A joke usually isn’t funny when you have to explain it, but David Letterman’s explanation of his purported joke regarding the impregnation of 14-year-old Willow Palin by Alex Rodriguez during the seventh inning stretch of the Yankee game Governor Palin attended this week is really unfunny:
“We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, the 18-year-old girl, who is – her name is Bristol, that’s right, and so, then, now they’re upset with me…”
“These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. I mean, look at my record. It has never happened. I don’t think it’s funny. I would never think it was funny. I wouldn’t put it in a joke…”
“…Governor Palin, if you’re watching, I would like you to consider coming to New York City – you and Todd as my guests, or leave Todd at home – I’d love to have you on the show. It’d be exciting…”
“All right, so there, I hope I’ve cleared part of this up. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No.”
Alex Rodriguez is a three-time American League most valuable player. This year’s most valuable player, on the Letterman team anyway, is surely the New York Times. Jim Hoft catches the Times expurgating the joke from of its account of Letterman’s monologue on the Times Web site. Dr. Bowdler, expurgation ain’t what it used to be.
JOHN adds: Inasmuch as only Willow accompanied her parents to New York–Bristol was back home in Alaska, evidently–Letterman’s “joke” could only have related to Willow. Not that it makes a lot of difference; is Letterman suggesting the crack would have been just fine if made about an 18-year-old? He is, as Sarah Palin described him, “pathetic.”
UPDATE: Dan Riehl notes that CBS altered the Letterman transcript, not the Times.