This morning we had a chance to visit with Mayor Chris Beutler about, among other things, the decision to move up the city’s annual Unlcle Sam Jam to July 3rd to make room for Larry the Cable Guy. As we finished up the discussion, we had a caller ask about whether or not the city or University was concerned about Larry’s tendency to joke about people with developmental disabilities. The caller appropriately pointed out that it might not be the best idea for the city or the University to burn any bridges with the folks at the Special Olympics given that both will be getting such a windfall when the Special Olympic Games come to town in 2010.
Since we had already moved on to other subjects during our on-air conversation, I mentioned this to the Mayor during one of the breaks. He then admitted he wasn’t too familiar with Larry’s act (it was shocking to me that Mayor Beutler doesn’t curl up with Delta Farce before bed every night) so he basically asked me whether those jabs were a common part of Larry’s schtick. I indicated that I was only somewhat familiar but that I’d heard him use the “R-word” in previous TV specials.
This got the Mayor thinking and as he’ll often do when John and I suggest issues or ideas to him while he’s in studio, he grabbed a piece of paper and made some notes to himself about this item for future reference. Once we mentioned the connection with the Special Olympics, he seemed genuinely interested in exploring the issue.
Now, I’m not saying there’s any remote possibility that the folks at the Special Olympics could or would fold up their tents and change their mind about Nebraska in 2010, but still, it would be embarassing for them to have to respond to inquiries about a television special airing repeatedly on Comedy Central that includes Larry dropping “R-bombs” with Memorial Stadium and Lincoln as the backdrop. Given the increased importance of the Special Olympic games to this city’s economy after the NSAA inexplicably decided to move state VB to Grand Island, it doesn’t behoove anyone involved to be anywhere but in the good graces of the Special Olympics. That doesn’t even mention the fact that for better or worse, Larry will likely never have seen a live audience with such a high percentage of children in the crowd.
All that said, it makes me wonder if the Mayor and Coach Osborne, assuming they haven’t already, should have a sit-down with Larry’s people and make sure all of his content won’t embarass us on a National Stage. Your thoughts?