It's confession time.
I'm the reporter who called Fourth Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle "humorless." Actually, it was even worse. I called her "utterly humorless."
OK, now that I have that off my conscience, let me explain.
Sun-Times columnist Laura "The Fat Nag" Washington brought this up in her recent interview with Preckwinkle, in which they discussed the alderman's candidacy for president of the Cook County board.
Washington asked Preckwinkle for her reaction to the fact that "a reporter once called her humorless." To which Preckwinkle laughed and said: "That's pretty funny. That's a reflection of people who don't know me."
My analysis of Preckwinkle came in a profile of the City Council that I wrote with Mick Dumke almost two years ago. So you could say that Mick called her humorless as well. But Mick, bravely standing up for the principles of accuracy and integrity, tells me I made him do it.
It's true, I like an alderman who can tell a good joke. Alderman Joe Moore can be quite the quipster, and Mick says alderman Howard Brookins is a hoot when he gets going. But we haven't had a great joke teller in the council since Brendan Reilly (who's not known for his humor) ousted Burt Natarus in 2007.
I called Preckwinkle to own up for calling her humorless. Guess what? She laughed--yes, laughed--and said, "Laura Washington put that to me and I said, 'What do you want me to do, tell a joke?'"
Yes, I said--tell a joke.
So she launched into a scatological screamer about the time a priest, a rabbi, a minister, and two sheep walked into a bar ...
Not really. I just wish she did. Preckwinkle actually declined the chance to tell a funny.
I told her she should learn to tell jokes if she had any hopes of impressing a new countywide constituency. She laughed some more.
So I have a suggestion that's sure to tickle her even more: she should call Natarus and ask him to tell her the thigh slapper about the husband, the wife, and their French chauffeur.