Corralling the Cable Guy

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?


3 Responses to Corralling the Cable Guy

  1. Christine says:

    Oh boy…this is going to hit the fan I’m afraid. This community in particular, will go crazy if they think that he is insensitive to people with disabilities. I have only seen Larry once on tv and have not seen this part of his bit. It has huge potential to mobilize a lot of people with family members with disabilities. I hope they talk with him and are able to stave it off before it becomes an issue. It would be terrible for it to hit the national stage and for Nebraskans to be perceived as the backwards, insensitive hicks he protrays.

  2. Sean says:

    As Larry often says in interviews, “it’s only a joke.” People get way to offended. Have you heard other comedians? What Larry does is very, very tame. He has 12 year old humor. He says the word retarded. He makes fun of his “family” for either being dumb or “covered in moles”. He talks about people he has dated. (Even though he is married with at least two kids) He seldom ever swears.

    It’s just stupid humor. Funny.

  3. HigherStandards4_Nebraska says:

    I was that caller.

    Thank you for passing along my question to Mayor Beutler. I had also communicated my concerns to Dr. Osborne. He assured me that he and his colleagues are telling Dan Whitney, in no uncertain terms, that he must comply with their request for him to provide a detailed script of his performance to them well in advance of the July 4th performance.

    Anyone who has seen or heard Dan’s comedy are familiar with his frequent references to his retarded neighbor, retarded cousin, etc..

    The timing of all of this in the context of President Obama’s comment about his bowling being on par with that of a special olympian is unfortunate, but we all need to appreciate Dr. Osborne’s insistence on holding Dan to a higher standard.

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