July 13, 2008

Obama chides Bernie Mac.

Poor Barack Obama! It's another with-friends-like-that-who-needs-enemies-story:
[C]omedian Bernie Mac after an appearance at an Obama fundraiser last night. The comic performed a profanity-laced set at the function which ended with hecklers telling him to get off the stage after a joke that some deemed particularly offensive to women. Obama joked about the fundraiser being a “family affair” when he followed Mac on stage, but the campaign got more serious about criticizing the comedian afterwards:
Toward the end of a 10-minute standup routine at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago, the 50-year-old star of “The Bernie Mac Show” joked about menopause, sexual infidelity and promiscuity, and used occasional crude language.

“My little nephew came to me and he said, ‘Uncle, what’s the difference between a hypothetical question and a realistic question?’” Mac said. “I said, I don’t know, but I said, ‘Go upstairs and ask your mother if she’d make love to the mailman for $50,000.’”

As the joke continued, the punchline evoked an angry response from at least one person in the audience, who said it was offensive to women.
How did it get more offensive? The Chicago Tribune gives a little more detail:
He promised to help Obama and ended his irreverent riff with a joke involving the women in the families and living with two “hoes.”
That summary comes from Ed Morrissey, who calls attention to the offense to women that Obama's "family affair" scolding misses. To say, this is a "family affair" implies that we could talk like this in an adults-only environment — as if there's no difference between sex and sexism. Ed notes that it's particularly bad when Obama needs to win over Hillary-supporters.

Firedoglake attempts humor with heavy-handed sarcasm:
This is potentially game changing. Who would ever have expected such stuff from Bernie Mac? At any rate I don't see how Obama can possibly win in November in the aftermath of this catastrophe.
Oops. You stepped in it. If such talk from Mac was completely predictable, then the Obama campaign is responsible for it. Once again, I've got to say: With friends like this, who needs enemies?

UPDATE: What exactly was the "ho" joke? (Important, considering what happened to Imus.) Jack Tapper has it:
Mac's wife, in the joke, said she sleep "with anyone" for $50,000, and Mac's daughter said the same.

Explained Mac: "Hypothetically speaking, we should have $100,000. But realistically speaking we live with two hos."
So the same week that Obama agonized over letting his daughters do a cute little TV interview, Mac is calling his own daughter a "ho."

And according to my commenter EnigmatiCore, Andrew Dice Clay told the same joke in the 1980s.

47 comments:

save_the_rustbelt said...

Many of my Democrat friends are now wondering out loud if maybe Hillary would have been a better general election candidate.

Given the Bush disaster and the weakness of the McCain campaign Obama should be ahead by 20% - instead of floundering.

A dysfunctional primary process gave us two mediocre candidates - maybe we deserve this.

Ralph said...

Who is Bernie Mac?
Guess he should have gone with Whoopi.

michaele said...

Well, when you think of the ribald commentary that was perfectly acceptable in Rev. Wright's sermons ("Bill doing the dirty with Monica" or something like that), I guess Obama has a fairly generous definition of what's acceptable for all ages to hear until there is public pushback.

rhhardin said...

So what was the punchline? I love offensive jokes.

downtownlad said...

Yawn.

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand. Events like this must make the Clinton camp just shake their heads.

Meade said...

"By the way, I'm just messing with you, man. Please don't cut off my nuts."

EnigmatiCore said...

"So what was the punchline? I love offensive jokes."

Theory says we have $100,000 worth of p.... in this house. Reality says we're living with two hoes.

It's an old Dice Clay joke; amazing that BMac lifted it.

rhhardin said...

It's a poor joke whose premise is better than the punchline, I always say.

Better to have gone with it's hypothetical that the somebody offers her $50,000.

Ann Althouse said...

Enigmaticore, do you know that was the joke? If so, how?

Balfegor said...

"We can't afford to be divided by race. We can't afford to be divided by region or by class and we can't afford to be divided by gender, which by the way, that means, Bernie, you've got to clean up your act next time," Obama said. "This is a family affair. By the way, I'm just messing with you, man."

Isn't that kind of weaselly? He gets up there to reprove the man, then gets cold feet at the end and backpedals -- "I'm just messing with you?" What is that?

AllenS said...

"What is that?"

That is change, change you can believe in.

EnigmatiCore said...

Know it is the joke? No. Pretty sure it is, though, looking at a few of the parts you quoted.

"My little nephew came to me and he said, 'Uncle, what's the difference between a hypothetical question and a realistic question?'" Mac said. "I said, I don't know, but I said, 'Go upstairs and ask your mother if she'd make love to the mailman for $50,000.'"...

"He promised to help Obama and ended his irreverent riff with a joke involving the women in the families and living with two “hoes.”"

So rather than theory and reality, he used hypothetical and reality. But I would bet a good amount of money that the joke was the one I am thinking of.

The middle lines of the joke would be, 'the nephew came back and told the uncle, she said for $50,000, she would absolutely make love to the mailmain. So the uncle tells him to go and ask his female cousin if she would make love to the football coach. The nephew went, and on return told his uncle that she said she'd definitely do it for $50,000. The uncle said, that's the difference between hypothetical and reality. Hypothetically, we have..."

etc etc etc.

Given the setup line, and the fact the punchline is about having two hoes in the house, I would be Andrew Sullivan gob-smacked if it was a different joke.

Paddy O. said...

"Isn't that kind of weaselly?"

The question is which part is weaselly. Did he find the bit funny but feel the need to say a part to appease those who were offended, or did was he offended and then feel a need to appease Bernie Mac.

Obama seems continually surprised when people act according to their established character.

At the same time, it's clear there are a lot of people who support him who can't quite let go of the spotlight and have common sense when supporting him. I don't think that is at all Obama's fault. He should expect people to have decorum at such things. He's not the cultural nanny.

EnigmatiCore said...

Yep. Same joke, just as I thought. Heard Dice Clay riff this back in the 80s.

Meade said...

Obama spox Jen Psaki issued a statement saying, "Sen. Obama told Bernie Mac that he doesn't condone these statements and believes what was said was inappropriate."

"Inappropriate but funny as hell, man. Just don't be tellin that joke when my old lady's around, okay?"

ricpic said...

Frickin' Obama is so plastic. If you're gonna throw Bernie under the bus don't follow it up with "I'm just messin' with you," Mr. Straddle.

Bissage said...

I had to think about it a long time before I figured out it’s a kind of Rodney Dangerfield joke.

Bissage said...

I get no respect . . . no respect at all.

The other day I come home from work and the neighbor lady tells me she sees strange men going in and out of my house all day long. I tell her that’s impossible, my wife’s never given me so much as a dollar.

No respect, I tell ya . . . no respect.

dr kill said...

Andrew Dice Clay stole that joke from me.

Meade said...

Nuts? What nuts?

vbspurs said...

I love Bernie Mac.

I'm really disappointed in his schtick, which I would've forgiven him if it were a character in a film (his characters usually poke fun at quirky behaviour, like the married guy who thinks his wife is cheating on him, in How to be A Player or Officer Self Hatred, in the Wayans Bros. classic, Don't Drink Juice in the Hood...).

But I'm not sure Obama realises just how corrosive and universal inappropriate public behaviour runs in the circles who favour him.

It's like they have dealt with "feelings" so long, after a generation of no one telling them "no" and "you can't say that" because to do so is to be judgemental or in the case of the black community, racist.

The chickens really are coming home to roost.

Cheers,
Victoria

EnigmatiCore said...

I tried to find 'proof' of it being Diceman's, but to no avail. That's the way I remember it though; and I know for certain it was told in certain bars back in the early 90s by a buddy of mine, done completely in Dice's style.

I did find another blog that posted it back in May of 2007, without any attribution.

It's a joke that's been around for a while.

EnigmatiCore said...

And from 1995.

EnigmatiCore said...

And, er, me referring to the Dice Clay version of the joke, back in August, on Althouse.

rhhardin said...

considering what happened to Imus

What happened to Imus doesn't touch reality. That was all posturing by various parties who got something out of posturing.

Listen to Mike and the Mad Dog, taking over Imus's show the following Monday, at some risk to their own WFAN careers, who are giving no points for posturing..

real audio 9 clips

Bissage said...

The chickens really are coming home to roost.

I know that's a perfectly good expression and all, but it always strikes me as a weird way to imply there have been negative consequences.

If I'm a farmer and my chickens are out in the yard . . . don't I want them to come home to roost?

vbspurs said...

If I'm a farmer and my chickens are out in the yard . . . don't I want them to come home to roost?

Well, Bissage, I'm guessing it's better than roosters coming home to chicken.

Cheers,
Victoria

Bissage said...

Hey Victoria! What's worse than lobsters on your piano?

Chickens roosting in your home!

EnigmatiCore said...

It wasn't a rock. It was a rock lobster!

The only parts of this Obama/Mac story that I find even remotely interesting are that B-Mac is telling old jokes as if they were his own, and yet another example of the Obama two-step.

What's the Obama two-step? Glad you asked. He says something that would be enticing to conservative voters (such as saying that BMac's routine was unwholesome) and then immediately afterwards pulling back (no man, just kidding ya).

No wonder Bill Clinton doesn't seem to like the guy. He's slicker than ol' Slick Willie. That's got to hurt the old guy's ego.

EnigmatiCore said...

And Althouse- I fail to see how this is comparable to Imus at all. Yeah, both used the term 'hoes'. But Imus was denigrating specific women of athletic achievement by attacking their appearance, and not just by likening them to hoes but also calling them nappy-headed.

BMac is just telling a joke about two hypothetical women who admitted they would sleep with someone for a lot of money.

I don't think the situations are similar, and neither should the response to them be.

B-Mac should get nailed for passing off others' jokes as his own, and Obama for being a pussy, but beyond that the whole thing is worthy of a big yawn.

rhhardin said...

But Imus was denigrating specific women of athletic achievement by attacking their appearance, and not just by likening them to hoes but also calling them nappy-headed.

Tattoed women who played trash-talk tough-guy-from-the-'hood basketball.

Which is what Imus was remarking on.

All Imus did wrong was turn into an old queen about it, which he still is today.

The correct thing to do is give the women credit for their choices, which is what he originally did and subsequently withdrew, to protect the funding for his charity ranch.

Freeman Hunt said...

It's offensive to women to jokingly call women prostitutes when they say they would sleep with men for money? How's that?

I agree that that kind of humor is inappropriate in a family setting or a campaign setting, but I fail to be offended.

EnigmatiCore said...

"All Imus did wrong was turn into an old queen about it, which he still is today"

Couldn't disagree more. They were basketball players. And cutting down on their hairstyles on the court is pretty damned irrelevant and demeaning. Did he expect them to be ready for Glamour Shots and not sweating?

rhhardin said...

Couldn't disagree more. They were basketball players. And cutting down on their hairstyles on the court is pretty damned irrelevant and demeaning. Did he expect them to be ready for Glamour Shots and not sweating?

He expected them to play sportsmanlike basketball.

If you don't want to do that, take the consequences.

EnigmatiCore said...

So "Nappy headed hoes" means "unsportsmanlike"?

Not buying it. If he wanted to call them unsportsmanlike, he could have done just that. If he wanted to be more colorful, he could have called them thugs, or Denis Rodman wanna-bes who don't have to cross-dress.

But instead, he went for 'nappy-headed' and 'hoes'.

glen said...

$50,000? Now that's some serious change you can believe in.

Beth said...

I like Bernie Mac. It looks like this was a lame routine, both sexist and stolen, so that's not good. But I'll probably still like Bernie Mac when all the shoutin' is over.

If Obama had any sense, he'd get Wanda Sykes to warm up the crowd for him. I'm sure she'd offend someone, too, but such is life.

UWS guy said...

Um...the difference between Imus and B-Mac is the difference between a man telling an off-color joke about his wife and you telling an off-color joke about someone elses wife...

So McCain can call his wife a cunt, but B-Mac can't call his wife a ho?

At least B-Mac was joking...

rhhardin said...

Not buying it. If he wanted to call them unsportsmanlike, he could have done just that.

Figures of speech are so confusing! It's amazing that anybody uses them

I was thinking of Imus's ``Tom is dead'' phone call today, and wondering why I liked it so much. I think it's that he got the performance he wanted out of the lady, completely appropriate to a certain kind of scold.

hmm, I must have it... here .

walter neff said...

Imus didn't realize that all his liberal buddies would cut and run.It's what they do best. When they are not throwing you under the bus to satisfy some pressure group or other.

You see someone has already cut their balls out.

Meade said...

Sexist? I can see how it wasn't funny. Few jokes are. But how was it sexist?

walter neff said...

Well it is always funny when an old white woman tries to use the latest black slang. That's all the Imus was trying to do. He is after all an old white woman. And that was the latest slang, from about 1992.

John Bragg said...

Better joke.

Mrs. walks in at 9:30 am Saturday morning.

Mr.: What happened? The store said you left work early yesterday and no one could find you.

Mrs: Honey, I've got bad news, good news and worse news.

Good news is that I have enough $$ to pay off the house.

Bad news is that (insert male idol) offered me $250,000 to spend the night with him.

Worse news is that, by my math, you owe me $375 million dollars.

Mike said...

So the New Yorker came up with a whole cover and 15 page story overnight just to take attention from the Bernie Mac story? Quite a feat.

Mike said...

So the New Yorker came up with a whole cover and 15 page story overnight just to take attention from the Bernie Mac story? Quite a feat.