During an appearance on Howard Stern's Sirius XM show this week, Jimmy Kimmel said ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper steered him away from delivering an "abortion joke" at this month's White House Correspondent's Association Dinner:
STERN: You didn’t want any abortion jokes?
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.
The edgy line was a reference to Rick Santorum's family bringing home their miscarried fetus from the hospital years ago, so it's not actually an abortion joke, it's a miscarriage joke. Kimmel said the line went something like: "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."
We asked Tapper, who's no comedy lightweight when it comes to his Twitter feed, if he indeed steered Kimmel away from the joke. In an email, he responded,
"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."
We'll never know how the joke would've played in DC, but it's historically clear that certain "joke" topics don't tend to go over that well.
For more of Tapper and Kimmel's WHCD synergy, watch this clip of the two hashing out Kimmel's comedic strategy ahead of WHCD: