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High-Fives and Dope Slaps: Analyzing the St. Patrick’s Day political roast

Posted by Alex Pearlman  March 21, 2012 06:30 PM

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elizabeth warren funny face.jpgBy Jeff Fish

It’s always a high-five when politicians make fun of themselves and each other. There was no shortage of that this year’s annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, so let's spend this week’s column breaking down some of the jokes they told, as reported by the Boston Globe. Each politician's jokes will receive either a high-five or a dope slap, with a "winner" crowned at the end.

Scott BrownThe freshman Republican senator running for reelection was apparently well received with his elitist jokes about Elizabeth Warren, but I didn’t think they were all that funny. “I hope you didn’t get lost leaving Cambridge again today,” he told her, following with a joke that Warren insisted to him that she’s not an elitist and “[betting] a bottle of Dom Perignon that’s not true.” Those jokes are as tired as I am of candidates using the elitist label in general. Those who hold political office should be among the elite because we need intelligent people to lead our country.

Brown also joked about Sal DiMasi and John Kerry both spending a lot of time in Rhode Island -- the former because he's in jail there, the latter because he tried to register his yacht in Rhode Island instead of Massachusetts. Brown then said to Robert DeLeo, state speaker of the house, “because until you hear the words, ‘You have the right to remain silent,’ they don’t know if you’re the speaker. So, good luck with that.” I guess that’s kind of funny, but it's not LOL-worthy.

Brown's best zingers were actually aimed at fellow Republicans Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Brown said his famous pickup truck has 230,000 miles on it, but “Gov. Romney was nice enough to give me one of his Cadillacs, so we’re all set.” But his joke about Santorum probably made me laugh the most out of any of the ones I heard: Brown commented that Newt Gingrich and Santorum, the latter of whom has seven kids, are both receiving Secret Service protection. “In Santorum’s case, I think it’s the first time he’s ever actually used protection,” he said. For that joke alone, I have to give Brown a high-five.

Elizabeth Warren. I must say, all of the jokes I heard from Warren were high-five-worthy. First, she made fun of Brown’s barn jacket, saying she heard it cost $600. “Wow, here’s a guy who could use a consumer advocate,” she said.

Warren kept Brown as her target when joking that things change fast in politics: “One day, Scott Brown is a centerfold for Cosmopolitan," she said. "The next day, he’s a poster boy for Goldman Sachs.” Ouch.

Warren also poked fun at the fact that Brown and Romney are good looking. “Where do Republicans find these good-looking guys?" she asked. "Is it the L.L. Bean catalogue or what? It’s hard on folks like me.” There's nothing like self-degrading humor.

Joe Kennedy III. The 31-year-old grandson of Bobby Kennedy, who is running to replace Barney Frank in the 4th Congressional District, is the only politician receiving a dope slap this week. Kennedy made a joke about his youth, saying “I’m very sorry to be late; my mom made me promise to clean my room before I came.” Lame.

First of all, it’s not unheard of for someone his age to run for Congress. Second of all, he’s a Kennedy. With all that history, he couldn’t come up with something about his family? I know he’s trying to run as his own man and downplay the name, but c’mon. This time, he missed a golden opportunity.

Tim MurrayLast but not least, the lieutenant governor showed up to the event in a crash helmet and a racing jacket, as a nod to his car accident last November; Murray wrecked his car while going 108 miles per hour, supposedly surveying storm damage. Clearly, the only way to survive something like that politically is to make fun of it. He said that organizers allowed him to speak first because he had to be in Holyoke (about a two-hour drive from Boston) in 15 minutes. Murray then joked that he signed an executive order raising the speed limit to 108 miles per hour, which was a little cheesy but still funny, and that NASCAR racer Danica Patrick was not in the car with him, but in the pace car in front of him. I don’t follow racing, so I’m indifferent to that one.

And the winner is...Elizabeth Warren. None of her jokes that I heard of fell flat for me. They were smart and punchy, and the joke about Brown being the poster boy for Goldman Sachs could be useful in her stump speech. Brown wins best joke with the Santorum contraception comment, but Warren was the most consistently funny.

Who do you think had the funniest jokes at the St. Patrick's Day Breakfast?

'High-Fives and Dope Slaps' is TNGG Boston's weekly politics column, written by Jeff Fish.

Photo by New America Foundation (Flickr)

About Jeff -- I'm a senior at Suffolk University, majoring in journalism and political science. I'm the editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, The Suffolk Journal, and I did a six-month co-op at The Boston Globe. I love politics, reading, movies, TV, and anything pop culture. My mind is a font of useless knowledge.

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