July 13th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama camp rebukes Bernie Mac over joke

The Obama campaign said Mac's joke was inappropriate.

The Obama campaign said Mac's joke was inappropriate.

(CNN) - Bernie Mac made a surprise appearance at a Barack Obama fundraising event Friday evening - but given heckling from the crowd and a rebuke from the Illinois senator's campaign for an off-color joke, the comedian may wish he'd just stayed home.

Introducing Obama at the high-dollar fundraising event in Chicago, Mac delivered a 10-minute standup routine during which he joked about sexual promiscuity and referred to women as "hos."

"My little nephew came to me and he said, 'Uncle, what's the difference between a hypothetical question and a realistic question?"' Mac said toward the end of his routine. "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."'

"Hypothetically speaking, we should have $100,000. But realistically speaking we live with two hos," Mac said, delivering the joke's punchline.

Some attendees of the $2,300 per-person event immediately registered their displeasure with Mac's joke, and asked that he leave the stage.

"It's not funny. Let's get Barack on," one man shouted.

Mac introduced the Democratic presidential candidate shortly after and Obama called the comedian a "great friend." The Illinois senator also joked that Mac needs to "clean up [his] act."

"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," he said. "This is a family affair. By the way, I'm just messing with you, man."

But the campaign issued a statement shortly after the event that was decidedly more serious in its condemnation of Mac's comments.

"Senator Obama told Bernie Mac that he doesn't condone these statements and believes what was said was inappropriate," campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (790 Responses)
  1. David, Atlanta, GA

    He should have been rebuked for recycling that tired old joke. That joke has been circulating on the internet for years.

    July 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Bryan in San Ramon

    We can expect a lot more of that type of humor if Obama is elected. McCain.....or please Hillary we really need you now, america is sad it did not wake up sooner, we have two loosers running for the top job.

    July 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Realistic

    Speaking of hos, how are the PUMAs doing in reducing Hillary's campaign debt?

    July 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Tonya in Houston

    I'm a HUGE Bernie Mac fan but I think there's a time and a place for everything...He should have used better judgement...I don't blame the audience for heckling him...

    July 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. TC

    In before angry clinton voters say they're going to help out the republicans unless he lets her be VP.

    July 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. shane

    The last sentence has a typo 🙂

    it's one of the first few words *senator*

    i've only seen a handful on CNN so it's kinda neat ha

    July 12, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Vikki King

    " By the way I am just messing with you,man"??
    So in other words Obama is not really serious about asking his friend to not make derogatory comments on women. It took Obama's campaign, not Obama himself, to make it clear that these statements are inappropriate. So what does this tell us about Obama? Either he is a wuss and cannot stand up to a friend and make it clear his comment is inappropriate, or Obama really did not feel it was such a big issue.

    July 12, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Dr. Johnson

    Bernie Mac should have known better. Period! I have been a fan of the mac for years but this is nothing short of ridiculous.

    What was he thinking to say something like this at an event of this magnitude? Get it together mac, you have to do better.

    Obama 08

    July 12, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Dave in Canada

    Why is it most comedians these days have to live in the gutter?

    July 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. al

    Has the Obama staff never seen Mac's routine??? If you don't want him to do his act, then don't have him get up and fill 10 minutes in front of a crowd.

    July 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Yousuf

    Bernie Mac is wack, only drugies laugh at his jokes. And the event wasn't for drugies, its for people who paid 2300.00$...Obama, don't choose wackos for your event....

    July 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. EX-Obama Supporter Independent

    Slow news day...reluctantly Barr '08. Hate McBush for obvious reasons. Loved Obama till he voted for a quasi-bipartisan version of fisa. disillusioned.......no hope for our constitution.....executives are choking our liberty.......legislators and senators are powerless...economy going down the drain.......judicials are partisan and/or corrupt......GM and Ford has plumetted....the dollar is in a freefall.......energy prices are skyrocketing.......the climate is going to swallow bangkok in five years.........................there are still people who think global warming is a myth.........my girlfriend has liver cancer........we pay $360 per month for her chemo therapy........i can't afford health insurance, I haven't seen a doctor in over two years........her medical insurance is $300 a month...........we pay at least $100 on gas a month, all of this with a combined income of just under two grand a month..........geez what's your disaster? We go through enough bull in our existence to have to put up WITH THE LOSS OF THE RELEVANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION. DOWN WITH OBAMA AND MCCAIN. bob bar '08 just for four years when bloomberg makes up his mind.

    July 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Bob G.

    Barry is "just messing with" all of us. Who knows who he really is = the hypothetical politician or realistic politician. No matter how you look at it – he is still a politician. Good thing he has campaign spokespeople to tell us what he really meant. Will he have these same people telling us what he means if/when he is elected Supreme Being of the Entire Universe?

    July 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Ralph Simpson

    Obama will lose this election inviting 'guests' like this. You can take the bro out of the ghetto, but you can"t take the ghetto out of the bro.
    McCain in '08

    July 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Elin

    now Bernie Mac is a star, this is the most attention he's ever gotten, ever.

    July 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Maeve

    It's just one more bit of evidence: with Obama and McCain as the party's nominees, we have the worst of all worlds.

    I thought after Gore and Bush in 2000 and then Kerry and Bush in 2004, it couldn't possibly happen a third time that we'd get such untrustworthy, ethically weak candidates for president.

    But there you have it. McCain doesn't know how he feels about insurance coverage for birth control because Bush hasn't told him yet, and Obama doesn't know if he's just kidding when he tells his friend to clean up his act or not: he has to wait for his campaign people to decide.

    What a shame.

    July 12, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Tony, Miami

    Obama should know better. If you have a close friend so you suppose to know him and if you still want him to introduce you or entertain you brief him.

    Obama 08/12

    July 12, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Normand


    July 12, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. anon

    Senstor obama???? learn to spell cnn

    July 12, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. big ed

    no story........

    July 12, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Vivaldi

    Now it's about time, there's a clean up act in just about everything. People are letting themselves be defined by the content of their language. A clean up is needed!

    July 12, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. Brian

    I guess Al Sharpton is going to be protesting at Bernie Mac's shows now. If he lets Bernie Mac get away with calling women ho's without any consequences, then the world will see that Al Sharpton is the racist. I mean he went after Imus for doing the same thing.

    July 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. andy

    well it seems to me that it just continues that its ok for persons of color to degrade and make fun of the values of america! to bad

    July 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Michael Boston

    Another double talk statement by Obama. He can't even stick by his guns to tell this joker that he was over the line.

    I am so sick of Obama saying one thing and then restating what he said another way so that it sounds better.

    Instead of Obama stating: "This is a family affair. By the way, I'm just messing with you, man."

    He should have just stated: "This is a family affair."

    But instead Obama, the whimp that he is, backed down and allowed this ignorance to be stated and accepted.

    I know this Bernie Mac idiot is a comedian, but there is a time and a place for certain jokes and obviously he had no respect for the people at this fundraiser.

    July 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Mike

    "Bernie, you've got to clean up your act next time," he said. "This is a family affair. By the way, I'm just messing with you, man."

    Have some guts and call him on it, don't be wimpy and play it off as joking. Maybe if he's President "Osama, stop killing people. By the way, I'm just messing with you, man."

    July 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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