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The Comedy Stylings of Shecky McCain

John McCainI made the mistake of watching Verdict yesterday where they had a John McCain sycophant go on and on about how McCain stuck by his principles when he bucked his party on immigration. He and the host failed to note that he was lining up with the president and the business community on the issue (not exactly “bucking” the folks in charge), and when the heat came down he didn’t even support his own bill that this guy was giving him credit for. But hey, he’s a maverick, right?

Also, the guy noted that he has this great sense of humor. I gotta give him credit here and there for poking fun at his age, but for the most part, his humor is awkward at best and usually mean spirited. For example, how many folks remember this one:

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.

For reference, this was back in 1998, when Clinton was seventeen. Nice.

Okay, that’s too far back for some of y’all. McCain made an appearance in Nevada just last month and when asked about avoiding campaigning with Governor Jim Gibbons. In response, he decided to make the old “And I’ve stopped beating my wife” gag. It wasn’t that funny back when Richard Nixon used it, and it sure as heck isn’t funny given that Gibbons was accused of assaulting a cocktail waitress just last year.

In Arizona, we’ve seen a pattern of this sort of humor. Long time Arizonenses remember the “seizure world” comment that poked fun at the elderly, ironic now that he’s the oldest candidate for president (I guess it was inevitable that it would become ironic). I managed to dig up this gem from his 1986 race for US Senate, as quoted in the Tucson Citizen:

Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, ‘Where is that marvelous ape?’

I find rape jokes are always a sign of class, don’t you?

At the time, McCain’s spokesperson (Torrie Clark, yes, that one) alleged that this was story was some manipulation by the Richard Kimball campaign. Yep, it’s always the other guy’s fault. I wonder if the reporter on that story, Norma Coile, was treated to the screaming phone call that McCain has treated so many local reporters to when they dare write a negative story about him.

UPDATE – Because you demanded it, here is a PDF of the original article from 1986.


  1. Donna wrote:

    Dammit! I write negative posts about McThuselah all the time. When is Johnny going to spread that “screaming phone call” love to low-traffic bloggers? I’ve got the recorder ready…

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  2. Hot in AZ wrote:

    Didn’t McCain also make a joke in ’96 about Clintons’ dog being named Chelsea? He’s really not a nice guy.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  3. Donna wrote:

    Hot in AZ, it was Rush who said that. Another right wing dude who thinks bullying young girls is kewl.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
  4. Eli_Blake wrote:

    McCain even called his own wife a ‘c**t.’

    He clearly has a deep-seated resentment towards women.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
  5. Donna wrote:

    “deep-seated resentment towards women”

    Which makes him different from every other conservative male, in what way?

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  6. azw88 wrote:

    Is it a deep-seated hatred for women, or was he just in the Navy a wee bit too long??? :)

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  7. dmhlt wrote:

    Well, so far I don’t think he’s told any that start out:

    “Hey, have you heard the one about the white guy, the n*%%&r and the s@*c who walk into a bar …”

    Or is it just a matter of time?

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
  8. Sully wrote:

    All in all…meh.

    If I were to have all the jokes I said recorded and analyzed as if I were projecting, I’d be labeled as a KKK member. Yet I campaign for Obama. Could it be that I’m just a frat-boy and he’s just and old Navy guy and the humor reflects it?

    Seriously, of all the legitimate things to not want him in office for, crude humor shouldn’t be one of those things. I like to think my generation is beyond the requirements of considering how everyone feels whenever a joke is told. After all, we are the ones who make South Park what it is.

    I mean, did you hear the one about a permanent presence in Iraq?…oh wait

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  9. Tarzan wrote:

    When was Cindy McCain attacked by an Ape?

    Was she on a Drug induced Bender from Stolen Illegal Drugs?

    Two words to describe John Sydney McCain III:

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
  10. BobN wrote:

    “Another right wing dude who thinks bullying young girls is kewl.”

    In Rush’s case, at least, I suspect it’s payback.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
  11. Anna wrote:

    You really should source something better before you print this as fact. I read the article, and there is not one verification, only people saying that someone else heard it. Give me a break!

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  12. DHSmd wrote:


    I’ve searched the net, and while the photo is common, I can find no primary source for it. The closest thing to an MSM source is Pravda, which probably pilfered it.

    It appears to be a posed studio shot. Just fortuitous lighting, or actually deliberate?

    If you know who took this shot, where, when and under what circumstances, I would certainly be interested..

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  13. Becca wrote:

    I am a very open-minded person and I really hate political correctness but as a victim of Rape I can’t stop crying. The joke did not only NOT make sense to me but made me physically ill.

    What is wrong with McCain?

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 8:05 pm | Permalink
  14. DanV wrote:

    Crude humor may have its place, but the position of President (to me, at least) is one of diplomacy. Yes, we’ve been lacking that for eight years (Bush is, after all, history’s greatest diplomatic dimwit) but must we go another four years without it? Both Obama and McCain are finding out that what they say now and what they’ve said in the past will be scrutinized so greatly that any attempt at humor will result in a myriad number of reactions. For example:The New Yorker cover was satire, but it was not overtly labeled as such. Every joke, every metaphor has to be explained in detail before the American public will let it go for what it is.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  15. dan wrote:

    you just printed outright lies….congrats, i guess

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  16. Mike Hussein S wrote:

    Even worse than his jokes in that creepy laugh you hear when he’s the only one laughing. And that seems to happen frequently.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 8:40 pm | Permalink
  17. AD wrote:

    I’d really rather have a leader who’s irreverent, a little vulgar and can have a good time (who, by the way, will level with me and tell me the truth at the end of the day) than a silver-tongued, conventional politician who plays everything safe lest he offend anyone.

    I read a story about McCain and Hillary on a trip to Russia where they got into a drinking contest. When Obama went to Russia on a different trip, he DEMANDED water to be placed in his shot glass, offending his hosts.

    McCain’s a lot of things. Most importantly, he’s real. And he has a lot more in common with this 25 year old than that other guy. :)

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
  18. Donna wrote:

    “you just printed outright lies….congrats, i guess”

    Oh noes!! Un-properly attributed quotes, without full citations and footnotes! In a blog!

    Honestly, dan, I’d feel bad about it except my candidate has people sending emails to cousin Mabel in Dubuque about how he’s a Muslim Manchurean candidate and stuff.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
  19. Donna wrote:

    Shorter AD: “I’ll take a 3rd term of Fun Guy You Can Have A Beer With.”

    Because it was such a good idea the first 2 times.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink
  20. IknowMcCain and he ain't no Bush wrote:

    I heard that John McCain doesn’t use toilet paper. I also heard that he picks his nose, and eats it. Oh yeah, he is also attracted to Janet Reno because he thinks that she’s not a bad catch for her age. He flirted with Scientology because he wanted to rub elbows with John Travolta. He drinks regularly, maybe a little too much at times, but don’t tell anyone you heard that from me. He is secretly a conservative Democrat, but since he lives in Arizona, he registered as a Republican. If you want more of the scoop on McCain, just let me know. I KNOW EVERYTHING.

    *snark* Like who gives two cr@ps about this story, especially since most of it is from so long ago?

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 12:41 am | Permalink
  21. Fred Sims wrote:

    1986, hmmmm, what was the Obamessiah doing in 1986? Oh that’s right, smoking crack.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 6:02 am | Permalink
  22. JC wrote:

    YOU WROTE: I find rape jokes are always a sign of class, don’t you?

    ****Yet you undoubtedly voted for Bill Clinton TWICE – right? Yet he ACTUALLY RAPED his own female campaign worker (Juanita Broderick) twice in one day! So…’re pretty classy there yourself, dude. 8-)

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 6:19 am | Permalink
  23. Steve wrote:

    Donna and others I think you are being unfair to conservative males. My father is very conservative and 76 years old. He is right in the demographic that is supposedly McCain’s Base. He said he can’t vote for McCain because he doesn’t like the way he treats Cindy. He said that he could have believed the story of him calling her a C**T was false, and that he cheated on his first wife and dumped her for loosing her looks in the accident may have been mis reported and overlooked, but what convinced him that McCain was a bad guy when it came to women was, in his words, “how the hell is a husband who supposedly cares about his wife NOT going to notice that she is in terrible pain and has become a drug addict because of it?! Hi MOTHER had to tell him that his wife had become an addict? That just shows that this guy is too wrapped up in himself and consideres everybody else only in how they help him, I can’t vote for him”. So to those of you on here saying that all conservative males don’t like women, there is a statement from a very conservative male who won’t vote for McCain precisely because he thinks McCain treats women badly.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 7:09 am | Permalink
  24. Bill M wrote:

    Actually, Sims, in 1986 Obama was a community organizer, working as director of the Developing Communities Project, a church-based community organization on Chicago’s far South Side. And not making rape jokes, oddly enough.

    And JC, if you look into it, you’ll see that Juanita Broaddrick (might want to at least get the spelling right) first filed a sworn affidavit that said “During the 1992 Presidential campaign there were unfounded rumors and stories circulated that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances toward me in the late seventies… These allegations are untrue.” Then, when she discovered that it would get her on TV, she contradicted her sworn statement; she never filed an official statement and never testified. It was all part of the Arkansas Project, which Richard Mellon Scaife put together to try and bring down Clinton. (I’m not sure if you noticed, but it didn’t work.) Read “Blinded by the Right” sometime.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 7:11 am | Permalink
  25. Donna wrote:

    Steve, I’m just messing with the conservative males that post here. You’re right, there are some nice conservative men. And some ‘liberal’ ones who, frankly, leave a lot to be desired where how they view women is concerned.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  26. Holly wrote:

    Becca, I am so sorry that that lying, creepy grinning JMcC said those awful things that made you cry. I don’t believe everything I see on the web…but I believe he said this. He is pathetic

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 9:54 am | Permalink
  27. What a great title on this post.
    you are are really intelligent and funny.
    For a little republican justice, stop on by and see us sometime…

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  28. Todd from north of the Gila wrote:


    I see you got picked up by Sam Stein at HuffPo, and now that’s on the front page at Digg. Nice.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 3:56 pm | Permalink
  29. A Dude wrote:

    Man I am liberal as all get out and even I have deep seated resentment towards women. Let’s face it. Women! What’s the deal with them??? Really guys am I right here or what?

    Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 1:04 am | Permalink
  30. Daniel wrote:

    A: What.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 5:26 am | Permalink
  31. Randolph Carter wrote:

    Sims, Obama would never have smoked crack. He’s way too classy for that – powder cocaine all the way!

    Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  32. Randolph Carter wrote:

    PS to be clear I don’t think that anyone’s drug use matters in a campaign, and I appreciate Obama’s honesty in admitting that he used drugs. If only more politicians were that straightforward, maybe we wouldn’t be engaged in the insane war on drugs.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink
  33. Stoneburner wrote:

    Stop the presses! Someone told an off-color joke 22 years ago!!!

    Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  34. a. con-serve & a. tive wrote:

    I’d consider myself a convervative and I have nothing but respect for women. Well, those who know their place, anyways.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Permalink
  35. Franny wrote:

    They’re talking about this on Countdown tonight.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  36. Greggie wrote:

    Look, he is crude and often crosses the line. But sometimes he is funny. Seizure world is rude and unacceptable. It’s also funny.

    The one that gets me the most is the killing Iranians with cigarettes joke. This joke also gave me good short-term chuckle. But can you imagine the damage it will do, if he is elected President, running on a constant loop on Iranian state TV all day long for 4-8 years? This joke not only crosses the line to being offensive to people (which is bad), but it ACTIVELY HURTS AMERICAN INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST in what I suspect would be a grave way, were he to be elected (which he won’t be, thank God).

    Still, I find the guy charismatic and funny. Just not as President.

    Friday, July 18, 2008 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  37. kim wrote:

    Eli said:

    “McCain even called his own wife a ‘c**t.’

    He clearly has a deep-seated resentment towards women.”

    That’s why we are calling him “McCaint”

    Friday, July 18, 2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  38. Paulie Macadamia Nuts wrote:

    And this is the guy who Clinton supporters will vote for instead of Obama? Jajajajaja!!!!

    Friday, July 18, 2008 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
  39. “When Obama went to Russia on a different trip, he DEMANDED water to be placed in his shot glass, offending his hosts.”


    Can’t imagine why. . . ;-)

    Friday, July 18, 2008 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
  40. piehat wrote:

    And this is the guy who Clinton supporters will vote for instead of Obama?

    Yeah, wait and see if that actually happens in November. I’m betting the numbers are miniscule. There’s a lot of talk about it in the media, but I just don’t see people actually planning to do this.

    Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  41. As a recent victim of proven sexual assault here is what I have to say:

    Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
  42. arnold wrote:

    Someone was saying on one of the news programs that McCain is possibly VERY angry after being beaten-up (and God knows what else) by the Vietnamese, and now he takes it out on women. The guy has a great sense of humor.
    Crack Cocaine

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 11:52 pm | Permalink
  43. I.M.Small wrote:


    Quoth John McCain unto a group
    Of his diehard supporters
    (You know they like to scoop the poop,
    Republican cavorters):

    “Why is young Chelsea, daughter of
    The Clintons, so gosh ugly?”
    He pauses, till suspense enough
    He breaks with his words smugly.

    “The punchline is, because her Dad
    Is really Janet Reno,”
    Thus great guffaws by all were had,
    Republicans, whom we know

    As fond of crudity behind
    The scenes (if seldom public),
    To the discrepancy a blind
    Eye turning, there’s the rubnik.

    In many ways is John McCain
    A dutiful “third termer,”
    Sacred pretense corrupt profane
    In need of a de-wormer.

    Friday, September 5, 2008 at 7:17 am | Permalink
  44. Ainuke wrote:

    In the article referenced, McCain’s comment is that he “doesn’t recall” telling that joke. Was he thinking of a worse one that he had thought to lead off the speech with, and got confused as to which one he told?
    I don’t know about you, but I often don’t recall getting up in front of a group of people and telling a gorilla rape joke.

    Note to John (or surrogates thereof):
    If the media approaches you and asks if you have told an ape rape joke (that you haven’t told), the proper response should go something like this:
    “That is the most offensive thing I have ever heard. I in no way ever said anything like that. That is a total and complete fabrication, and I demand a retraction and apology from whomever started such a rumor.”
    Try to look sincere when you say it, possibly with emphatic pounding of your fist on a podium or other furniture close to hand (think Clinton with the “I did not have sex with that woman” visual).

    “I don’t recall” doesn’t even rise to the level of plausible deniability.

    Too bad it was before on-phone video.

    Friday, September 12, 2008 at 7:01 pm | Permalink