Crotchety Old Man Makes Racist Joke About President Obama
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Crotchety Old Man Makes Racist Joke About President Obama

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 13, 2012 | Comments ()


You know that insane grandmother you have that still says "colored people" and casually drops off-hand racist remarks but claims not to be racist because she just loved The Help? And you know how, when she starts going on about "the blacks," how you'll just cringe and nod your head because you know she's 85 years old and so set in her ways that it doesn't do a damn bit of good to confront her because it'll just get her riled up and before you know it, she's ranting and raving because she thinks you're going to run off and marry a black woman and then she'll have to disown you, even though she's seriously not racist because, really, she loved The Help?

No. Must be a Southern thing, then?

Well, that's also Don Rickles, the adorable old racist who -- at the Legend Award's Tribute to Shirley MacClaine -- dropped this comment during his speech: ""President Obama is a personal friend of mine," said Rickles. "He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke."


This is me cringing. But what are you going to do? He's 85-years-old. You could protest, but what are you going to protest? TVLand has already agreed to edit the comment out of their broadcast, and the only time that Rickles gets out of the house is when he's invited out to make remarks that were off-color in the 1960s at celebrity roasts featuring celebrities of which he has probably never heard. I suppose we could threaten to deface his tombstone:

"Here lies Don Rickles. His entire career consisted of insults and casual racism. But he wasn't racist. He really liked The Help."

According to Rickles' rep, however, he's not being "censored." He's being edited for time. "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 non-story and requires no further comment."

Now that's just a load of bullshit. We should all overreact and start a Facebook campaign to have Rickles killed. WHO'S WITH ME?

(Source: THR)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • AudioSuede

    As a rabid Obama supporter and comedian, all I can say is, Don Rickles gets a pass on this one. I'll be honest, it's a racially motivated joke, but there's a difference between jokes that are clearly disparaging an entire group of people for the sake of keeping them down and one that's playing off racism for laughs. In the context of the joke, it seems more like he's making fun of racism than being racist, and either way, he's Don Rickles; the man's a comedy legend.

  • BigNick

    Folks, Don Rickles has been doing these kind of jokes for decades. He's not a racist and he's never been a racist.

  • Slash

    Where did the trolls come from? And stop fucking feeding them, people. Ignore them and they'll go back to Fox News or Townhall or wherever the hell they came form.

  • David Sorenson

    This is noteworthy? Y'all do realize that Don Rickles had a career of saying things far worse than this before he was Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story franchise, right? And not just about black people. Everybody. Absolutely everybody.

    Now you are all well within your rights to say that it's not funny, because it's not. It's certainly dated and far from clever. Getting offended by it, or thinking that Rickles is racist is like getting offended by a rerun of All in the Family.

  • Jezzer

    I don't know who wonkeythemonkey is, but I'm pretty sure I want to have his/her babies.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    I'm just a long-time lurker drawn out by low-hanging fruit on the stupid tree.
    As for the babies, I already have one and he's about all that I can handle!

  • Anna von Beav

    I'm sorry, there are a lot of comments and I'm at work so I don't have time to read them all carefully, but did someone say Sammy Davis Jr. was okay with this joke?

    Because I'm pretty sure Sammy Davis Jr. has been dead for like 20 years.

  • superasente

    Sammy Davis Jr. communicates with his most ardent fans from beyond the grave. He taps out his approval in morse-code.

  • jett07

    75 comments? I can't even believe that many people read this article! I want movie reviews

  • vic

    This is probably the most anyone's ever talked about Rickles in decades.

  • Muffin

    You and a majority of your readers are pussies.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Eloquent eloquence in a nutshell, cheers to you for winning all of the awards. Seriously, all of them. Game over and good night. #lowestcommondenominator

  • frank247

    #lowestcommoncommentator surely?

  • dahlia6

    Here's perhaps a big load of naivety, but here you go. Why do we have to say mean and hurtful things like this? I'm not advocating a namby-pamby approach to all conversation, mind you. Asshole is one of my favorite words. My nickname for my dad is 'that asshole' or 'that son of a bitch' depending on my mood. But seriously, what does calling someone a 'nappy headed ho' bring to the conversation? If communication has a transfer of benefits relationship to the people conversing, what does this add? Why is racism considered funny? I'll call someone an asshole, a raging cockface, or a fartsucker all day long, but I honestly don't understand why calling someone the n-word, or making fun of their race/gender/sexual orientation is considered to be a funny thing.

    And for what its worth, I grew up in the asshole of eastern Kentucky, the boil on the wart of the hemmoroid of the anus of the world. And I never found racism funny.

    Calling someone a raging fartsucker, however, is hilarious.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Thank you. There is an excellent quote by the German comedian Dieter Nuhr along this line. To paraphrase: "Freedom of speech does not mean that you have to go and say everything that goes through your mind. If you have no idea what you're talking about, shut your face."

  • James

    How is implying that someone engages in fartohpilia funny? What gives you the right to make fun of them for doing something they enjoy? You'll offend someone no matter what you say. If they're sensitive enough to be offended, they will be. Making up words to cover up for the actual meaning behind your words doesn't change what you're saying.
    You can call someone a "retard" and mean it in that "they're just being stupid" kind of way, because that's what you meant. However, it's offensive because retardation can't be helped and whatnot.
    Saying what you want and choosing the words you want to use is your own choice.
    To be honest if you called me a raging fartsucker, I'd assume it's just code for "fag" and would still be offended. Get it?
    Didn't your parents ever yell at you for saying "freaking" because you meant "fucking"?
    It's okay. I'm sure Rickels is digging through these comments and feeling very sorry for what he did. You guys are revolutionaries.

  • dahlia6

    Total sidebar here, but why would you think fartsucker = gay? Fartophilia and homosexuality are two totally different things.

  • James

    Yes but they can be intertwined and mostly by brazillian transvestites

  • dahlia6

    See, that's way out of my realm of expertise.

  • James

    That's why you should educate yourself before you run your mouth if you don't want to offend anyone

  • dahlia6

    Sarcasm font/ jeez. Also, run my mouth? Am I detecting a little bit of the "get into the kitchen, bitch?" in that? Are we really going to devolve into that crap?

    I was making a dumb joke. How come its okay for Rooney to do it, but I get to shut my mouth? Works both way, even with different sets of plumbing.

  • vic

    True dat

  • Earliervic

    Ah, I knew I saw another vic posting here. I'll change my name, then. Maybe not "Earliervic," though...

  • vic

    dick works

  • vic

    ...on second though, I'll keep using vic. It'll makes things interesting.

  • Becca Eberman

    I honestly think that the political world should be much less politically correct, because if everybody just came out and said what they actually meant, maybe we would actually get something done for a change!

  • vic

    I'm sorry, but how is that relevant here? Rickles should just go out and say these things (in jest, however poorly communicated), and then...?

  • James

    I know it's hard for a liberal mind to believe, but not everything you do has to change the world. Sometimes you're allowed to indulge in your rights as a citizen of the United States and poke fun at a successful black man

  • vic

    They should've gotten a better comedian than Rickles, then. Guy doesn't even deserve free speech with crap jokes like that. Thanks for answering my question, too. We've accomplished so much here!

  • James

    He doesn't deserve free speech because he didn't make you laugh? Well, you've done nothing but make little sense whilst whining about the poor defenseless president and yet somehow you have the freedom of speech... hmmm...

  • Tony

    So, because he made a racist joke, we should set out to kill him? As people so involved in the entertainment industry, shouldn't you be defending the freedom of speech? The fact of the matter is that Obama never was a housemaid and no members of his family were, either. The black bits of him are from Kenya. So, really the joke hardly even applies to him.
    Everyone is a little racist. Don't deny it. This white-guilt card everyone is playing is even a form of racism.
    I'm a wonderful mix of everything. There's mexican in there, some black, some white, some native american... It's all a great mix. Until the entire world looks like me with my caramel skin and nearly black hair, racism is going to exist. I should be offended by everything really. But I'm not. Because I have a sense of humor. I'm sure anyone that's spent more than a year in the spotlight has developed one too.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    "You're a little bit racist" - Avenue Q, anyone?

  • fpkillkill

    The internet is for porn.

  • vic

    Wait, do you really think Rowles was seriously advocating killing Don Rickles? I know it's the internet, but that was *clearly* sarcasm. You can tell by the rest of the article that Dustin really isn't that outraged about it. Frankly, even I'm over it, despite posting that outrage further up. Really, it was just a crappy joke that shows how dated his humor is. Is he racist? Well, he ain't burning crosses, but he's not really doing anybody any favors.

  • Tony

    I didn't think he was serious, but the outrage is the ridiculous part of this entire thread of comments. Why does anyone care? Rickles is a comedian, not a politician. His opinion on people won't change a thing about the way black people are treated. If anything these racist jokes take a serious issue that negatively effected a group of people and make it light hearted so we don't sit and dwell on the fact that a bad thing happened a long time ago.

  • debbye

    You're really going around telling people not to be outraged by a racist comment? To shame people into not caring about stuff just because you don't deem it important?

  • wonkeythemonkey

    It would be a lot easier to just let it go, but people keep posting comments that angry up my blood. I'm just a hopeless troll-feeder, I guess.

  • tilly


  • vic

    No esse! No comprendes mang

  • James

    I don't think many people in the entertainment industry are concerned with the freedom of speech. They're too busy endorsing socialism

  • Jezzer

    You should probably crack open a book sometime and look up to see what "socialism" actually is. Hint: it's not what Fox News commentators are constantly harping about.

  • pissant

    Jaysus, what is it with the comments on this thread? Is this because of the content of this post or is Disqus bringing Pajiba a new brand of idiot? I just saw someone say "libtard". Pookie has got trolling on Pajiba on lockdown. We don't need anyone else.

    If this site loses its comment section it'll only have the strength of its movie reviews to keep it from going completely down the toilet. Go progress!

  • space_oddity

    And where the hell is Pookie?!

  • Jezzer

    Dustin said the new Disqus software makes the banhammer easier to wield. Howzabouddit, boss man?

  • annie

    Might just be an old-dude thing. My dad is 86 from the Philippines, a loving but highly educated arrogant son of a bitch, registered Republican but has voted Democrat since Clinton and has no problem at all with Obama being black. That he's Muslim however (oh, father dearest) and Muslims in general...

  • Slash

    Eh, I never though Rickles was particularly funny. Not a big fan of "insult" comedy. It's just not funny most of the time. But if he wants to imply the black president is a custodian, fine, whatever. Anybody who guffaws at that is probably too dumb to bother lecturing at anyway. It's not by any means the worst stuff that's been said about Obama in the last 24 hours. Or the last 24 minutes.

  • Slash

    One of the most outwardly racist people I've ever met was my uncle in New York (Rochester area). He was unapologetically racist. I didn't bother protesting anything he said, it wouldn't have done any good. He's deceased now, if that makes anyone feel better. Good ol' Uncle Dick. He was actually a very funny guy, when he wasn't going on about the (whatever non-white group he was griping about).

    Old people must know (don't they?) that the bigger assholes they are, the more the rest of us wish they would die off more quickly? I do, anyway.

  • geofftherobot

    Dustin, you truly are insufferable.
    Last week that 'Girls' article and now this, please let Jrob write more articles

  • mothyham

    Have you ever considered how "tolerance" has become intolerant of anyone who steps outside the boundries of what the left considers to be suitable for consumption?
    Live and let live, you assholes.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    "Tolerance" is not some tangible entity with goals and opinions.

  • mothyham

    That is YOUR opinion.
    And its wrong....especially in light of the liberal facism that now runs rampant in our society. Shouldn't you be tolerant of other's intolerance because it is THEIR right to hold those views?
    You don't have to like it but you do HAVE to allow it because we are FREE to believe what we want.
    And as an fyi, I voted "black" in the last election and will do so again, happily.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    That is some FINE trolling there, sire(?). I totally got sucked into it. Well done.
    Well, not WELL done really. Because trolling is actually pretty sucky in all forms. But I appreciate how effectively you pulled it off.

  • mothyham

    this whole post was a troll.

  • Jezzer

    Technically, fascism is a conservative policy. And, once again, freedom of speech means the GOVERNMENT can't stop you. It doesn't mean that you can't or won't have social repercussions.

  • mothyham

    That's why I said LIBERAL facism.
    In addition, freedom of speech means the government protects me from repurcussions.

  • Jezzer

    Not if those repercussions fall inside the law. For instance, Dustin could ban you from the site for being a total asshat. This is a direct REPERCUSSION of your exercise of free speech rights from which the government can not and will not protect you.

  • Salieri2

    I don't give a damn about your opinion but I would be grateful if you spelled "fascism" correctly. Shit, "repercussions" is harder and you nailed that just fine.

  • mothyham

    Is that the best you can do?
    Here's fun:
    rearrange these words to form a sentence:

  • No one understands humour.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    Especially Don Rickles.

  • Dustin, that whole first paragraph just described conversations that I've had with both of my grandmothers, except change woman to man. *Sigh*

  • Martin

    Rickles knows exactly what he's doing. He's an insult comic- and also an incredibly old man- which is a double-whammy of not giving a fuck. Is he ACTUALLY a racist? I doubt it. Maybe latant, generational racism, but nothing actively antagonistic.

    And speaking of generational racism, my grandparents have lived in Manhattan for 65 years (Colorado before that) and does exactly the sort of thing you mention, so it's most certainly not a southern thing. It's a resentment thing. Growing old often makes people fearful, vulnerable and resentful of a world changing too rapidly for them to understand. Plus the shit that happens to your body after the age of 70 has got to make you cranky as hell.

  • seth

    Get over yourself.

  • Seth

    You fucking idiots. Rickles plays on stereotypes. He has for some 60 years. Fuck off and watch South Park and keep telling yourself Trey Parker isn't a homophobe ( he isn't). It is the same fucking brand of humor packaged differently. You dumbshits.

  • And now you've made me remember Eden's Crush. Damn you.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    There are racists everywhere. Not just in the South.

    And yes, that was a joke, and not hate.

    That being said, who cares? Freedom of speech pretty much ensures that people can say whatever they want... here, in the US anyway.

    Don Rickles is still alive?

  • Jezzer

    Freedom of speech means that the government can't shackle your speech. It's not a get-out-of-trouble-free card for social repercussions.

  • dahlia6

    Exactly. You can say the most awful, horrible things you can imagine in the most depraved pits of hell, and the government doesn't have the right to tell you diddly. However, I can call you a jackass for it all I want, and the government can't tell me squat, either.

  • HMDK

    It's always funny when bigots wrap themselves in the first amendment (and the flag, but they ALWAYS do that!) without understanding it. They think freedom of speech means you can say anything you want without anyone else arguing,
    No, it only means that the government can't stop you from saying what you want. Other people can still tell you that you're a shitheaded moron who was born stupid. Hell, the government can too! Just as long as they don't prohibit you from talking back. That doesn't mean anyone has to grant you an audience. If you can't attract one, no one owes you a free fuckin' girlfriend, you useless fuck.

  • James

    You guys should crawl out of Obama's butthole, seriously

  • Ender

    Do you think that the only reason people think this was racist is because they love Obama? That most of them wouldn't think the same if you said it about any random black celebrity?

  • wonkeythemonkey

    "President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was over at my house the other day, but I couldn't get out of his butthole!"

  • Common Sense

    Any jokes about the Messiah Obama will be met with absolute tamtrums and calls for the head of the offending comedian. It is not tolerated, period.
    Jokes about raping 14 year old are OK as long the 14 year old is a Republican.
    You overly sensitive asshats are too funny.

  • Martin

    Enjoying your RWNJ persecution fantasy? (Everyone's against you! NOBAMA is stifling dissent! Better finish that bunker before you're forcibly gay-married at federal gunpoint.)

  • Common Sense

    Black Jesus will be gone come January 2013 thankfully. And you have proven my point regarding you liberal cry babies. I bring up an inappropriate joke about a 14 year old and you say I'm delusional, make an off-color remark about Obama = racist. Asshat.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    "President Obama was over at the house the other day, and he kept multiplying all of my bread!"
    Hey... THAT would have been funnier than what he actually said!

  • Ender

    The difference between satire and bigotry. Bigots can't recognise it though.

  • Martin

    'Cause Romney is an unstoppable juggernaut. Your resentment is getting all over me, and it's kind of gross.

    Lets meet back here mid-November and we'll see if you and your paleoconservative amnesiacs have "taken your country back" (or whatever code phrase you all are using these days.)

  • space_oddity

    I see the headlines now: "Black Jesus replaced by robot."

  • Don Rickles is no more a racist than Trey Parker and Matt Stone are. And like Parker and Stone, he's refreshingly, exuberantly not politically correct; and, also like the creators of South Park and The Book of Mormon, he's goddamn, motherfucking FUNNY!

  • wonkeythemonkey

    That comment was funny? It wouldn't be funny even if race weren't involved. The only way it works as a joke is if the listener, after hearing the punchline, thinks "Ha, yes! I too have often thought of Obama as the sort of person who would mop my floors, but I wasn't expecting him to say so!"

    If it's not racist, it's about the same as saying "I invited Donald Rumsfeld over for dinner the other day, and I wish I hadn't because he ate all of my Wheat Thins!" Uh... what? Why would Donald Rumsfeld eat my crackers, and why would Obama mop my floors?

  • tilly

    Because he's black. *Ba-dum chng*

  • This is exactly the situation here... Also I believe people are over reacting to this BECAUSE he's old. It's easy to paint older people as racist.

  • HMDK

    Nah, Racist jokes are racist jokes. And you're grasping at strawmen... Here, let me point you to your home:
    It's called
    And yes, it IS sort of an old age home,

  • Ed

    Couldn't it just be a gag about having the President of the US as your housekeeper, regardless of what colour he is?

  • space_oddity

    Certainly. But when taken in context of a history where African-Americans were for most of the 20th century relegated to menial jobs like housekeeping, it becomes more than just a joke about a President being your housekeeper.

    Compare, for example, if I were to joke about how GW Bush came over to clear the brush off my lawn. It probably wouldn't be considered offensive, but then it's a lame joke to begin with, as well.

  • becks2point0

    The worst part is that the joke is pretty lame either way.

    I think Dustin is right though. All of the out-of-touch, racist old people and the backwoods, redneck Southern people should stop saying these obviously offensive things about black people. It's like they don't even realize they're saying something so awful!

  • Ed

    Fair enough. Heh - Bush/brush.

  • Must be a Southern thing. My Grandpa is 76, lives in PA, voted for Obama, and loves to rant about how Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are destroying this country. He'll defend his biracial grandkids to any idiots who make any racist remarks. He's also in favor of gay rights. We were talking about marriage equality and the conversation turned to gays in the military and things were getting heated between the conservative members of our family and the more liberal ones like myself. Finally, Grandpa interjected, "What the hell do I care who wants to marry who? As long as you show up and do your job, who the hell cares? Let people marry who they want!" I couldn't have loved him more at that moment.

  • ,


    I don't share your grandpa's politics but I do share his attitude.

    I see two types of people in the world: Those who can get the job done, and those who can't.

    Why would I possibly care about anything else?

  • fpkillkill

    I love your Grandpa.

  • Paul Buck

    What's being overlooked is that Rickles makes racists comments about literally every race imaginable, including whites. I don't think he's prejudiced against any race but he's willing to point and laugh at all of them.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    I don't think anyone's overlooking it. "Can you believe that they're letting blacks be president now instead of cleaning our houses?" is not really a joke, and consequently most people are assuming actual racism is behind it. If it were a racist comment about a clearly observable, or even uncomfortable, truth, it might be taken differently.

  • Gregory Allen

    I think it rubs people the wrong way because it's a president who is routinely talked about in the predicate of sentences starting with "I'm not racist, but...." I think the problem is we don't know how to articulate why something is just a little too much, like why calling a bunch of college girls "Nappy headed hoes" as a joke on the radio isn't as funny when they're not there to defend themselves (or hell, even laugh along if they had no sense of humor). I don't really "get offended" but I do think words carry importance and lead to important debates. I especially don't like people being cut out, fired, or censored thusly, because it ends the important debate and gives fuel for the genuinely bigoted.

  • Geena Phillips

    I think it rubs people the wrong way because it's a president who is routinely talked about in the predicate of sentences starting with "I'm not racist, but...."'

    Routinely talked about by WHO? The "anybody who didn't vote for Obama is a racist" shtick was tired when it started before the election four years ago, and now that the truth of President Obama's shitty job performance is nigh inescapable, it's even more offensive and openly partisan.

  • $27019454

    Not a Sounthern thing unless u count Southern California. My grandfather, RIP, used the most colorful and descriptive and offensive terms to describe every ethnicity. He was an equal opportunity offender and it was horrifying. He was successful in business till the end and I can only credit his success to his Rotarian-old-boy network circle of associates, all of whom used the same language. He used to use awful terms to describe Jews, and yet his business in particular had a majority of Jewish people in its ranks. His car keychain (Cadillac, natch) was solid gold and had an opulent St Christopher on one side and a beautiful, ornate Star of David on the other. I could never figure him out. His entire legacy puzzles me.

  • POINGjam

    I didn't know Don Rickles was an old man. Thought he just played one on TV.

  • QueeferSutherland

    I'm not racist. My neighbor is black.

    I'd say you'd be amazed at how many times I hear people use phrases like "colored," "the Blacks" and worse. Then I'd tell you I live in Pennsyltucky, and you'd shrug and get back to your coffee.

  • Common Sense

    So, a black comedian comes out and drops the "N" word over and over...everybody laughs. Don Rickles does his schtick (as he has been doing for 50+ years) and the overly PC crowd gets sand in their collective vagina. You douchebags have maxed out the Race Card...get over yourselves.

  • $27019454

    I think actual "common sense" dictates that because an African-American uses the N word does not make it right.. Common sense dicates that racism is racism

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