So apparently New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio is on C-P time these days.
You know, colored people time, at least when it comes to one particular endorsement.
Hillary Clinton: “I heard my name, I just have to say thanks for the endorsement Bill. Took ya long enough.” ((Laughs)) Bill de Blasio: “Sorry Hillary I was running on CP time.” ((Laughs))
Actor: “That’s not, I don’t like jokes like that Bill.”
Hillary Clinton: “Cautious politician time. ((Oh ok)) I’ve been there.”
Well, as you probably heard, the joke didn’t go over so well – probably not because anyone in the audience thought it was racist or off color – but because it was just not delivered well.
It didn’t live up to the first rule of comedy; which is it has to be funny.
Days later, Mayor de Blasio found himself in the middle of a you know what storm of controversy having to defend himself and the joke during interviews like this one on CNN.
Mayor de Blasio: “It was clearly a staged show, a scripted show and the whole idea was to do the counter intuitive and say cautious politician time. Every actor involved including Hillary Clinton and Leslie Odom Jr. thought it was a joke on a different convention that was the whole idea. So I think people are missing the point.”
Ok, the mayor is right on the missing the point part of this.
For all of you who are judging him and Secretary, let me explain to you why he’s right – and it has nothing to do with him having a black wife.
It’s because of the venue where the joke was told.
It’s a venue similar to the White House Correspondent’s Dinner which once a year gives the president license to tell off color jokes with immunity, like this one.
“The House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me. Which means orange really is the new black. (ooooh.. applause.)
At the annual Inner Circle Dinner in New York City, media personalities take on politicians –roast them- and the politicians give it as good as they get it.
The money from the dinners go to about 100 charities all over the city.
This year’s dinner was dubbed Shamelton, a spoof on the hit Broadway play Hamilton.
The joke was written for Clinton and de Blasio by the show’s writers.
Whether they should have signed off on it is a whole other conversation – especially during an election year when the Secretary has been scrutinized over racial issues.
But it was obvious that the jokes were written and then delivered badly.
I want all of you to keep this in mind though because it really is about delivery and timing.
This was candidate Obama addressing the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) back in 2007 over a similar topic.
“I want to apologize for being a little bit late. But, you guys keep on asking whether I’m black enough. (laughter) Uh-huh! That’s right! So, I figured I’d stroll in about ten minutes after the deadline. (laughs) I’ve been holding that in my pocket for a while.”
Yes it was a racial joke –everyone was in on it, especially the person delivering it brilliantly.
More importantly it was funny.
But as I’ve always said, sometimes we need to lighten up.
Sometimes a joke is just that, a joke.