Late-night shows roast Donald Sterling to varied success


Donald Sterling. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Late-night talk show hosts took aim at the Donald Sterling controversy Monday night, peppering their monologues with comparisons to other famous figures who’ve been associated with racism.

“Late Show” host David Letterman joked: “It must be terribly embarrassing for this guy to be identified as the owner of the Clippers… Earlier today he was rushed to the Paula Deen rehab facility in Georgia.”

Jimmy Fallon of the “Tonight Show” quipped of Sterling: “This guy is in trouble. Even Mel Gibson was like, ‘Just stop talking.’ ”

Conan O’Brien said on his eponymous talk show: “It’s being reported that the girlfriend of Donald Sterling may have 100 more hours of his racist audio. Or, as Rush Limbaugh calls that, ‘A month’s worth of talk radio.’ ”

O’Brien also brought up another high-profile Republican: “Today, in an interview, Donald Trump called Donald Sterling’s remarks disgusting and his girlfriend ‘a terrible human being.’ Trump then said, ‘That’s why I’ve asked them both join the next season of ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ ‘ ” Then he took things up a notch with a segment called “This Week in Racism with Deon Cole.”

Arsenio Hall took a different angle on the controversy, snapping a photo of himself with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Sterling to poke fun of Sterling’s aversion associated with black people publicly.

Then Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers opted for the low-hanging fruit of racism jokes: “Sterling insists that he is not a racist — he says some of his best credit cards are black,” Kimmel said.

And Meyers advised Sterling: “If you dislike black people so much, it seems you got into the wrong line of work. If you had wanted to stay away from black people, you could have bought a hockey team or Steely Dan.” (Incidentally, an L.A. Times columnist made a similar joke about Sterling, hockey and white people on Saturday.)

Craig Ferguson may have avoided the obvious, deciding instead to throw shade at L.A.’s other NBA team: “Every NBA fan in L.A. knows there is a dark cloud hanging over the Staples Center, but enough about the Lakers.”

Taking the crown in well-rounded critiques, was Jon Stewart, who effectively weaved together last week’s Supreme Court decision to allow states to drop their affirmative action programs with the Sterling scandal. The result is a brilliant takedown of pretty much the whole nation when it comes to race relations:

(H/t: Hollywood Reporter)

More on Donald Sterling and the Clippers:

How the ‘nuclear option’ could work with Sterling

Mark Jackson: Fans should protest Game 5

Donald Trump says Sterling’s girlfriend set him up

Sterling costs Clippers a bevy of sponsors

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.

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Ishaan Tharoor · April 29, 2014

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