within a forthcoming issue.

This new series, titled "Superman: Son of Kal-El," got underway back in July ... and it follows young Jon as he navigates taking on the red cape and the responsibilities as Earth's superest of heroes -- while his pops steps back. Starting in November, DC says Jon will officially come out ... with promotional photos of him kissing his pal, Jay, surfacing to tease the release.

The adventures of Jon are way more relevant and timely than anything Kal-El ever dealt with -- thus far, he's battled climate change crises, stopped a school shooting and even addressed immigration head-on ... not with fists, but with protest!

As for this new move to make him bi ... the series' lead writer, Tom Taylor, says they didn't want to pass up the opportunity to make Superman as modern (and inclusive) as possible -- saying the idea of making a new Superman another straight white savior seemed lame.

Of course, this comes on the heels of DC announcing that their latest version of Robin/Tim Drake would also be bisexual ... which was hinted at and way less explicit as this is.

Here, Superman is straight-up making out with a guy -- so DC's going all-in on LGBT representation.

Kristian Nairn 'GOT' Actor to Chappelle: Stay in Your Lane and Lay off LGBTQ Jokes

LIVE AND LET LIVE
TMZ.com

Actor Kristian Nairn, who played Hodor on "Game of Thrones," thinks Dave Chappelle shouldn't make jokes at the expense of the LGBTQ community.

Nairn was on Robertson Boulevard in L.A. Friday when our photog asked about the heat Dave's taking over his latest Netflix special. He makes a case that he's not transphobic or homophobic, but not everyone in the LGBTQ community is buying it and some are calling for a boycott.

Kristian, who came out as gay back in 2014, suggests Dave should stay in his lane and not take shots at communities that don't affect him.

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CANDID CHAPPELLE
BACKGRID

Chapelle couldn't care less about the cancel calls ... he made that clear earlier this week. And, he tripled down at the Hollywood Bowl Thursday night, and Stevie Wonder, Snoop, Lizzo, Jon Hamm and others took the stage and had his back.

As for Nairn ... he clearly thinks it's wrong for Chappelle to zero in on the LGBTQ community.

Dave Chappelle Mocks Cancel Culture Amid Controversy ... Celebs Cheer at Hollywood Bowl

"If this is what being canceled is like, I love it."

That's how Dave Chappelle greeted the audience Thursday night at the star-studded screening of his new documentary at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl ... after receiving a standing ovation despite the swirling controversy over his new Netflix special, "The Closer."

Dave also railed on Twitter, the media and "all these stupid-ass networks" to the celeb-packed crowd that included Brad Pitt, Tiffany Haddish, Donnell Rawlings and more ... saying, "I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life."

Along with Chappelle dismissing cancel culture in wake of being called out for transphobic jokes and offending the LGBTQ+ community in his new stand-up special, Stevie Wonder also took the stage following the premiere of Dave's 'Untitled' doc to chide the idea of being canceled.

Instead, Stevie said society needs to work on canceling hate and fear and focus on loving each other. Interestingly enough, Chappelle also promoted coming together as people and trusting one another again, and spoke of a "kindness conspiracy" to get it going.

Along with Dave addressing his adoring crowd, other guest performers included Jeff Ross, Michael Buffer, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Jon Hamm and others before Chappelle closed things out by saying ... "Thank god I'm canceled because f**k this shit anyway. I bet you I'll be someone better than you think."

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CANDID CHAPPELLE
BACKGRID

Nope, still doesn't seem like Dave is sweating all the heat he's getting lately ... and everyone -- in Hollywood anyway -- seems to love it.

Dave Chappelle Controversial LGBTQ Comments in Netflix Special ... It's No Skin Off My Nose!!!

10/6/21
CANDID CHAPPELLE
BACKGRID

Dave Chappelle couldn't care less what anyone thinks about his controversial LGBTQ comments in his Netflix stand-up special ... Dude's all smiles.

The comedian hit up Peppermint Club in Hollywood Wednesday night where he performed ... and a throng of paps got him and his entourage on their way out. Dave's chill despite feeling the heat following his latest stand-up special, "The Closer."

The photogs are peppering him with questions about the blowback over his comments about the LGBTQ community, but he doesn't answer. He does, however, offer a parting shot as he drives away ... "Dumb-ass questions."

Dave came under fire after, among other things, joking the gay community cared more about torpedoing DaBaby's career for his homophobic rant than the fact he shot and killed someone at a Walmart. BTW ... DaBaby allegedly fired in self-defense and was never charged.

He kicked it off with, "In our country, you can shoot and kill a n****, but you better not hurt a gay person's feelings. And this is precisely the disparity that I wish to discuss."

Dave also said "Gender is a fact" because "every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth."

The comments, of course, set off a wave of controversy. Dave, however, seems unbothered. And, it shows.

Dave Chappelle DaBaby Killing Someone ... Wasn't as Career-Ending as Offending Gays

DEFENDING DABABY
Netflix

DaBaby killing a man wasn't even nearly as offensive as him going after the LGBT community, which torpedoed his career ... a disparity Dave Chappelle says doesn't sit well with him.

The comedian's got a new stand-up special on Netflix, and right off the bat ... he starts making jokes about DB falling from grace after going on a homophobic rant, which Dave notes might've been more of a cardinal sin than actually ending someone's life.

Of course, he's talking about a legal case DaBaby was wrapped up in some years ago -- when cops say he was involved in a fatal shooting at a Walmart in North Carolina ... something DB himself has said was done in self-defense, and for which he skated.

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THE DISGUSTING COMMENTS
Rolling Loud

Watch what Dave's going for here ... he's suggesting that pissing off the gay community these days is a way bigger deal -- and could end your career faster -- than actually killing.

It's all tongue-in-cheek, of course, but DC's making a point he seems to believe ... that what DaBaby did wasn't really that big a deal -- considering his overall history. Some might agree, but others certainly don't -- as what DaBaby said at Rolling Loud was, in fact, awful.

Dave acknowledges that as well ... saying that the guy even crossed a line for him personally -- seeing how Dave says he often makes cracks at the expense of the LGBT crowd. But, in (his) perspective, Dave believes something's amiss by the severe fallout DB has faced.

There's more jokes Dave makes about gays ... making a distinction between "old school" ones from the Stonewall era, and modern-day ones -- whom he considers overly sensitive.

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