Off-color jokes on ''Letterman'' and ''Leno.'' Both opt for different ways of dealing with the on-air mishap

By Lynette Rice and Brian M. Raftery
Updated April 05, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
David Letterman, Late Show With David Letterman
Credit: David Letterman: JP Filo

So who’s more politically correct, Jay Leno or David Letterman? On the March 25 ”Late Show,” when Letterman asked writer-actress Amy Sedaris about the previous night’s Oscars, she replied, ”Oh, you mean ‘Showtime at the Apollo’?” — a remark cut from the broadcast. (Reps for ”Late Show” and Sedaris declined to comment.) But on the same night, Arsenio Hall joked to Leno: ”Oscar is actually a Swahili word that means ‘Showtime at the Apollo.”’ That comment was aired — as was an even more eyebrow-raising joke on NBC’s ”The Colin Quinn Show” that night from a white comic identified only as Nick during a mixed-race panel: ”The last time I saw that many black people with gold in their hands, they were running out of the front of the doors of Zales during the L.A. riots.” (NBC had no comment; Quinn was unavailable.) Guess the Peacock isn’t afraid of showing its off-color feathers.

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