Brow Beat

All the Times Difficult People Has “Joked” About Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey
One Difficult People Kevin Spacey joke makes a subtle reference to kids.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Reuters

Difficult People now joins Family Guy and 30 Rock on the list of comedies that have been making jokes about Hollywood’s alleged sexual abusers, its “open secrets,” for years.

A Difficult People fan account, @difficultpsycho, has tweeted out all the jokes made by entertainment industry outsiders Julie and Billy about entertainment industry insider Kevin Spacey. Many of the quips are innocuous acting jokes, but a number of them revolve around Spacey’s sexuality, aggression, and attraction to younger men, while one in particular makes a dark reference to an interest in kids. In listing things kids hate, the pair lump Kevin Spacey in with homework and the dentist.

Spacey was a target from the start. “The second Bridget asked for a volunteer to come up on stage, his hand shot up faster than Kevin Spacey’s fly,” says Billy in the show’s third ever episode, “Pledge Week.”

The fictional best friends’ rapidfire banter regularly takes aim at a range of real-life pop culture figures and gossip, from the mainstream to the obscure (Woody Allen was a major target in the most recent season, on the more mainstream end of things). Fans need to be serious pop cultures junkie to catch all the show’s non-stop jokes. In an interview on BUST magazine’s podcast Poptarts, on which I am a producer, Klausner acknowledged some of the insider baseball-ness of the show’s humor. “You either get it or you can look it up,” said Klausner. “If you’re curious then you can look it up and you’ll be all the richer and if not, here’s another joke.” References that are considered so obscure that Klausner herself needs to look them up are discarded: A joke about John Moschitta, the Micro Machines guy, was cut. Spacey’s reputation, however, was clearly considered well-known enough to make for good writing room material.

It’s baffling that the entertainment industry rumors surrounding Spacey (not to mention Weinstein) were considered common knowledge enough to be used as references on shows about the industry, but were somehow still so unknown that actual allegations are considered shocking when they emerge in the media. As pop culture consumers, we’ve been absorbing these jokes for years, yet as industry outsiders lacking in context they’ve felt like mysterious but believable innuendo. It points to the question: How much more does Hollywood know, and how many other “jokes” are hinting at something real?