Saturday Night Live is “known for pushing the envelope,” said Jason Fink in AM New York, but they “may have pushed it too far” over the weekend when they “mocked Gov. David Paterson for being legally blind.” (watch the video here, via NBC) Fred Armisen delivered the impersonation—his “left eye squinting”; not sure “which way to face” the camera; holding “a chart upside down”—to “uproarious laughter” from the crowd. But Gov. Paterson and the National Federation of the Blind of New York aren’t laughing.
Which is somewhat understandable, said Gay Socialites, as Armisen’s impersonation “could be considered totally offensive.” But let’s be honest—“it was hilarious.” And if anyone should be able to “take it—and laugh at it—it’s Gov. Paterson.” He’s known for his sense of humor: Where is it now?
Maybe Paterson would have laughed if it were actually funny, said Chris Rovzar in New York. But Armisen’s parody was “weak, pat, and lazy.” Armisen ridiculed Paterson for having tried cocaine: “You know who else admitted to doing cocaine, who SNL has never effectively made fun of, ever? You may remember him; he's also a black Hail Mary politician: Barack Obama! Oh, but you can't make fun of him—he's not blind.”
But isn’t it interesting that the Governor’s office complained about SNL picking on people with disabilities, said Roy Edroso in The Village Voice, but not about him being portrayed as “a Jersey-hating, crinkly-voiced fool with a history of cocaine abuse and marital infidelities who underlines his own jokes and admits he was ‘comically unprepared’ to become Governor”? Maybe they knew that was a battle they couldn’t win.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- A trick for better lunch sandwiches
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- Russia's new air force is a mystery
- When it comes to ISIS, our Congress is full of cowards
Subscribe to the Week