FRANKFORT — A Southern humorist and political candidate who angered Appalachian residents with jokes they considered offensive won't be allowed to sell CDs in a state park in Kentucky's hill country.
The Kentucky Department of Parks ordered recordings of comic-turned-politician Robert Farmer off the shelves at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park late Tuesday.
Farmer, who is running for the elected office of agriculture commissioner, drew no laughs from mountaineers with a stand-up routine that stereotypes them as toothless, inbred and living in a place "where cars are up on blocks and houses are on wheels."
Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson called on Gov. Steve Beshear, who is up for re-election, to order the CDs removed from the park gift shop. The Department of Parks had the material removed shortly afterward.
Never miss a local story.
"Why in the world would the Beshear administration allow this man to peddle his bigotry through the state parks?" Robertson asked. "You can't condemn the man's jokes and promote them at the same time."
Farmer, a Louisville marketing consultant and comedian, had no immediate comment. His campaign spokesman Brian Wright said the issue was political.
"He has a commanding lead in the polls," Wright said of Farmer. "And this attack is just another desperate attempt to salvage our opponent's losing campaign."
Farmer faces Republican James Comer, a longtime state lawmaker and farmer from Tompkinsville, in the Nov. 8 election.
Department of Parks spokesman Gil Lawson said the decision to pull the CDs was made by consensus at management level in Frankfort because Farmer is a candidate for elected office.
"Local gift shop managers routinely make choices on the products offered in park gift shops," Lawson said. "Mr. Farmer's CDs have been on sale at the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park gift shop for some time, and that is the only state park gift shop where they are sold."
In a video clip distributed online by the Comer campaign earlier this year, Farmer joked that people in Eastern Kentucky don't trust him because he has shoes on and has all his teeth.
In the stand-up routine recorded in Indiana, Farmer joked that the FBI won't conduct investigations in one mountain county "cause all the DNA is alike and there ain't no dental records."