Rahm Gives Profanity Lessons

The White House Chief of Staff teaches his own special sign language to Second City comedian.

By Andrew Greiner
|  Tuesday, Aug 11, 2009  |  Updated 10:50 AM EDT
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Rahm Emanuel is a freaking artist.

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Rahm Emanuel has something of a reputation for, shall we say, colorful language.

Even the president jokes about White House Chief of Staff’s foul mouth. But Emanuel isn’t limited to oral profanity. He can swear in sign language, too.

But in his own special way.

Rahm helped Second City actor Seth Weitberg --- who plays Emanuel in the improv troupe’s production of “Barack Stars,” which closed last night after a run in D.C.’s Wooly Mammoth Theater --- nail his version of profane sign language.

During a photo-op after the show, Emanuel requested that he and Weitberg take one while flipping the bird to the camera.

Turns out, it’s a move Weitberg -- who does a spot on impression of the White House enforcer – can’t pull off. Emanuel is missing that digit.

Emanuel’s right middle finger fell victim to an Arby’s meat slicer when Emanuel was running it as a teenager. The finger got infected and doctors had to amputate.

"Of all the fingers to lose,” Emanuel once said.  “I could not express myself for months. I had to learn to talk with my left hand."

It doesn’t stop him from trying. Plus, most people who see the half-an-index finger waving at them can easily discern the message because it’s followed by F-bombs and political threats.
 

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