Flannery: "Rosa bites."
Out of Cincinnati Public Schools last weekend, a reminder that politicians and humor are a dangerous mix.
Former stand-up comedian and CPS board member Michael Flannery agreed to do a comedy routine at a fundraiser for Walnut Hills High School last Saturday.
According to several witnesses, during his performance, an audience member asked him why he was wearing a protective ankle brace. In the midst of a comedy routine, Flannery responded:
"I came to find that, in fact, Rosa bites."
The insinuation that Superintendent Rosa Blackwell, who's had her fair share of disagreements with the school board over the years, had something to do with his injury, got a big laugh.
But when discussing the act today, Flannery wouldn't confirm he made the joke at all.
"Anybody who saw the show heard everything I said," he said. "If it's in print, it's not going to work. It would be misunderstood."
CPS spokeswoman Janet Walsh said she'd ask Blackwell if she wanted to respond, but doubted, while laughing, that she'd have anything to say.
For his part, Flannery said the show went well, and thinks comedy could be a winning fundraiser for more schools. However, he was clearly concerned his joke, transmitted out of the comedy context, could hurt his relationship with Blackwell.
"I'm not a politician," he said. "Is it my fault that they elected a comic? I never said I was a politician."