How many times have you watched one of the modern world’s supposed comedy geniuses and wondered frustratedly to yourself, “Why are all the jokes about Republicans? When are they going to catch on that the Democrats are worthy of mockery, too?” Well, look no further – Hollywood comedian Don Rickles, who roasted Ronald Reagan to his face while Reagan was still governor of California – is apparently more than willing to be an equal opportunity offender. From the Hollywood Reporter:
Don Rickles nearly hijacked the American Film Institute’s tribute to Shirley MacLaine on Thursday night at Sony Pictures Studios, unleashing a trademark barrage of insults that took aim at President Obama, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and the honoree herself.
“I shouldn’t make fun of the blacks,” Rickles said, and then proceeded to do just that: “President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke.”
The black-tie crowd, gathered to celebrate MacLaine, the 40th recipient of the AFI’s Life Achievement Award, alternately gasped at the 86-year-old comic’s put-downs and then found themselves laughing and applauding.
Now, ordinarily one might expect this sort of thing to be a career ending move. But Rickles is 86 years old, and his career has long since passed into the lore of Hollywood. He is literally too well-regarded among his fellow entertainers to be at all damaged, which means that unlike so many other Hollywood denizens, he can focus on what’s funny regardless of who it offends.
And for those who immediately want to scream “racism” over Rickles’ comments, you can watch his roast of Ronald Reagan below. Note that Rickles was just as un-PC when taking on the then-Governor, which was doubly impressive because Reagan was sitting right next to him (and guffawing all the way through it). If anyone’s earned the right to pick on whoever he likes, it’s Don Rickles: