Though Boston’s Comics Come Home benefit show is supposed to be about having some laughs and raising money for charity, it sounds like few people walked away from it this year without being offended for one reason or another. The big story going around is that Wanda Sykes got booed off the stage after saying that this “is not the first time we’ve elected a racist, sexist, homophobic president,” just that Donald Trump is “the first confirmed one.” This drew a large number of boos from the audience, with Sykes eventually shouting “fuck you, motherfucker” at specific people in the crowd before leaving.
That’s the way it went down according to CBS and Fox News, but The Boston Globe‘s account of the evening actually suggests that there’s more going on here than a crowd disliking Sykes’ comments. Apparently, Denis Leary started the event with some Trump jokes of his own, at one point comparing him to an orangutan. That reportedly got “a big laugh,” but when Sykes made a similar joke at the beginning of her set, “she started to get some boos,” according to a man in attendance, suggesting that the issue wasn’t so much what was said but who was saying it.
After Sykes left, Nick DiPaolo came on stage and—again, according to The Boston Globe—he jumped into “a torrent of comments about liberals, Boston women, and Jews,” later following that up with a “pro-Trump rant filled with coarse language, anti-Semitic references, and jokes about raping women.” By all accounts, these comments seemed to go over with the audience a lot better than Sykes’ did.
Looking to smooth over some of these rough patches, Leary released a largely toothless statement saying that the comedians at the event are “free to speak their mind” and that the organizers have “never censored any performer at Comics Come Home.” That could easily be read as a defense of both of them, so it doesn’t really mean anything other than that he stands by Sykes’ anti-Trump statements and DiPaolo’s anti-Semitic comments equally.