Back when the only things that got “cancelled” were network TV shows and print magazine subscriptions, Whoopi Goldberg nearly had her career derailed in 2004 by telling a joke.
The onstage rant, about then-President George W. Bush, was delivered at a New York City fundraiser for then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The joke was never transcribed, but it was described in the lead of a New York Post article the next day:
“Whoopi Goldberg delivered an X-rated rant full of sexual innuendoes against President Bush last night at a Radio City gala that raised $7.5 million for the newly minted Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards,” wrote Deborah Orin. “Waving a bottle of wine, she fired off a stream of vulgar sexual wordplays on Bush’s name de ella in a riff about female genitalia, and boasted that she’d refused to let Team Kerry clear her material de ella.”
That was more than enough for the morality police of the Early Aughts.
According to The New York Times Magazine, “Goldberg’s career went dark. SlimFast, the diet-in-a-can brand for whom Goldberg had been the spokeswoman, dropped her. Friends stopped associating with her in public. She was disinvited from the Democratic National Convention.”
And for the next 18 years, the actual contents of the joke would remain in the dark – until now. In his research for a recent interview with Goldberg, the magazine found a transcript.
And here it is:
“When Bush comes to shove, don’t whine. Vote Kerry. And that’s why I’m here tonight. Because I love bush. But someone’s giving bush a bad name. Someone has tarnished the name of bush. Someone has waged war, someone has deliberately misled the country, someone has attempted to amend the Constitution, all in the name of bush. The bush I know and cherish would never do such things. My bush is smarter than that. And if my bush is smarter than that, you can understand just how dumb I think that other bush is. Vote your heart and mind, and keep bush where it belongs.”
For Goldberg, who has seen her share of controversies as a host of “The View” – including a recent suspension from the ABC show for her comments about the Holocaust – and elsewhere, it was a vindicating find.
“You know why they couldn’t print what I said?” Goldberg told NYTM. “Because I didn’t say anything that was bad.”
Welcome to 2022, whoopi. Not even the names have changed.