The rodeo clown who set off a mini-firestorm and was banned for life from performing at the Missouri State Fair says he would like to shake President Obama’s hand — and has received death threats. Two things: a)his comments enhance the argument that he himself didn’t mean it to be taken in the way the bit seemed to be hyped up by the announcer and taken by the crowd, and, b)it underscores how delicate it is for entertainers who venture into the political realms at fairs — which do not want to anger customers of any political party or group.
The Missouri rodeo clown who came under fire for donning a mask of President Obama during his act earlier this month said he hopes to one day shake the president’s hand.
In an interview with KCTV, Tuffy Gessling said that his act wasn’t racially motivated.
“I never did anything because of anybody’s race. I don’t care what color somebody is. If they’re blue, white, green, polka dotted, striped … it doesn’t bother me one bit,” he said.
He also said he was surprised at the reaction to the routine, in which an announcer asked if the crowd wanted to see the president “run down by a bull.”
The act was condemned by Missouri lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
“I actually think that a lot of people have lost their ability to laugh,” Gessling said. “Look at the country as a whole. There is a lot more to be mad at than a rodeo clown at a rodeo trying to make somebody laugh.”
He said that he had received death threats but will be participating in an upcoming rodeo in Jefferson City, Mo.
“If President Obama turns out, I would be honored to shake his hand,” Gessling said
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.