December 15th, 2008
01:02 PM ET
10 years ago

Paterson's office says SNL went too far


CNN's Alina Cho reports Gov. Paterson is unhappy with how SNL portrayed him.

(CNN) - New York Gov. David Paterson's office says Saturday Night Live went too far in its portrayal of the legally blind governor over the weekend.

SNL, famous for mocking politicians and newsmakers, portrayed the governor in a four-minute "Weekend Update" segment as confused and disoriented - often looking in the wrong direction and mistakenly walking in front of the camera when it was not his turn to speak.

SNL's version of the governor, played by cast member Fred Armisen, also refers to using cocaine and says he became governor of New York due to a "sex scandal I was miraculously not at the center of.”

A spokesman for Paterson, who became governor of New York last spring after then-Gov Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign amid a sex scandal, suggested the skit was offensive to all people with physical disabilities.

"The governor engages in humor all the time, and he can certainly take a joke,” said Risa Heller, Paterson's communications director. “However, this particular Saturday Night Live skit unfortunately chose to ridicule people with physical disabilities and imply that disabled people are incapable of having jobs with serious responsibilities.

“The governor is sure that ‘Saturday Night Live’ with all of its talent can find a way to be funny without being offensive,” she also said.

Paterson has said he is completely blind in his left eye and has limited vision in his right eye. He is the first legally blind man to be governor.

Full story

Filed under: David Paterson
soundoff (366 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    Oh wahhhh. The point of satire is to mock that which is often considered unmockable. He should focus on policy and not what some washed-up sketch comedy show does.

    December 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. Ms Cleo

    SEE...that wasn't nice at all

    December 15, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. LIP

    Isn't that interesting. So, Republicans like Sarah Pallin are fair game for ridicule and sexual discrimination by SNL and ridiculing McCains age which makes anyone over 65 feel just great, but Democrats are not fair game for anything that "pokes fun". What exactly is the reason again?

    December 15, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. That Other Jerry

    As the parent of children with disabilities, we laugh at ourselves and our unique situations all the time. But, being on the "inside," we have a sense of where the line is. Obviously SNL doesn't have that sense. Maybe they should follow Gov. Paterson's implied advice and get some people on board who have a little firsthand experience at living with disabilities.

    December 15, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. S.M

    Some people have no mercy when it comes to those with physcial limitations. But, then again, SNL makes fun of anyone who is a moving target.

    December 15, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Ted:Canada

    Yes – saw it!

    SNL owes an apology!

    Slow down guys and take a breathe…think twice!

    December 15, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Mobius

    How did he find out about it if he's "blind"?

    December 15, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. Erik

    Oh come on... Get over it.. I bet he does not think that they went overboard with the Pailn parodies or with bush for the past 8 years..

    December 15, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. Blind injustice

    This is what happens when the media no longer has Bush to kick around.

    December 15, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Get over it

    He just wants it to be "politically corrrect" when it is about him. I'll bet that he laughed at all of the other episodes.

    December 15, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Kewpie for Obama

    I thought it was pretty funny – – good grief its comedy people.

    December 15, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. TAYO, NY

    SNL people went too far. You don't have to behave stupid like a baby in order to make people laugh. Who ever gaive then the line must be an idiot also.

    December 15, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. Chris in MI

    Let me get this straight... Blind people complaining about something they 'watched' on t.v.? Am I missing something here?

    December 15, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. Helen W.

    Oh SPARE ME, for cryin' out loud! This is Saturday Night LIve. I'm just so sick of people getting "offended" at the slightest thing. SNL used to do a wicked impersonation of Joe Cocker that was wwaayyy more "insulting" or "offensive" than this. Find something important to bellyache about.

    December 15, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Chi Town

    It's SNL... that's what they do... get over it.

    They've spent eight years slaming Bush and recently went after Palin, McCain, Obama and Biden... so hey... don't take it personal.

    December 15, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. Christa

    Can someone tell me why it is okay to berate Sarah Palin, her pregnant teenage daughter, and her Downs Syndrome son? It seems the minute it is tranferred to a Democrat it is all of a sudden offensive. Talk about a double standard.

    December 15, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  17. Kirk

    IT'S HUMOR! Does he, as a public official, think he is immune to being made fun of because he has a disibility? He shouldn't have run for office then. I laughed very hard!

    December 15, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. Tommy - Houston, Texas

    Boo-Hoo; It was a comical skit...geat over it...quit looking for sympathy and you might be treated like you have no disability.

    December 15, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  19. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    I agree, I think that skit was overboard and they should issue a reply to his comments.

    December 15, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. Tom in Delaware

    What did you expect from the same people who depicted Todd Palin as having incest with his daughters...they respect no one.

    December 15, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. PA Independent

    I did not see the entire sketch, only clips on the morning news. However, from what I saw SNL did cross the line from poking fun at a Governor to ridiculing a blind man. There's nothing wrong with a little non-PC joking around as part of the joke, but to make the Governor's disability the whole joke is tasteless. From what I've seen of patterson, he seems like an intelligent and competent guy who deserves better. If SNL needs to stoop for a laugh, they should stick with Blagojevich – who at least heartily deserves it!

    December 15, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  22. John in Indiana

    Although it may have been a little over the top, politically better for others to complain rather than the Governor's office idirectly.

    December 15, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. Matt

    It SNL, it was funny, and if we let them mock Sarah Palin and the rest of the GOP but not Democrat then we become Hippocrates. Sounds like the Governor is a little thin skinned. I don't think any HR boss gets his/her job training from watch SNL. It was a the Governor is making himself a jock b/c he doesn't understand humor.

    December 15, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. Tim

    Boo-hoo. He should talk to Palin to toughen up his skin.

    December 15, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. grahame

    Must be a slow day in the world.
    Can't wait for the new olympic sport of 'Shoe Throwing' though.

    How about a new Christmas gift idea. It's a board game where you throw shoes at the face of your favorite political wannbe,

    If you score a direct hit on Sarah Palin then as a bonus you get to set fire to a church in Wasilla.

    But first you have to ask directions. That being the case Alaska where the church is.................

    sorry bad pun

    December 15, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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