Sassy Gay Friend fixes your sad, broken life

He counsels women in distress. Dance beats follow him wherever he goes. Is he harmless satire, or tired cliche?

Published April 1, 2010 1:17PM (EDT)

A still from Sassy Gay Friend's "Hamlet" episode
A still from Sassy Gay Friend's "Hamlet" episode

It is time to address one of the most fascinating, complex and controversial cultural figures of our time. I speak, of course, of Sassy Gay Friend, who has three separate videos on the YouTube from the Second City Network, none of which is easy to stop watching. Sassy Gay Friend's goal in life is to insert himself into various Shakespearean scenarios, involving ladies who are getting unreasonably weepy and preparing to die. He then hollers highly judgmental and apt advice at them (that is the "sassy" part), gets them to stop moping over their various boyfriends and husbands (the "friend" portion), and saves their lives to the tune of a stereotypical and very crappy dance beat (and that, I guess, conveys the "gay"?).

It is possible to read Sassy Gay Friend as a satire of the "sassy gay friend" stereotype, in which gay men are all extremely fabulous and do absolutely nothing with their lives but advise straight ladies. It is possible to read Sassy Gay Friend as embracing this stereotype. It is possible to deplore the broadness with which Sassy Gay Friend is acted, particularly on his catchphrase "stupid bitch," and how one skit gets a bit racially offensive. (Yes, it's "Othello." Why do you ask?) It is possible to admire Sassy Gay Friend's insight into matters of gender. It is possible to spend entirely too much time analyzing comedy skits on YouTube.

But we come not to bury Sassy Gay Friend, but to praise him. For one thing is clear: Sassy Gay Friend cares about the ladies. He is full of wisdom about how the fragile, perpetually victimized women of Shakespeare might best empower themselves. He knows that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark, and it is Hamlet's piss-poor attitude, and so Ophelia needs to get over him posthaste. He knows that "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo" translates to "desperate, I am really desperate, are there any stalkers on my grounds?" He knows that Othello has a pillow from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and it is good for smothering, and that Desdemona needs to get out of her abusive husband's house. He wants you to look at your life! He wants you to look at your choices! And, on a day when you yourself are approaching Shakespearean levels of weepiness, there is comfort in the presence, via YouTube, of Sassy Gay Friend.

By Sady Doyle

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