Political Rants Lead to Chaos at Comics Come Home in Boston

Wanda Sykes was booed, Nick DiPaolo called someone a 'Peabody Jew.'

Wanda Sykes during the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony, Saturday, July 4, 2015, in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The event marks the 50th anniversary of a protest outside Independence Hall that would be a milestone in the fight for gay rights. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Photo via AP.

Political rants about president-elect Donald Trump from comedians Wanda Sykes and Nick DiPaolo this weekend led to chaos at a cancer benefit at the TD Garden.

Here’s what happened. Sykes—a comedian who is also a black lesbian woman—did not hold back expressing her outrage at the election of Republican Donald Trump during her set at Comics Come Home, which benefits the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care.

Things went off the rails a bit a few minutes into her set, in which she said the country had just elected “a racist, sexist, homophobic president.”

Booing ensued, and she responded by waving around her middle finger and cursing out audience members before walking off stage. The exchange earned Sykes a spot on the front page of Sunday’s Herald.

Next up came comic and conservative provocateur Nick DiPaolo, who declared his support for Trump, while also dishing out some harsh jokes about raping women in Boston (it’s harder to run away on cobblestones, he says), mutilating Hillary Clinton, and targeting those who support cancer survivors, according to accounts from audience members. Some outraged fans apparently walked out of the Garden. And when a woman rushed the stage to confront DiPaolo about all this, he called her a “Peabody Jew.” DiPaolo is from Danvers.

There was outrage aplenty on social media, and Denis Leary, the local comedian and TV star who hosted the event, responded to the controversy by saying the longtime charity benefit has a history of never telling its performers what they can or can’t say, no matter how repugnant their material.

“For 22 years, we have never censored any performer at Comics Come Home,” Leary said in a statement to the Globe.

DiPaolo, meanwhile, told the Herald he took issue with Sykes’ performance and said the booing was her own fault.

“She just kept digging a deeper hole for herself. It was making my blood boil. There’s a segment — and they were there last night — who don’t agree with what she was saying. It was a little too soon to take such a stance,” he told the paper, adding, “You have to be funny first.”

Sykes by Monday at noon had not addressed the incident.

Also on the list of performers at the benefit this weekend was Bill Burr, the comic whose response to Trump’s surprise election during an appearance with Conan O’Brien was shared widely online.