Comedian Natasha Leggero Won’t Apologize For Pearl Harbor Joke During New Year’s Broadcast

After facing criticism for what she calls a “harmless joke” about World War II veterans, comedian Natasha Leggero wrote a pretty perfect response, without apologizing.

1. On New Year’s Eve, Natasha Leggero made a joke about World War II veterans during NBC’s live coverage that immediately resulted in a backlash. But the comedian has made it clear she is not sorry.


Leggero is a stand-up comic who is a frequent guest on Chelsea Lately. She was a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, roasted James Franco, and also has a Comedy Central Presents under her belt.

2. While discussing the now notorious Spaghetti-O’s tweet about Pearl Harbor, Leggero joked: “It sucks that the only survivors of Pearl Harbor are being mocked by the only food they can still chew.”

3. People immediately tweeted their grievances about the joke, and various media outlets including New York Daily News and the Daily Mail covered the story.

@OfficialNYRE I'm trying to wrap my head around the totally disrespectful comment that was made by Natasha Leggero about the Veteran's!

— KoolBeans83 (@Brandie Logsdon)

7. Those who were offended got, um, pretty heated.

Fucking no-class dirty dumbfuck cunt trashy drunk libtard bitch Natasha Leggero Mocks Pearl Harbor V

— Tcmarciano (@TCM)

natasha leggero your a tasteless bitch

— cokieh (@cokie hazel)

natasha leggero is a bitch ! Fuck her and I hope she gets hit by a bus ! Do not make fun of the Pearl harbor veterans ! Fucking bitch!

— chewy322 (@HonestAbe)

#NBCNYE Making fun of Pearl Harbor vets? Changing channel. Disgusting. Really NBC?

— MissLee708 (@Lee Harwig )

12. On Friday, Leggero took to her blog to directly address what she called a “harmless joke,” and tweeted it to her 200,000+ followers.

On New Years Eve I made what I thought was a harmless joke Here is my response:...

— natashaleggero (@Natasha Leggero)

13. “I wish I could apologize, but do you really want another insincere apology that you know is just an attempt at damage control and not a real admission of guilt? Let me just try instead to be honest.”

Rather than offering an insincere apology, Leggero focused on the actual problems veterans face, including inadequate care after returning from active duty, rampant sexual assaults in the military, high suicide rates, and PTSD. She also wrote that in the past few days she has been “called a cunt so much” she felt like she was “in a British pub rooting for the wrong soccer team.”

“Where do you think your outrage and action would be better served, calling me a cunt or doing something about the above problems?” she asks.

Here is a large portion of her letter:

I’m not sorry. I don’t think the amazing courage of American veterans and specifically those who survived Pearl Harbor is in any way diminished by a comedian making a joke about dentures on television. Do we really believe that the people who fought and defended our freedom against Nazis and the Axis powers will find a joke about Spaghetti O’s too much to bear? Sorry, I have more respect for Veterans than to think their honor can be impugned by a glamorous, charming comedian in a fur hat.

That’s not to say I don’t think comedians are a problem in this country, they are a financial drain on the people who date them and talk far too much about themselves. I’m thrilled to see how passionate (death threats against a five foot tall woman are always the height of passion!) people are about our country and our Veterans. I am too. My own father lost his hearing in the Vietnam War so the issue is pretty close to me too. So rather than apologize, let me offer another perspective.

On the one hand you have me, making a joke about how old people can’t chew tough foods very well.

On the other hand you have Veterans who receive inadequate care upon their return from active duty, rampant sexual assault against female soldiers, staggering rates of suicide, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, substance abuse and depression among soldiers and political gridlock that prevents these problems from getting solved quickly.

Where do you think your outrage and action would be better served, calling me a cunt or doing something about the above problems?

For those of you that are currently doing both: Kudos!

To our vets: I love you. I truly hope you know that.

To Spaghetti O’s: Let’s do lunch.

To the Elderly: Chew!

To @nealrscott: It’s spelled Human Excrement not Increatment.

To those looking for an active way to address the above problems, do what I’ve decided to do instead of apologize: Make a donation to the Disabled American Veterans foundation. (link

Ever Yours,
Natasha Leggero

15. After she posted it, fellow comedians and celebrities tweeted their support of how she handled the criticism.

I loved @natashaleggero 's Joke on New Years Eve. #itwasajoke #sheisacomic #selectiveoutrage

— amyschumer (@Amy Schumer)


— nealbrennan (@Neal Brennan)

This "apology" by @natashaleggero is perfect. Perfect!

— kumailn (@Kumail Nanjiani)

@natashaleggero well articulated.

— woodelijah (@Elijah Wood)

#FF @natashaleggero great response! And as always, fab fashion. xo

— kristenschaaled (@Kristen Schaal)

#FF @natashaleggero because she's funny as fuck.

— Sethrogen (@Seth Rogen)

Check out more articles on!

Alison Vingiano is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact this reporter at
More News
Now Buzzing