don-rickles-obama-joke-shirley-maclaine-AFI-tribute.jpgShirley MacLaine was honored by the American Film Institute with a Lifetime Achievement Award on June 7, with several A-listers on hand to honor/roast the longtime star. Among them was famous insult comic Don Rickles.

During his segment, Rickles took shots at many people in the room, including MacLaine, her brother Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Jennifer Aniston. But he also took a shot at someone who was not there – President Barack Obama.

Rickles said during his bit, “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.”

The joke seems like something Rickles would’ve had in an act 40 years ago, but he is 86, we suppose – shouldn’t really expect anything sharper, right?

Now a spokesperson for TV Land, which is airing the tribute on June 24, tells the Hollywood Reporter, “It’s not going to make it on the air — that’s all I’ll say about it.”

However, Rickles’ rep says that it’s not censorship, it’s just a cut for time, because the tribute ran long.

“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 nonstory
and requires no further comment.”

What do you think, gang? Is it just a time issue? And how about the joke itself? Is it racist? Is it just not funny because it’s ridiculous? Or is it funny? Weigh in in the comments.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."