Maybe Stephen King should stick to horror after making fun of an Upstate New York city.
The acclaimed writer apologized Tuesday after making fun of Utica last week when Rep. Kevin McCarthy lost multiple rounds of voting before becoming Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“(T)he Speakership is like that old joke: First prize is a week in Utica. Second prize is TWO weeks in Utica,” King tweeted on Friday.
Central New Yorkers, naturally, took offense and flooded his Twitter page with comments about Utica Club beer, tomato pie, chicken riggies, Sangertown Square Mall and more.
“Utica is far from ‘The Dead Zone’ these days Mr. King. Come and see how #OneidaCounty has grown,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. tweeted.
“Mid,” the city of Utica’s official Twitter account wrote.
Some agreed with King. Others had fun with it, poking fun at their local pride.
“Anyone who’s been to Utica knows how funny this is. Anyone who hasn’t is just lucky,” one tweet said.
King eventually realized that it may be OK for people to make jokes about their own hometown, but not for outsiders.
“I sincerely apologize to all the people from Utica I offended. I guess I should have said Cleveland? Or Salt Lake City?” he tweeted, adding a crying-while-laughing emoji.
As you might expect, people who live in Ohio and Utah started responding to him, ready to draw swords.
But the pen is mightier than the sword. King, who lives in Maine, has written more than 60 novels and hundreds of short stories, including “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” “Misery,” “The Green Mile,” “The Dark Tower,” “11/22/63,” “The Running Man” and horror classics like “Carrie,” “It,” “Cujo,” “The Shining,” “Firestarter,” “Thinner,” “Children of the Corn,” and “Pet Sematary.”
It’s unclear what ties he has to Central New York, but the main character in his 1987 sci-fi book “The Tommyknockers” was from Utica. He’s also previously joked about getting the ideas for his stories from the city located 50 miles east of Syracuse.
“Utica,” King said in 2016. “I tell people I go to the used ideas store in Utica.”