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. Karen

    The joke was distasteful and inappropriate, expecially in that forum. Further, if a white comedian had told it he would have been thrown under the bus!

    July 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Mike

    Obama can't even be sincere in front of this Mac guy. Obama should not have said "I'm just messing with you man.". He should have been upset with that joke. Shows how weak he'll be in meeting with the President of Iran...YIKES!

    July 12, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. joseph karoki

    as a black man with 2 daughters, I definitely disagree with degrading women in hip hop or as a punch line to a joke. Bernie should have known better given that Barrack has 2 daughters of his own. Its just not funny anymore. when I was younger with no daughters of my own, my perspective was, its just entertainment. Sure, we can condone Bernie's act as entertainment but jokes that degrade women are en grained in young people's mind and affect how they treat women. hopefully Bernie will have a chance to redeem himself.

    July 12, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. robin

    I never cease to be amazed at just how DUMB people are.
    Even if Bernie thought that was a funny joke (and it wasn't) ... why did he think that was the appropriate forum to deliver it?
    How dumb can you get.

    July 12, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Jimmy

    Wonder if the nation will turn on Bernie Mac like it did for Imus?

    July 12, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Olivia

    Well I'm sure we won't be hearing Al Sharpton getting into an uproar over this. How is it when a when a white personality on a radio show known for its biting and subversive dialogue calls black women "hos" he is branded as the most evil, vicious, racist villain in ALL the land, yet a comedian who IS black makes jokes about the promiscuity of women, marital infidelity, and refers to women as hos at a fundraising event where children may be present it is merely "inappropriate?"

    July 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Dee Dee

    Good job Obama. As a black woman, I don't approve of those statements either. It's fine if you're at the Laugh Factory or some other private club, but not where there are kids and women who might be confused or offended. Sheesh Bernie Mac!

    July 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. John D.

    I don't see anything wrong with what Bernie Mac said.

    Sincerely,

    Don Imus

    July 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. tony

    Patty, DIE!!! You and others look for anything to judge Barack down on. The fact of the matter is the only thing Barack is liable for is not checking the material before Bernie Mac got on stage. Anyone who knows Bernie Mac knows that he has a dirty mouth but does A LOT for the community.

    Your response is "Par for the course"!

    July 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. I will Never Drink the Kool-aid

    Guess Bernie should have used the word sweetie instead to dis women. That seems more to Barry's liking.

    July 12, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Chanda-Cincinnati

    Well If you act like a ho...then you are a ho...I am a woman, and that word does not offend me because I know athat I am not a ho!! It was a comedy routine, and people need to lighten up! I have heard worse from George Carlin, George Lopez, Carrot Top, Gallagher, Seinfeld, and many others. Everything does not have to turn into a controversy!!! This is getting ridiculous...the joke was funny, but it was just that...a joke!!!!!

    July 12, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Brian

    Mac felt comfortable saying those things in front of Obama supporters
    for a reason. Because this is the kind of talk Obama has with his freinds, or maybe I should say HOMMIES !!!

    July 12, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Loretta from California

    It was inappropriate...........save for HBO, Bernie.

    DEMOCRATS UNITE!!!

    July 12, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. ljussef

    The people in that audience allow our society to be corruptible and then they have the gall to object to an off color joke, and who is nastier in voicing inappropriate opinions and having secretive indicretions than these very same people who objected to Bernie Mac off color joke. This reaction appears to be hypocritical.

    July 12, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Listen Up...

    Now the MSM will be pounding Obama for weeks to come for what Bernie Mac said. Yet, McCain is not taking the heat for the "Whiner" comments. I still love ya Bernie Mac!

    July 12, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. terry

    Bernie should have realized that this was a serious, and a family event, therefore the act should have been family friendly. with that said the campaign staff needs to not take things for granted no matter what, or who is speaking. They need to make sure that the speakers stay on message, make remarks that are inline with the Senator views and standing. Profanity would not be expected, nor should it be allowed at these types of functions. Calling women hos in a time when Senator Obama is trying to win over more women voters from Senator Clinton support group was not a smart thing to do.

    July 12, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. CVO

    Women's right advocates watch whom you support.

    July 12, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. JC

    More of Obama's inappropriate good friends and lack of forsight.

    July 12, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Meryl

    The word "Senator" is misspelled at the end of the story.

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

    July 12, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Obama 4 ever

    I just don't get the joke. lol.

    July 12, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. chungmoyung

    Is that surprising? You can tell a lot about a person just by looking at their friends!

    July 12, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. greenfun

    Another fine example of sexism in this campaign.

    July 12, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. fojohnson

    Thanks Obama. Those type of comedy does not belong in the community or any where else especially a comdey that look down on people or comdey of poor test.

    July 12, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. drummerboy808

    Joke of the Day.....WOW, now thats entertainment. How do you spell stress relief.......COMEDIANS.

    July 12, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. Day

    Why making a statement after not when the event happened.

    July 12, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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