Elections

Comedy Central offers its take on Pat McCrory's controversial comments on race

Comedy Central took some satirical swipes Tuesday night at former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory for his controversial comments about the lack of "diversity" in Charlotte-Mecklenburg now that — for the first time — African-Americans hold all the top government posts.

On "The Opposition with Jordan Klepper," which airs at 11:30 p.m. on the humor cable channel, host Klepper, who's white, offered McCrory a tongue-in-cheek salute for being "brave enough to find oppression where nobody else sees it."

Klepper, a former correspondent on Comedy Central's better-known "Daily Show," pretended to speak up for Republican McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor who said on his WBT radio show last week that Charlotte-Mecklenburg is now "a very segregated city and county" because white Republicans no longer occupy any of the government posts.

With fake terror in his voice, Klepper addressed his audience:

"I know this is hard for my non-white viewers to understand, but how would you feel if your elected officials didn't look like you? Or if they hadn't looked like you for as long as you can remember, which in this instance is like a whole week?"

Former governor Pat McCrory is questioning the influence of the Black Political Caucus in Charlotte.

When McCrory was elected to the first of his seven terms as Charlotte mayor in 1995, whites held every one of the top local government posts.

In last week's Democratic primary, Mecklenburg voters elected the county's first black sheriff (Garry McFadden) and first black district attorney (Spencer Merriweather) — neither Democrat has GOP opposition in November. And last year, Charlotte elected Democrat Vi Lyles mayor. She's the first African-American woman to hold that post.

In comments to his mostly conservative white listeners on WBT, McCrory argued that getting an endorsement from the local Black Political Caucus was increasingly a ticket to getting elected.

Comedy Central ran WBTV clips of McCrory, then one of Arthur Griffin, chair of the caucus. Griffin accused McCrory of sending coded warnings to the GOP base about the rising influence of the caucus and black voters.

McCrory has said his purpose was to to actually compliment the caucus on its effectiveness as a grassroots organization.

But comedian Klepper, carrying through on the joke, suggested there may be something sinister in "a group of people (like the caucus) organizing to elect candidates they support."

Then Klepper offered McCrory a sendoff that flipped a famous phrase from the civil rights movement:

"Thanks, Pat. We know the libs are trying to push this thing called 'progress.' But you shall overcome."

Tim Funk: 704-358-5703; @timfunk
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