Joking about the president and the Speaker of the House drowning might get laughs if a late night comic says it, but how about a US senator?
At The Hill’s The Washington Scene, Christina Wilkie writes, “Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) got a big laugh on Saturday at a National Republican Senatorial Committee retreat, but his joke definitely wouldn’t be funny to some people.”
Wilkie claims that, “According to a source who attended the meetings, Kyl told the assembled crowd a political version of the classic three-people-in-a-boat joke: ‘So [President Barack] Obama, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] and [Majority Leader] [Harry] Reid [D-Nev.] are in a row boat, and it springs a leak and starts to sink. Who gets saved?’ Answer: ‘The American people.'”
RAW STORY is unaware of any classic joke about three people drowning in a boat, but it’s similar to the one about how one hundred lawyers drowning in the ocean would be “a good start.”
Wilkie adds, “But love it or hate it, it wasn’t even Kyl’s own joke. The senator poached it from late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, according to a source.”
But that source appears to be incorrect, as an internet search reveals that the originator of the joke is alleged to be Kimmel’s rival at NBC, Jimmy Fallon, and chances are he probably never even said it.
Since last year, a list of alleged late night jokes have circulated around the web, especially at Tea Party sites, since 2009. “I haven’t a clue if any of these people said any of these phrases, but they are funny (to most of us),” a blogger writes.
“The liberals are asking us to give Obama time,” one joke attributed to Jay Leno reads. “We agree and think 25 to life would be appropriate.”
Another joke on the list claims to be an alleged Kimmel quote that would please birthers:
Q: What’s the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers.
The Hill report adds, “Kyl’s office declined to comment on the quip, which was made during a closed-door strategy speech in Austin, Texas.”
Kyl’s sense of humor has garnered him criticism before. Last November, CNN’s Political Ticker noted that a Kyl joke resulted in an attack ad used against him.
Democrats are planning to hit Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl in his home state next week with a new television ad that accuses the Arizona Republican of being out of touch on health care issues – a pitch aimed squarely at women voters.
The 30-second commercial features video of a Senate exchange between Kyl and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan. In the clip, Kyl says he doesn’t need maternity care, and requiring that coverage in his insurance policy would be unnecessary and expensive. Asked whether he thinks insurance policies should be required to cover pre-natal health care, Kyl’s response included an offhand remark that “over 60 years ago, my mom did.”
“TELL JON KYL: COVERING MATERNITY CARE ISN’T A JOKE FOR WOMEN,” reads the ad’s on-screen text.
Off-color jokes aren’t just for Republicans, however, as a joke that Obama said at this weekend’s White House Correspondents Dinner about using Predator drones to protect his daughters from the Jonas Brothers managed to offend liberals upset about joking about assassinations and conservatives just waiting to pounce.
Salon’s Alex Pareene wrote, “Hah! It’s funny because predator drone strikes in Pakistan have killed literally hundreds of completely innocent civilians, and now the president is evincing a casual disregard for those lives he is responsible for ending by making a lighthearted joke about killing famous young celebrities for the crime of attempting to sleep with his young daughters. (Really, everything about the joke is inappropriate. That’s why you shouldn’t analyze humor too much.)”
(Editor’s Note: Post will be be edited and video added on the off chance that Kimmel or Fallon actually said a joke whose punchline revolves around President Obama and Rep. Nancy Pelosi drowning to death)