Don Rickles Joke Cut from Shirley MacLaine Tribute

    June 14, 2012
    WebProNews Staff
    Comments are off for this post.

Don Rickles, the insult comedian who was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”, dropped an Obama joke during TV Land’s American Film Institute tribute to Shirley MacLaine that won’t make it into the broadcast. Rickles made a name for himself ridiculing and poking fun at celebrities and political figures, and is known for his abrasive, off-color humor. However, some have viewed his latest attempt at humor to be a racially charged, prompting the network to remove the bit from the June 24th broadcast.

At one point during the event, Rickles turned his attention to the President, unleashing an uncomfortable joke about Obama’s race. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the comedian jested, “I shouldn’t make fun of the blacks. President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke.”

A spokesperson from TV Lands told the Hollywood Reporter, “It’s not going to make it on the air — that’s all I’ll say about it.” However, a representative from Rickles camp seemed to have a different viewpoint on the matter.

“He is not being censored. Before all of this started, we knew Don’s spot would be cut a bit for time, as would others, including possibly Shirley herself since the show ran over and we knew it was likely that might be edited. This is a non-story and requires no further comment,” the rep remarked.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Rickles has attempted to make a racially-driven jab at the President. Shortly after Obama’s election in 2008, Rickles paid a visit to “The Tonight Show with David Letterman.” During his appearance, he joked about the President playing basketball during a national emergency, a quip that didn’t settle too well with those in the audience.

Is making a racially-insensitive joke about the President something that should be avoided in this day and age? Is getting insulted by Rickles no longer a badge of honor? The majority of people on the micro-blogging site seem to think that this is just Rickles being Rickles, nothing more. Have a look at some Twitter reactions to this story below.

  • Jerrod

    You know that you are reading quality material when the phrase, “Have a look at some Twitter reactions,” is included in the article. I could care less what someone on Twitter thinks, just like I could care less if a local news station randomly stopped someone on the street to ask their opinion. I don’t care about anonymous people’s opinion when it comes to the news. Instead of moaning about the “nostalgic” days of comedy, let’s take a moment of silence to mourn the death of objective journalism.

  • D N

    Shortly after Obama’s election in 2008, Rickles paid a visit to “The Tonight Show with David Letterman.” Last time I looked Jay Leno was hosting the Tonight Show? I am pretty sure he was in 2008. Great reporting.

  • http://n/a Dr. Thomas C Carman

    We used to have a sense of humor in this country, but we have let a bunch of idiots take charge.
    Vote them out, before it is too late!

  • PhilCane

    It’s Don Rickles! You know, the Merchant of Venom? As a black American, I would be flattered to have Mr. Rickles insult me. In all the years that I have enjoyed his work, I have never found him to be mean spirited. Taking a jibe from Don Rickles was a sign that one had arrived.

  • JC

    The man is a legendary insult comic; no race, religion, or sex is excluded from his type of humor. Get a life people.

  • http://webpronews.com Timothy Duggins

    I think we have much more problems in this country than to worry about what a great comedian from our past wants to say about our president. I thought this was the land of free speech. Or was that right taken away too. Guess everyone is right we’re taking the train to Muslim town. Thanks allot mr president, some of us saw the book you were reading that went over the internet.

  • Gina

    Let’s see – it’s Don Rickles. He insults people, that’s his job. If you don’t like his type of humor, don’t invite him to the event. If he’s included, know what to expect, take it with dignity. Don’t whine, you bunch of wusses.

    And his “joke” about Obama playing basketball during a national emergency “didn’t sit well with the audience”. Maybe because it wasn’t a joke, he was actually playing basketball during a national emergency. Duh.

  • Pete

    I guess you can’t say anything about President Obama. Even though he called Bush Unpatriotic. Its sad that one cannot even make a joke about someone these days. Bob Hope made his living doing this and everyone laughed. Now the liberals have become too sensitive that you cannot joke about anyone.

    • Tony Joseph

      Sammy Davis’ laughed hard at everything just to show he was “hip”
      A lot of talent to be sure, but his ego got the best of him.

  • CToddKC

    Surprise! Surprise! The Network(s) have once again decided to censor any criticism of “The Messiah”…Don Rickles has been making risky racial jokes for decades–with Sammy Davis, Jr. often laughing louder than anyone…But in this age of victimization, this represents a perfect opportunity for some stupid network to kiss Obama’s behind and prove that we are becoming a nation so weak that nobody can take a joke!

  • CToddKC

    I guess is Joy Behar had said it, it would have been funny!

  • Louis

    Free Speech? Only if it is ‘left wing anti American” speech. Anything else is racist ‘hate speech”.

  • Marsh

    Here is a reminder of the Fuzzy Zoeller comment to Tiger Woods eating fried chicken http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ufpU3X-t4w Now Fuzzy is a golfer, NOT a comedian. So lets say that comment was an “akward” moment. But if the talented Don Rickles said that, it would have been great!!! Too bad the Late Great Rodney Dangerfield isnt with us or he woulda added another great joke on top of that!!! For the younger generation: These are typical jokes to come out of Rickles mouth!! If you take away a persons talent like this, its truly a shame!!!

  • eileen

    There is nothing funny about bad manners!

  • Tony Joseph

    “Get a Life” has worn out its welcome. The insults of a fading insult comic should bounce off us all. I’ve seen Rickles on a few of those Celebrity Roast tapes and he’s funny for a few minutes and then does schtick –the same schtick he did 20 years ago. My granfather was from the middle east. When my father walked into an SF night club in North Beach. Rickles spotted him and said “Are you from the Middle East? My dad answered yes. “I hope all your rugs burn.” It’s an insult but not funny. He won’t be around long. Life isn’t so bad after all.

    • bumbo

      Go wash your camel.

  • Heather

    This is b.s. All comedians make “Racial jokes” Black comedians do it about white peopole ALLLL the time. Paul Mooney? I just watched his stand up and it was 90 minutes of KILL WHITEY the whole damn stand up was about how horrible white peoplke are. And this guy cant make a joke? Get the f*k out of here….

    • steve marcus

      the country would be better off if he was a janitor.

  • Jeff L

    The Tonight Show with DAVID LETTERMAN? What universe was this in?

    • Carmon

      This is just how much this writer knows. man, I wonder how much he makes for writing these stories and has no clue of what in the world he’s writing about. I wonder who this writer is related to
      I need to pay closer attention to who and what I’m reading!

  • brian Frances

    Black? I thought he was hawaiian.

  • PJB

    If this was a joke against a republican president, it would not have been cut.

  • http://Facebook Peter Boucher


  • Auntiecairo

    Does Rickles ever make Holocaust jokes? If he had said I invited Mayor Bloomeberg over but the oven was broken would people think that was ok? Don Rickles was a groundbreaking comedian but sometimes he goes over the line – I remember my parents walked out of his show in Vegas because they said it was just hateful – not funny after awhile –

  • Auntiecairo

    PJB – it’s not about Democrat or Republican – there’s no way to make a “white” joke that is the same as trying to joke about slavery — the key to comedy is making jokes up not down — eg when Romney says he enjoys firing people it’s not funny – because he does — but if Chris Rock makes fun of Romney having elevators for his cars – it’s OK because Romney is an equal –maybe there is an overreaction – but until you have lived through what many African Americans have you have to give some leeway – just like Jewish people who still can’t find humor in the Holocaust. . .

    • bumbo

      Oh shut your face, Mammy.

  • bumbo

    Of course now that we have a (half) black President the only racists left are the ones that disagree with Obamas policies.

  • Bob L.

    Few comedians have made me laugh harder in my lifetime than “Mr. Warmth,” Don Rickles. You know what to expect from Rickles in that the insults are part of his onstage personna. On occasion they don’t come across well but every comic does not strike the bullseye every time. TV Land knew what they were getting when Rickles appeared on the AFI program. Jim Norton is right: the same channel that airs All in the Family and Sanford and Son should not play censor here. By the way, Rickles once guested on Archie Bunker’s Place, the All in the Family spinoff.

  • Carmon

    “The Tonight Show With David Letterman”????? Did I miss something here? I thought he hosted “The Last Show With David Letterman”. When did this happen? Hun!…

  • Sue

    For every action there is a reaction. We the people voted Obama in so let’s vote him out ! Nothing says he MUST stay, but while he is in he certainly doesn’t deserve Don Rickles making those trashy statements to/about him (let me add, I have always liked Mr Rickles) but I also enjoy respect one for the other, too. If YOU are UNHAPPY, do something other than complain. Let’s fix the problem together.

  • msju

    Its one thing to joke on ea others basic stereotypes like white ppl who put their kids on leashes, wearing flipflip & its 30degrees out, being serial killers & livin n trailer parks etc and blk ppl love soulfood, grape koolaid, love rims & live n projects etc but joking about slavery is extremely tasteless & heartless jus like joking on the Holocaust, its way over the line in my opinion. Its not about being too sensitive & can’t take a joke, its jus an horrible inhuman injustice from our past as human beings that shouldn’t be brought into light with jokes.