Kinky Friedman Shows His Commitment to the Environment by Recycling Jokes

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To review: Kinky Friedman of Texas, country singer turned mystery novelist turned gubernatorial candidate, got some bad press last month when someone dug up a line from a stand-up routine he did in 1980:

Then I come down to Houston, I went to a bowling alley. I couldn't go bowling, there were no bowling balls. The people here throw 'em all in the sea—they thought they were nigger eggs.

As I noted in my column last week, that's an anti-racist joke, not a racist joke. What I didn't note was that it sounded awfully familiar. I couldn't think of where I'd heard it before, and I figured I had probably come across the same Friedman routine at some point in the distant past. But now reader Stewart Lollar writes to suggest that Friedman lifted it from Hunter S. Thompson, who opened his famous Rolling Stone endorsement of Jimmy Carter with the same story.

I looked it up, and sure enough, there it was:

This news just came over the radio, followed by a song about "faster horses, younger women, older whiskey and more money…" and then came a news item about a Polish gentleman who was arrested earlier today for throwing "more than two dozen bowling balls into the sea off a pier in Fort Lauderdale" because, he told arresting officers, "he thought they were nigger eggs."

So when Thompson told it, it was a Polish joke, but Friedman washed out the ethnic angle. Chew on that: Kinky Friedman made it more P.C.

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