A high-profile attorney for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones used the N-word and other slurs during a standup routine with his pants down last month.
“You just can’t say certain words, they’re off-limits. And one of those words is n****r,” Norm Pattis, a 66-year-old attorney, said during a March 21 standup routine at a pizza spot in East Haven, Connecticut.
Video surfaced this week of Pattis’ performance at Tolli’s Apizza, part of a competition that featured comedians and musicians. He was seen rambling about Black Lives Matter and making homophobic and racist remarks, all with his pants around his ankles (he was wearing basketball shorts underneath). A Black woman sitting in the front row stares at Pattis throughout the nearly eight-minute set, clearly unimpressed.
WARNING: A full, uncensored video of his set below includes use of the racial slur.
Pattis appeared to be proud of his performance when contacted by HuffPost, noting that he “came in third overall.” Voting was conducted via likes on Instagram, where Pattis has a large following, and not based on audience response.
“I wanna watch a ballgame and there’s Colin Kaepernick, ‘I’m in church,’” Pattis said during his set, making an outdated reference to the former 49ers quarterback’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in 2016. “I don’t wanna hear about that, I don’t wanna hear about Black Lives Matter. You know, even the commercials are fucking political now.”
Pattis is currently representing Infowars’ Jones in a defamation case brought by the parents of Sandy Hook victims. The parents have faced death threats after Jones called them “crisis actors” following the 2012 shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead. Pattis is also representing Jones in a federal investigation into his role in the 2021 Capitol attack. In his spare time, Pattis apparently enjoys using slurs under the guise of comedy.
He’s done it before. Teddy Ren, a 34-year-old comedian who also performed at the March 21 event, told HuffPost he previously heard Pattis use the N-word during a set discussing Joe Rogan’s use of the word, and that a friend contacted him about a week later to say that Pattis had again used the slur onstage. Ren, who is Black, took to the stage at Tolli’s on March 21 to gently address the situation, poking fun at Pattis while still asking the audience to clap for him.
“Norm has a lot of energy. He’s still wearing suits from the ’90s, but he’s got a lot of energy,” Ren said, before adding that he previously heard Pattis say the slur, and hoped he wouldn’t hear it again tonight.
When Pattis went onstage following Ren, he invoked legendary comedian George Carlin’s seven dirty words bit as a pretext for dropping the slur.
“But anyhow, the N-word, right, can I say the N-word? I guess not, I’m gonna get beat up in a parking lot, but I’m going to try. Ready? Ready?”
“Nnnniii...” Pattis teased, before launching into the bit where he says the full word.
Ren said he was taking Pattis’ set in stride, and that he even laughed when Pattis was pretending to say the word. But when he actually did, the mood shifted.
“You see, when he gets to the very end of it, there is no joke,” Ren said of Pattis’ use of the slur. “He just pauses, and he has a lot of charisma onstage ― never seen him drop charisma ― but in this moment he kind of seemed like he was second-guessing it. It was like I watched his body glitch. And then he said it, and it’s not even a joke. You literally didn’t even deliver a joke. It felt like he wanted to say it because he knew I was right there.”
Ren turned over video of the incident to Ivelisse Correa, an organizer with Black Lives Matter 860, a local group of anti-racist activists. Correa first posted the video on the group’s Twitter page to draw attention to Pattis’ behavior. She said Pattis needs to know this type of behavior isn’t funny.
“He can’t blame this one on Ambien,” Correa told HuffPost, referring to comedian Roseanne Barr’s excuse for a racist tweet. “I’d like to know why he feels that that was appropriate in any context. This isn’t about comedy, or the spirit of being edgy. As we grow as a society, we learn that things are no longer appropriate: homophobia, sexism, racism. Those things have also fallen out of favor in comedy. So attempting to resurrect that, as someone who claims to be for civil liberties, is disgusting.”
In his email response, Pattis directed HuffPost to a blog he posted on Wednesday about his use of the slur.
“Who owns the English language? I ask because I am under fire for using the ‘n’ word without permission,” Pattis wrote in the typo-ridden post. He blamed “woke” culture and “the new high priests and priestesses of identity politics” for not finding his use of the slur funny. He also addressed Ren’s attempt to get him to stop saying it, pointing out that Black people were “using the ‘n’ work [sic] with abandon.”
“I didn’t have permission to use the ‘n’ word, they said,” Pattis wrote. “One doubted I’d use it again, since there were three of black men present – maybe I’d get my ass kicked. Things got a little edgy. Seriously?”
Pattis added that “if you are offended by use of the ‘n’ word in that comedic skit consider the possibility that the joke is at your expense.”