Jake Tapper Talked Jimmy Kimmel Out of Santorum-Stillborn Joke

Jim Romenesko.com reports that at least one joke ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel planned for the White House Correspondents Dinner was deemed unacceptable for the political elite. In an interview on Howard Stern’s satellite radio show, Kimmel said he ran jokes by ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper and other reporters.

Tapper & Co. flagged a joke about Newt Gingrich’s campaign being so dead Rick Santorum wanted to show it to his kids – a play on the Santorum family’s decision to show their stillborn son Gabriel to his brothers and sisters:


KIMMEL: I had some jokes about — like Rick Santorum. I said something like — well, I didn’t say it, but: Newt Gingrich’s campaign is so dead Mitt Romney wants to baptize it and Rick Santorum wants to put it in a jar and show it to his kids.

STERN: You didn’t want any abortion jokes? [It's not an abortion joke, it's a mockery of pro-lifers.]

KIMMEL: People went like, uh-oh. I ran it by people who go to this thing.

STERN: Who do you run it by?

KIMMEL: There’s a guy named Jake Tapper at ABC News, I ran jokes by him. He’s been there a lot of times. There are a few other people — reporters.

Tapper confirmed to Dylan Stableford at the Yahoo! blog The Ticket that he helped Kimmel:

“I tried to help Jimmy with the temperature of the room. And yes, I thought that joke would cause the room to turn against him, perhaps even causing a stampede, with the Hilton getting in on the tar and feather concession. Seeking to spare him a Rich Little-like reception, I offered my suggestions–such as they are–as to which jokes might bomb.”

Kimmel joked to Stern that he also cut anti-Obama jokes, since "I decided right off the bat that the N-word was out." Stern replied: "That's not like you. You use the N-word every night in your monologue at least twice." Both men laughed.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis