David Letterman’s “Bristol” Joke

For those confused by my post, “Jeep People are Disgusting”, it was a joke. I was as both poking fun at the Jeep culture–known for its snobs as much as any other–and at the ridiculous anger directed at SUVs like Jeeps from Prius drivers. I thought that the article was so ridiculous there was no way anybody could take it seriously, but I was wrong. If you didn’t get the joke, reread the article, and if you still don’t get it, my bad.

(This is much the same as with my Maddox article. I allege in the article that Maddox is a chauvinist, a terrible writer, that his work isn’t satire, and that his last several articles suck. Only one of the above is an opinion I hold. See if you can figure out which one is the real truth.)

Nevermind that. The airwaves are alive with yet another non-event, in this case regarding David Letterman and a comment regarding Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol.

To start with, the full video of the joke (information quoted, feel free to skim over it if you’ve already heard):

Since this joke aired, Sarah Palin has alleged that Letterman is making a joke about rape. Specifically, she is claiming that Letterman is actually referring to Palin’s younger, fourteen-year-old daughter, because her younger daughter was the only one that was with Palin at the Yankees game. Palin’s eighteen year old daughter-who wasn’t with her–was the one who’s known for promiscuity in the general media.

Now, I would like to give some thoughts from my position as a humorist (well, an attempted humorist) on this site.

To begin with, I think it’s quite clear that Letterman isn’t referring to Palin’s younger, fourteen-year-old daughter.

I make this assumption because the joke itself is stupid. I doubt Letterman knew which daughters were with Palin at the time, and I don’t think he and his writers really cared. I think it’s obvious that it was just an easy jab that Letterman was eager to grab for all it was worth.

On the other hand, I argue that the joke is also shit. I’m not sure if Letterman should issue an apology, but I think this joke and many others are clear evidence that he’s not funny anymore. This is much the same as when Don Imus made his “nappy-headed hos” comment, or when the “Kramer” guy made his “niggers” rant. The failure wasn’t in the content, the failure was in the delivery. It was lame.

The joke was unfunny to the point of blandness. It says something about David Letterman’s joke-telling ability when a joke about impregnating a teenage girl is considered bland.

I am offended by the joke first and foremost because it was unfunny and boring, bland drivel, not because it is “sexist” or “perverted” or any of the other bullshit Palin’s putting out there. If Letterman it fired for this joke, it should be because the joke is proof that he’s phoning this shit in and doesn’t even care about being funny anymore.

Your thoughts.