Thursday, February 01, 2007

Another Clinton, another cigar

Let's clear up a misconception.

Hillary Clinton did not make a joke about her husband last Sunday in Iowa.

The audience made up its own joke.

Senator Clinton repeated a question from a man in the audience, because the man didn't have a microphone and not everyone could hear him.

"Question was," the senator said, "What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"

The audience erupted in laughter, and Hillary Clinton laughed with them. And this wasn't just a laugh. This was a roaring, rolling, pound-on-the-floor laugh for a full thirty seconds. The longer the audience thought about it, the funnier they thought it was.

George Burns once explained the secret of his unsurpassed comedy timing by holding up his cigar. "When they laugh, I smoke," he said. "When they stop laughing, I talk."

Thank goodness Hillary Clinton didn't have a cigar or that audience might have ruptured something.

This is not the first time an audience has made up its own joke about Bill Clinton. The former president was recently a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres show, where he made an innocent comment about wanting to watch Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith on Dancing with the Stars. "I'm always interested in people who can multi-task," he said.

The studio audience burst into giggles.

But Ellen DeGeneres didn't leave the former president hanging out there while the audience laughed at him. She slipped in one quick line ("Well, you certainly do that") and then talked over the audience laughter, bringing the giggles to a premature halt.

Mrs. Clinton certainly didn't do that.

If audiences want to roar with laughter at the mental image of Bill Clinton in the Oval Office without his pants, it's okay with her.

Copyright 2007

Editor's note: You can see the video here on YouTube; at this link it's about 1:54 into the clip. You might also be interested in the earlier post, "Ellen DeGeneres lets Bill Clinton live."