In the Will & Grace episode "Who's Sorry Now", Will says that he wants to title his autobiography "Homo with a Pie". The studio audience laughs at this, but I didn't get the joke. I assume it is a play on words that is referring to a title I'm not familiar with. Can someone explain the joke?
Here is what I pulled directly from the episode for context:
Grace: I found all the letters we wrote to each other in college.
Will: You know I meant to organize those for the archive for when I was going to write my memoir.
Grace: Oh, right, right, and it had that weird title.
Will: Weird title? "Homo with a Pie." is a great title!
< audience laughter >
Will: And when I get around to writing it, it's, it's, gunna delve into the complexities of the gay experience in America. And at the end, there'll be recipes.
< audience laughter >
Will: You know ... for pie.
There's two things here. First, this is just a laugh line, set there to pull an audience reaction. Second, (IMHO) it's really not that funny, yet the audience laughs anyway. I'm not really sure if studios use laugh signs (signs to tell the audience when to laugh) or not, but it sure seems like one of those times.
The only thing about this which is a joke is the play on him being gay. Calling himself a "Homo" comes from what was acceptable language in the time frame when he was planning his memoir, which was the early to mid 90's. I'm not quite sure the word has the same audience it once had (who will tolerate its use) then it did back then, thus why people might laugh at the joke.
I believe this joke is supposed to be a vague reference to the book Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. It's a book that, at one time, was read extensively by adolescent students since it centers around rebellion and teenage angst.
From the site Culture Trip
The Catcher in the Rye follows sixteen year old Holden Caulfield after his expulsion from an elite prep school. The narrator is an insightful, if somewhat unreliable, character who uses casual expletives and tales of sexual fantasy to expound on the points of loyalty, ‘phonies’ and his own duplicity. To this day the book remains the prime example of adolescent isolation and alienation and has exceeded sales of over ten million worldwide.