So the New York Times on Sunday reports that Senator Barack Obama mildly scolded comedian Bernie Mac during a Chicago fundraising event after Mr. Mac made off color jokes “on issues like menopause and prostitution.”

Said Senator Obama; “…and we can’t afford to be divided by gender. This is a family affair.”

Whoa, I thought! Tacky prostitution jokes, well yes, that could get a comedian and his candidate in hot water. But what kind of joke about menopause could Mr. Mac have made that was so off color as to warrant a rebuke?

I scanned the internet for a transcript. Well, lo and behold, the New York Times’ online version had an “update.” This time the off color jokes were described as about “menopause, prostitution and black family relations.”  Hmm. The prostitution jokes – really nothing more than a tired old vaudeville routine modernized by the use of the phrase “two hos” – was sexist but mostly just stupid.

But here is the menopause joke –

Mr. Mac then mentioned that he has been married for 35 years and that his wife had just gone through menopause. “I can’t take it,” he said. “My house is so doggone cold all the time.”

Did I misread this? To me the sentence is not offensive. It’s not really even interesting. And as thigh-slapping humor goes…well, no. Not actually funny. But here is what’s notable. The fact that a comedian would make a comment about the taboo subject itself is what got the attention of the New York Times.

As for really funny menopause humor? Well, I think we’ll have to wait for Bernie Mac’s wife to deliver the goods on that. Tickets, anyone?

–Elaine Lafferty

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  • Deb July 14, 2008 at 11:42 am

    About six months ago, I swore I’d never laugh at another joke about hot flashes. Since when has menopause been a taboo subject for jokes? Close to half the “humor” on “That Seventies Show” is derived from menopause jokes. They’re about as funny as PMS jokes, but as far as there being anything off-color about the menopause joke? Only if your mind is in the gutter and you’ve never had a hot flash. There’s a reason I sleep with the fan on.

  • The Eyes of America July 13, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    With Barrack and his followers and benefactors hate campaigning on America, and the industrialized world in general, with their agenda of terrorism and deceit, why is anyone not surprised by all of this? He is the enemy, and all of America is his intended target, and all of America knows it. We don’t want to be anyone’s target, Obama. You’ve done enough damage to America, and the world, already.