Joke no laughing matter for Hillary

2016-04-12 22:25
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a Glassdoor Pay Equality Roundtable in New York. (Mary Altaffer, AP)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a Glassdoor Pay Equality Roundtable in New York. (Mary Altaffer, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - They were shooting for funny. Instead, the racially charged comedy routine between Hillary Clinton and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has prompted outrage and mockery.

The exchange took place when the Democratic presidential frontrunner on Saturday attended the Inner Circle dinner in New York, an annual black-tie gala where journalists and politicians traditionally poke fun at each other.

In the routine, Clinton gently upbraided the mayor, a former Clinton aide who was late giving her campaign support.

"Thanks for the endorsement, Bill," she said. "Took you long enough."

"Sorry, Hillary. I was running on CP time," he replied, an apparent reference to "Coloured People Time," a cliché stereotype about habitual tardiness.

The quip drew a "No!" from at least one audience member.

African-American actor Leslie Odom jnr, who plays Aaron Burr in the hit musical Hamilton and was also part of the skit, objected to the clearly rehearsed line.

"I don't like jokes like that, Bill," he said.

'Cautious politician time'

"Cautious politician time," Clinton clarified, delivering the punchline. "I've been there."

But Odom's staged relief failed to mollify critics.

"Cringeworthy," wrote the website Salon.

The Daily News called the exchange "a big blunder when a tasteless joke - built off the stereotype that black people are chronically late - fell flat."

New York magazine denounced it as "an amazingly unfunny, terribly executed" joke, questioning whether de Blasio's wife Chirlane, who is African-American, knew about it.

With video of the skit prompting a flood of comments on Twitter, de Blasio appeared on CNN to calm the storm by explaining the joke was scripted and aimed at poking fun at a cliché.

"I think people are missing the point here," he said.

The mayor was making fun of only himself, de Blasio's office added in a statement.

Clinton will be hoping the furore disappears quickly.

She and her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders are working hard to court African-American voters ahead of New York's pivotal primary next week.

Clinton, who has far more support among the group, holds a major lead on the Vermont senator in state polls.

Read more on:    hillary clinton  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.