"People do not go to South Beach to see Mickey Mouse. They just don't," said state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Ft. Lauderdale) yesterday during a debate on her bill that would bring casinos to South Florida. "They go there for different reasons. We have the strip club capital of the world in Tampa. I hate to say it out loud, but we do. We have not ruined our family-friendly image."
We've never heard this claim that Tampa, of all places, is the strip club capital of the entire world. Turns out Bogdanoff got her facts wrong. Its not even the strip club capital of Florida. That title of course belongs to Miami-Dade.
So where did she hear this from? Apparently comedian Chris Rock.
Someone at PolitiFact decided to run Bogdanoff's claim through the Truth-o-Meter. Turns out there's no reliable or easily accessible database of strip clubs, but PolitiFact found that there's only about 20 joints that could be considered strip clubs in the City of Tampa, and just 30 in the entire Tampa Bay area.
To put that in perspective Miami-Dade has about 30, and taken together with Broward, South Florida has 50.
That's, of course, to say nothing about the size and quality of these places. Surely, a King of Diamonds must be worth about ten Tampa strip clubs.
PolitiFact than wondered if perhaps Tampa ruled supreme in the "strip clubs per capita" category. Turns out they're only third in the world.
So where was Bogdanoff getting her information? From Chris Rock.
"In the words of noted urban planner Chris Rock, Tampa is the 'strip club capital of the world,'" wrote GQ last year.
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"Speaking of needing some rest, Chris Rock (who has joked Tampa is the strip club capital of the world) was spotted at 2001 Odyssey on Dale Mabry," wrote the Tampa Bay Times in 2008.
We're not 100 percent sure whether the title originated with Rock, but the Times reported that he cracked the joke while doing a show in Tampa back in 2008: "I hear this is the strip club capital of the world. They teach you pole dancing in the third grade."
Though it appears both Bogdanoff and Rock are wrong. Tampa is not the strip club capital of the world.