Monday, December 15, 2008

Gov. Paterson not amused by SNL skit  


SNL recently poked fun at New York governor David Paterson, and he is not amused. Predominantly, his beef is over the fact that they blatantly made fun of his blindness. I can't say I'm surprised that he found it distasteful. His exact comment was: "I can take a joke. But only 37% of disabled people are working and I'm afraid that that kind of third-grade humor certainly adds to this atmosphere. Let's just say I don't think it helped."

Furthermore, why can't SNL pick an actual African-American actor to play an African-American character? Fred Armisen plays Governor Paterson, and he was also the one who played Barack Obama. It seems to me that just because Armisen's skin is a tiny bit darker than the average White person, he's the go-to guy when you need to portray a person of color. It just doesn't seem right.

Oh, and please enjoy this very classy headline put forth by the New York Post:

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3 comments: to “ Gov. Paterson not amused by SNL skit

  • December 15, 2008 at 4:51 PM  

    Actually Armisen is of mixed race: he is Venezuelan, German and Japanese (no, I'm not president of his fan club or anything, I just looked up the specifics). Which creates and interesting situation, because does that mean he can only imitate people who are also TRI-racial?

    I though the Obama thing was strange too (And also, not funny. Not because it may or may not be offensive, but those skits are just bad). And I haven't seen this Patterson skit. But is it possible to do a Patterson skit wherein his blindness isn't a factor?

    I don't even know who they have on SNL anymore. Who do they have that is a Black man? Kenan Thompson? I don't think he could make a good Obama. And it would be a "tokenism" situation if they hired a new Black actor just so he can play Obama.

  • December 15, 2008 at 5:54 PM  

    Ah, right - I knew he was a mixture of something.

    It's not merely the fact that they exploited his blindness... it's how they did it. They portrayed him as a Mr. Magoo-esque character, and I can understand why that offended Paterson, because I'm sure he's endured many hardships due to his disability.

    Exactly - their cast is almost entirely White. The fact that they pick the one man (aside from Kenan) who isn't completely White to play all the African-American characters show that they lack a fundamental diversity. It's necessary to create a more diverse cast... I'm not talking hiring a Black man solely to play Obama, but why is there such a lack of diversity here?

  • December 16, 2008 at 3:17 PM  

    No, I agree. I think that their cast if often lacking. If they have any Black people it's usually just one dude and he'll even play female characters or they'll just wait until a Black female celebrity hosts the show if they need a Condeleeza Rice or Oprah Winfrey. It's like "We'll keep this Black guy around in case we need him for something."

    I watched the Patterson clip. What's difficult about it is that they're doing a parody. I don't think it would be more respectful to imitate him and not bring up the fact that he's blind. For some reason it's ok to only make fun of certain physical differences or disabilities and not others. How often do they make fun of fat celebrities and just have them eat a whole turkey or some such thing- or a rock star who's a drug addict. Some would argue that these are self-inflicted issues while others argue that they are products are larger diseases. I'm not actually making a call as to which is ok and which isn't, I'm just generally musing. Comedy is difficult- it's their job to push the envelope, and some people get mad if you go too far one way or too far the other way. Though, I actually laughed harder at "My crimes were crimes of the heart. But also drug crimes." Now THAT'S funny!

    And on the note of actor diversity: I find it strange that when people talk about this they generally mean "not enough Black people". But no one ever seems annoyed when there are no Asian, Hispanic or other minority people (not just ethnicity-wise either). What are your thoughts on that?

    All in all, though, SNL hasn't been worth watching since the late '90's And now that the presidential race is over, what are they gonna do? No matter who plays him, Obama's not really funny. He's too respectable to be parodied very well.