July 13th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
6 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. live on capitol hill

    Never liked Mac and never understood his popularity or that bafoon of a family show or more imporatantly Who is that targeted at? I'm AA and I don't like the flavor of the show although the children are sweet and talented but you I don't GET and I'm AA.

    Using Mac's favorite line, "Can you believe this America?" No Mac we can't! Please go away but vote for Democrate '08.

    Thanks....

    Here's mud in your face....

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

    This is the trash you can expect if you foolishly vote for Obama. Don't.

    The Democrats would be wise to nominate Hillary Clinton who remains the popular vote winner, winning more votes than ANY candidate of ANY party in history! Hillary remains the most qualified and most electable candidate in the race. Superdelegates take note, it's NOT too late, you don't cast your actual votes until late August in Denver at the DNC convention.

    July 12, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. jz

    oh god. u mean when u brought on BERNIE MAC, u did not know how his act went? what did you think was going to happen? knock knock jokes?

    July 12, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Sal

    First Indy, now Bernie, Mac. When will the madness stop.

    July 12, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. b-mac

    I am really getting tired of Clinton's supporters continually bashing Obama. She did'nt win. Obama ran a much better campaign, so get over it. He had just as many people supporting him as she did. It was'nt good enough. Better still, Just crawl back into your miserable lives and go away. Nobody really cares. She's old news, and so are you!!

    July 12, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Shame ON YOU!!!!!

    Senstor Obama told Bernie Mac that he doesn't condone these statements and believes what was said was inappropriate,"

    Bernie Mac you should be ashame of yourself ....... Jessie now you

    July 12, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Independant Thinker

    Typical democRAT, the same sort of thing happened 4 years ago with a drunken Whoope Goldburg on stage. She used the 'F' word and talked about Bush and the crowd errupted with applause. It was at a private fundraiser and NONE of that was supposed to make it to the media, but it did. And the main stream media sat on it as usual.

    July 12, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. jermaine

    Bernie is really not that funny to me he should of got somebody like Steve Harvey or Cedric they would of fit better. I know some people will use any excuse not to vote for an intelligent black man because of his color. I say watch what happens when you don't pick the smartest man because of his color you will continue to fall behind the world.

    July 12, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Florida-Livin

    I like Bernie Mac but that was wrong atmosphere for that joke. The political scene is at an all time high and Obama is right we don't need to divide anyone anymore. Lets do the right thing and get along so we can make this country great. I mean for both Dems and Repubs.

    July 12, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Mai

    Senator Obama should have know they kind of humor that Bernie Mac would deliver. BO used poor judgment again by inviting this comic. Hope there is room under the bus for one more nitwit.

    July 12, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. cvr924

    I'm glad B.O. wants to show he draws a line, especially after his flip flop vote to protect the telecom companies. I'm surprised he didn't tell Bernie to just refer to women as sweetie, because thats OK when he did that, what a hypocrit.

    July 12, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. barb

    Blacks having good time. They are getting stage and they are showing how stupid they are.

    July 12, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. John G

    There goes Barry, talking down to black people again.

    Bernie Mac has a long history of telling crude off color jokes. If you don't want him to tell them at your party DON'T INVITE HIM!

    I counted at least 2 position reversals in this story though. It started when he said "clean up your act" then he said "just messing with you" (flip) and then the campaign said "seriously, clean up your act"(flop)

    July 12, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Ted

    Why is that Obama has to keep distancing himself from people he calls "friends"?

    These are people he called friends before the campaign... some for as much as 20 years... but now because of a political race he's calling them "inappropriate".

    He flip flops on issues. And he flip flops on his friends. What's next.. his family?

    Ted

    July 12, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Ross

    You might want to check the spelling of "senator" on this story.

    July 12, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Bob Beckner

    I am begining to think this Obama character is becoming a spoiled brat ! He wants us to learn Spanish, now he is bellyaching about Bernie Mac. Mac is a comedian and they do what they do! And this immature smooth talking individual wants to lead the greatest nation in the world? Give it up Obama and try again when you have decided to grow up! Bob Beckner Nokomis, Florida

    July 12, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Fred C Dobbs

    Who gives a crap!

    July 12, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. matt

    who cares?

    July 12, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Julie mn

    What Obama Really Meant, YOU GO BERNIE!!---WORM,

    July 12, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. jake

    And Mr. Mac tells Obama to .... himself.

    Bernie Mac is who he is. He is not a politician who changes to suit his audience. His (Bernie's) audience is what it is. Mr. Obama should have realized this prior to hiring Mr. Mac.

    'nuff

    July 12, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. Kal

    Senator Obama obviously got the joke when he commented "By the way, I'm just messing with you, man." as he KNOWS the line of Bernie Mac's comedy routine which is the "stereotypical urban black THUG". If they (Obama's campaign and supporters) do not wish to have people like that then they should NOT have invited him nor anyone else who will do hard stand up such as Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker, Chris Rock ALL of whom do NOT make major alterations to their standup routines and SAY so as they view THEIR right to do hard comedy.

    If the Obama campaign people want only prime time kid friendly comedians, then they should hire Bill Cosby next time.

    July 12, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. jean

    It is clear that Berrnie Mac used inappropriate language. He should have known better. Also, who ever chose him should have known better. The good news is that this will help these vulgar comedians to understand that people are offended by their vulgarity. On the other side, you people who are touting that you will not vote for Obama because of Berrnie Mac were not going to vote for him anyway. To the person who is still talking about Hillary. Get over it. If Hillary has won the primary, then you probably would be complaing about her. You are just a hate-filled idiot who needs a traget. Hey, why don't you try darts? You idiot!

    July 12, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Ryan

    ""Senstor Obama told Bernie Mac..."

    Good job CNN. Way professional.

    P.S. That joke- part of which was admitted from the story- is an old one, and not, to my knowledge, a Bernie Mac original.

    July 12, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. Sunny Phoenix

    Obama said, ..."Bernie, you've got to clean up your act next time," he said. "This is a family affair.

    And then Obama said, "By the way, I'm just messing with you, man."

    Is this another BO flip flop? Did he repudiate or condone Mac's remarks?

    July 12, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Ed

    Its beginning to be a race to see who has the worst campaign managers.

    July 12, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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