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

Paterson's office says SNL went too far

CNN

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.

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

    I hate to tell the govorner, but SNL offends everyone who has even the slightest sense of decency or self-respect. Basically, trash in its lowest form.

    December 15, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Barton

    “First amendment folks.”

    While the first amendment do give people license to be insensitive and offensive that does not mean that I do not have the right to be offended. Or that, though a person may have the RIGHT to says something, that since it is hurtful, or offensive that they SHOULD say something. The first amendment does not free people to lose values and be responsible for their speech.

    December 15, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Beth

    The skit would have been very funny without the Blind stuff in it. They could have easily omitted it.

    December 15, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Larry Houston, Texas

    when your in the "limelight" so to speak, you have to be able to "take it all", period......It doesn't matter, they done it with Stevie Wonder & etc & etc....it don't matter, you've got to know how to take it, and take it well....
    If you're a star of some type, you've got to be able to take it whether your blind / cripple / or whatever....

    Larry
    Houston Texas

    December 15, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Ken Sawyer

    I don't see that it is any worse than getting a shoe thrown at you.

    December 15, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Anonymous

    TJ December 15th, 2008 10:55 am ET

    Sarah Palin was mocked each week for her handicap and noboby raised a stink about

    I did not know that being uneducated on World matters IE: Palin stupidity, was a handicap,..........

    December 15, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. whatever

    Isn't is amazing that somebody as "stupid" and "unintelligent" as Palin can be governor (of any state) and on the VP ticket of the POTUS. Wow – what idiots must the rest of us losers be!!!

    I am now officially boycotting SNL for 1 WEEK!!! They offended me because they made fun of somebody...whatever!!!

    December 15, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Butch Dillon

    The skit was a caricature of Paterson. Can you do that without involving his physical traits, including disabilities? I am a fan of Gov. Paterson but I think he needs to grow another layer of skin if he's to get through the rest of his term without a mental rupture.

    December 15, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. liz

    I saw it, it was funny. I thought it had the same amount of exaggeration most SNL skits adn was not all about him being blind. I wonder how many of you railing on about them mocking his disability have actually SEEN the whole skit.

    They did the exact same gag with the person walking in front of the camera when they made fun of the lady at the McCain rally. She had sight.

    December 15, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. John in Arizona

    The governor should have just told reporters he didn't see it.

    December 15, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Evelyn Micolichek

    I wonder if SNL pulls wings off of flies as well. Or maybe watches and laughs as a child dies. There is a point of no return and they stepped over it big time. Disgusting.

    December 15, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. janet, ohio

    "The governor is sure that SNL can find a way to be funny without being offensive"

    Is he also legally blond? SNL thrives on being offensive. Apparently there are enough Americans who for some reason enjoy that type of entertainment, because it's been on for decades.

    God help us.

    December 15, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Rating

    It should be rated R for damaging the society, and bad influence to the young children, very bad example.

    December 15, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Greg Jacobson

    How did the Govenor even see the skit? Seriously this dude needs a sense of humor from Santa this year.

    December 15, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Jack Sandler

    The GOVERNOR should get over it. I've lost $millions in the corrupt stock market/due to criminal CEOs... and view the corruption of Government as "offensive." I'm made "fun of" all the time due to my stupidity of trusting the US Financial system and my Government. The SNL skit was hilarious! Anything that depicts the Governors as being idiots is 'funny' because it's true. They're ALL blind to the facts! BRAVO SNL!

    December 15, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Ed

    That was freakin hillarious

    December 15, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. mike

    absurd.

    December 15, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Its a skit isnt it?

    I thought we were safe from polish jokes till a guy named Cort came along and challanged Obamas citizenship.

    December 15, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Anne E.

    SNL needs to stick to lampooning Sarah Palin, the comedic gift that keeps on giving.

    December 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz

    I TURNED SNL OF WHEN I REALIZED WHAT THEY

    WERE DOING. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE MORONS ??

    THE GOVERNOR IS BLIND. SNL PRODUCERS ARE JUST

    PLAIN DUMB, DEAF & BLIND, BY CHOICE.

    THEIR NEXT TOPIC IS GOING TO BE CHILD MOLESTATIONS.

    WE SHOULD NOT WATCH SNL FOR AT LEAST THREE MONTHS.

    BOYCOTT, BOYCOTT, BOYCOTT.

    December 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. patrick

    What was missing was Garrett Morris from the Center for the Hearing impared to translate.

    December 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz

    I TURNED SNL OFF WHEN I REALIZED WHAT THEY

    WERE DOING. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE MORONS ??

    THE GOVERNOR IS BLIND. SNL PRODUCERS ARE JUST

    PLAIN DUMB, DEAF & BLIND, BY CHOICE.

    THEIR NEXT TOPIC IS GOING TO BE CHILD MOLESTATIONS.

    WE SHOULD NOT WATCH SNL FOR AT LEAST THREE MONTHS.

    BOYCOTT, BOYCOTT, BOYCOTT.

    December 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Steve

    Gov Patterson should be thank ful that he is even the governor of NY. This is what you get when your the man........as we all know. SNL has been doing this for years and its considered a natural. Maybe they should have done a skit when he was having affairs running from motel to motel. What a joke....Gov Patterson should worry only about the state of NY and not what SNL is doing.

    December 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. paulb

    This is simply hilarious!

    Mocking people during the elections is ok, particularly if it is in favor of the golden boy, but not if it's about me ................at any time ....

    Give me a break!

    Progressives appear to be terribly backwards when it comes to equality as well as humor.

    Self appointed elitists still have a lot to learn ...........wannabe elitists continue drinking their cool-aid while disregarding the real world and should stay out of everyone's way.

    December 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Andy

    JeffD,

    Thank you for your note! I'm sorry that you are disabled. I am very happy that you can find humor in it. :)

    If you don't like the humor, don't watch it guys. The skit was making fun of the Governor; not disabled people.

    Tropic Thunder was probably too far too, right? haha. Anyone can laugh about anything they want; and a lot of people found that skit to be amazing.

    December 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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