Penn Jillette Tells Hillary Joke One Day Too Late

Penn Jillette Tells Hillary Joke One Day Too Late

Penn Jillette Tells Hillary Joke One Day Too Late

A campaign blog.
May 7 2008 5:46 PM

Penn Jillette Tells Hillary Joke One Day Too Late

Comedian / magician / author Penn Jillette has been telling a joke about Hillary Clinton for some time now. Or, rather, telling a story about the joke and its supposed meaning. But yesterday, he told it to the wrong people —Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski*—in the wrong forum.

At risk of blessing it with repetition, the joke goes something like: "Obama is just creaming Hillary. … And Hillary says it's not fair, because they're being held in February, and February is Black History Month. And unfortunately for Hillary, there's no White Bitch Month."

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Jillette’s point is that when he told it on stage, the audience didn’t gasp—they went wild. To him, it’s a miniparable about how Hillary can’t win. But Scarborough and Brzezinski were clearly not amused, and there’s been some minor fallout .

But imagine how much there would have been if he’d told it a day earlier. Back in February, Maureen Dowd called jokes like Jillette’s "exactly what may give Hillary a shot. When the usually invulnerable Hillary seems vulnerable, many women, even ones who don't want her to win, cringe at the idea of seeing her publicly humiliated—again."

Had his ill-advised words fallen a day or two before the primary—like Obama’s cool brush off in the New Hampshire debate or Clinton’s Diner Sob—they might have gained a bit more traction and maybe even created a backlash. Instead, they got buried under election-day coverage. Not that an off-color remark by a comedian would have handed North Carolina to Clinton. But every bit of outrage counts.

* Oops. This post originally misspelled Mika Brzezinski's name.