NO ONE ever said it was easy cracking a witty well-timed joke, the kind that can make a roomful of mildly inebriated people laugh, really laugh.
Proof of this fact can be found at the annual Stu Bykofsky Candidates' Comedy Night, where pols take a break from their sometimes unintentionally funny day jobs to try - emphasis here on try - to crack wise for a good cause.
The event, now in its 22nd year, has raised about $475,000 for Variety, The Children's Charity, which helps sick and disadvantaged kids in the Delaware Valley.
Last night's show, held at Finnigan's Wake, on Spring Garden Street near 3rd, offered the usual mix of awkward pauses, mixed metaphors and sex jokes.
The evening's biggest laugh belonged, as usual, to professional comedian Joe Conklin, who noted that dancers from Club Risque were on hand, helping out with the show. "Good to see someone here with bigger t--- than Bob Brady," Conklin said, to roaring laughter.
The Democratic congressman gave Conklin the finger. Brady fared pretty well during his stand-up routine, imagining Bykofsky and some older pals grousing about problems going to the bathroom. The only guy who went to the bathroom regularly was Bykofsky, Brady said – before he woke up each morning. Hey-oh!
John Featherman, Brady's Republican opponent in the upcoming election, cracked a series of ethnic jokes that played off the fact that he married an Asian woman. The one that drew the biggest laughs involved a sexual position and take-out food and ... well, 'nuff said.
Mummer, lawyer and Democratic congressional candidate George Badey channeled Rodney Dangerfield while riffing childhood in South Philly: "I asked a cop how long it takes to get to the subway," Badey said, "and he says, 'I don't know. No one's ever made it.'"
Badey's Republican incumbent opponent, U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, referred to Mummers as a bunch of guys who dance around while wearing rouge, red lipstick and tight pants with sequins.
"George," Meehan said, "J. Edgar Hoover's already done that."
More than a few jokes from the candidates fell completely flat.
Democratic attorney general candidate Kathleen Kane made one such ill-fated joke when she tried to make a funeral joke out of the name of Finnegan's Wake.
"Oh, this is going to be long," she sighed. "That was my best one."