SMH… Being an old head is no excuse to make racist jokes. But it seems like 89-year-old comedian Don Rickles didn’t get the memo.
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.
“Shirley,” Rickles, living up to his moniker as Mr. Warmth, began as he rose to his feet from a table near the center of the room. “I never read your books, and I don’t plan to.”
Turning to MacLaine’s brother Beatty, he continued, “I know your brother very well, and I never liked him.”
Shifting his focus to Nicholson, who also was present, Rickles cracked, “He’s not here tonight – he’s with the Lakers, oiling their jocks.”
Taking aim at Jennifer Aniston, one of the actresses who shared the main table with MacLaine, Rickles claimed she “took my table at the Tower Restaurant one night because she was in heat with some guy.”
Surveying the celebrity-packed room, Rickles wondered where all the stars were, saying, “If Sidney Poitier hadn’t shown up, they’d be nobody.” Spotting Dennis Haysbert, on whose series The Unit Rickles had appeared, he shouted, “Oh, there’s the black guy from The Unit,” adding, “now he works for Allstate.”
What the hell??? Did this guy forget to take his meds or does he just think he’s still living in 1954? This isn’t acceptable whatsoever. How did they even let him get hold of the mic without pre-approving his jokes?
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