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. SUSIE

    The Obama campaign said Mac's joke was inappropriate.WRONG PLACE Bernie and you know it......What'S up with you and Jessie

    July 12, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Linda of Atlanta

    I have never thought Bernie Mac was funny. He just proved it to a much wider audience.

    July 12, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Bonnie C

    What really troubles me is Barack's response to Bernie Mac and his off- color joke; luke warm at best. I support Obama but questioning if I really know the true Barack.

    July 12, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Grenald

    I don't think Hillary should be the VP, and it has nothing to do with vetting. She's not humble and the VP has to be humble. Also, she is not trustworthy, and Obama has to be able to confide in someone he can trust.

    I have no worries, most of the Obama supporters don't like her, so she won't be the VP. He will gain votes with Clinton, but he will lose more from his supporters.

    No to Hillary for VP

    July 12, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    It was kind of risky letting Bernie Mac do a stand-up routine. A lot of his and other comedians' routines are off-color and inappropriate for that venue. They work fine on HBO where you can turn the channel if you don't like it or are offended. Not that Bernie and others can't do family-friendly comedy but it's not in their normal repertoire so might be more challenging to do it impromptu.

    I'm sure this is a lesson learned.

    July 12, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Patrick

    Lighten up people, it's a hilarious joke.

    July 12, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. John

    I don't get the joke?

    July 12, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Jim

    Talk about being on the fence. I still don't know where Obama stands.
    Is it a family affair or what? Is he against the "joke" or what? Hes running for President? Some change he's going to bring.

    July 12, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. DOH!

    Cmon CNN this is so LAME!!!! This is not news. I'm done with CNN until they start reporting on something substantial...

    July 12, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. RandIZZLE

    Hey, what's with your editors and the constant typos.

    In the last quote of the article by Obama's campaign spokeswoman, the word "senator" is spelled "senstor".

    In regards to the story, Bernie Mac is a comedian. He tell's jokes. Jokes that aren't politically correct. Isn't this to be expected of him? Does he deserve to be chastised like a child? No...


    July 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. DeeJam - Los Angeles

    Bernie Mac should know better. An Obama event is different than a stand-up comedy show. I like Bernie Mac but I am disappointed in his timing. Professionals know that there is a time for everything. This is not the right time to be divisive, degrading, and insulting.

    July 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. bob

    He stole this joke from George Bernard Shaw.
    -He addresses a lady of the realm at an official function, and says "Madam, if Igave you a million pounds, would you sleep with me?"
    "Certainly", replies
    the woman. "Well then", responds Shaw, "would you sleep with me if I gave you a single pound".
    "Certainly not! How dare you offer that! What do you take me for?" replies the woman.
    "We've already established that" says
    Shaw. "We are merely quibbling about the price."

    July 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Connie

    Good for CNN you have found something on Obama that will take you away from talking about John McBush, he refuses to cut Phil Gramm loose even if he looks down on us little guys(Voters they must remember),John McBush has flip-flopped on when he will balance the budget (by 2013),refused to answer questions on votes for Vets, birth control pills over virgra. But we follow Obama around and make news of anything and any body that supports Obama. Shame, shame on the media. Old white women for OBAMA. Barack Hussein Obama 08

    Connie"Hussein"Sturgeon from Indiana

    July 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. George

    The Obama haters will have a field day with this one. For the record Obama has spoken in black churches and condemned exactly this kind of disrespect towards women. It is clear that neither candidate (and Hillary too) has control over their "friends". It is so regrettable since we need to discuss the major policy choices facing the country but we will never get there as long as we have to deal with the stupidity of people like Bernie Mac.

    Note to Barack: You might want to take another look at those you call "friend".

    July 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. Jim

    Talk about being on the fence. I still don't know where Obama stands.
    Is it a family affair or what? Is he against the "joke" or what?

    July 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. Diane Boyd

    Bernie Mac should know better. What do you think this is ? COMIC VIEW ? I do nt appreciate the reference to women as ho"s regardless of what setting it is in. I know Obama doesn't condone such statements.

    July 12, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Mike M

    Just more "crap" that is being taken out of contrast!

    July 12, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Dre

    Bernie Mac's crude, gutter brand of humor has no business at an event like this. Who's dumb idea was it to have him?

    It's a shame because his TV show is funny WITHOUT taking the humor to the gutter.

    July 12, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Jeff long

    I really like Bernie Mac! Screw the entire Obama campaign!!

    July 12, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. mike

    Sometimes comedy calls for more than knock-knock jokes. People need to toughen up...this election isn't going to be P.C. all the way through November.

    July 12, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Ron

    It is not Senator Obama's fault. It happens from time to time when people that are unfamilar with the audience tries to be a little funnier than they should and the wrong thing comes out of their mouth. No harm, no foul. Let is go and move on to more important items.

    July 12, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Robert

    I think it’s neat that Barack Obama has friends from so many different communities. The other neat thing is how he’ll throw any and all of them under the bus. It’s like a fun game called, “How politically useful are you to me this week?”

    July 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. Bayou Joe

    This man can't handle a joke, but he is a joke of a candidate.

    How many more of these so called friends will Obama throw under the bus.

    "Tell me who you are with and I'll tell you who you are."

    This low life from Chicago is not presidential material....

    July 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    How about we do something called proof reading, I am not impressed at all with your article when you don't bother to check spelling. As for Bernie Mac, why don't you just stick to comedy, instead of making thoughtless and sexist remarks, as well completely uncalled for given the context of the situation.

    July 12, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Dante

    Once again, let's watch how many people blame Obama for what *another man said.*

    Le'ts see if people can understand the difference between what Obama stands for, and what other independently thinking people say.

    Should Obama be condemned for Bernie Mac's joke? No. Obama didn't tell the joke and he likely didn't tell Bernie Mac what to say, either.

    I'm glad that Obama and his campaign condemned the joke however. It seemed totally inappropriate for the function they were at.

    July 12, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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