Oprah, the Old White Lady, and the Elevator (a TOTALLY True Story)

38th AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Mike Nichols - Show


I know this story is completely true because it happened to my cousin. She’s an elderly woman who is the last person in the world to ever tell a lie, so I can personally vouch for this story’s authenticity.

My cousin and another elderly friend, a woman of 85 years of age, were in Las Vegas staying at the Venetian. They were taking an elevator up to their room, when, before the doors closed in the lobby, an African-American woman and two very large African-American men entered the elevator.

The doors closed.

My cousin and her friend looked at each other nervously. And just then, one of the large black men called out “hit the four” (as in, “press the button for the fourth floor”), but my cousin and her friend misheard it as “hit the floor,” and they both dived to the elevator’s floor in a panic!

Here’s the delightful part: it turned out that the three black people in the elevator were Oprah Winfrey and her two bodyguards! Later that day, while relaxing in their room, my cousin and her friend were visited by federal marshals who arrested them for racial harassment. As they were being led through the Venetian lobby in handcuffs, they saw Oprah holding an international press conference, live via satellite feed to over 50 countries, demanding swift punishment for the two old women who had failed to recognize her and who acted disrespectfully.

My cousin and her friend were sentenced to two years house arrest, with ankle bracelet monitors, and the entire staff of the Venetian was forced to undergo racial sensitivity training. Moreover, the Sands Corporation, owner of the Venetian, settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with Oprah for an undisclosed amount and a promise to install racial sensitivity videos in all of their elevators by the year 2014. President Obama himself apologized to Oprah on behalf of the United States, and he called the elevator incident “a sad, tragic chapter in American race relations.”

My cousin died from a stroke two weeks ago. A lien placed on her estate by Oprah’s lawyers prevented a decent burial.

I love a good anecdote!




(Just a play on the venerable urban legend, re-worded because Oprah’s such a petty, vindictive, victim-mentality drama queen that I’d love to see this version of the legend displace the old one)

4 Responses to “Oprah, the Old White Lady, and the Elevator (a TOTALLY True Story)”
  1. Man, that OPRAH is a B-I-T-C-H! Here in Singapore she’d be flogged!

  2. Westlake says:

    As someone who was told that urban legend decades ago (in its Eddie Murphy form), this is a hilarious sendup, but also a tragic statement on how things are different these days regarding race. It’s almost impossible today to imagine a black celebrity witnessing the elevator mistake and reacting with good humor, rather than whining like a baby and playing the victim. If someone told me the elevator story today, I wouldn’t believe it unless it ended with an angry press conference and an Al Sharpton march for “justice.”

    • Ari Lasser says:

      Good comment, so true. I was told the Eddie Murphy version of that urban legend in the late 1980s. And you’re right, I wouldn’t believe it today because it didn’t involved a black celebrity going to the press screaming “racism.”

  3. Typical Oprah. Always a hypocrite to the end, which hopefully be soon…

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