Irish tenor Ronan Tynan has become a Yankee Stadium staple during the playoffs, singing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning, but the New York Daily News has details on why he won’t be at the ALCS opener tonight:
His attempt at telling a joke offended a Jewish doctor who found it to be anti-Semitic. Tynan apologized, telling WNBC, “I would never want to hurt anybody’s feelings. It was stupid of me to be so callous.” But the Yankees still canceled his appearance at the stadium Friday night.
The trouble started when Tynan, 49, bumped into a real estate agent showing an apartment in his East Side apartment building to a doctor from NYU Medical Center. The agent told Tynan, “Don’t worry, they are not Red Sox fans,” according to apartment-hunter Gabrielle Gold-von Simson. “I don’t care about that, as long as they are not Jewish,” was Tynan’s reply.
NBCNewYork.com has a few more details, including Tynan replying that Jewish women who’d previously looked at the apartment were “scary” when asked to explain what he’d just said. Tynan has since issued several apologies, including the always amusing “a lot of my friends are Jewish” with the added twist of “there are three members of my band that are Jewish … I call them my brothers from another mother.”
What lessons can we learn from the situation? Well, for starters there’s a reason why Irish tenors aren’t known for their comedy chops. Beyond that, I’ve generally found that trying to make an off-color joke in front of someone with a hyphen in their last name is a mistake. And lastly, trotting out the old “but some of my best friends are [fill in the blank]!” quasi-apology has never, in the history of mankind, come off as sincere.