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.

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

    I have the feeling the Governor didn't actually see the skit...

    December 15, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Andy Flogan

    The SNL skit is ignorant and offensive. They have no right to ridicule
    people, and cause untold harm.
    The SNL crew must be an arrogant, ignorant lot. I wonder if everyone
    of them is a perfectly fit speciman. People so out of touch should be
    run out of show business.

    December 15, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Jim

    I LOVE SNL, especially how they lampoon politicians and other public figures. BUT THIS SKIT WAS SIMPLY NOT FUNNY! Junior High bully humor is just stupid, and if the writers can't come up with anything better, then Lorne Michaels should simply let the musical guest play an extra song or two.

    December 15, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Tom B

    whaa whaa! LOL

    December 15, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. jessica

    far or not – it was the funniest thing i have seen on snl in a long time

    December 15, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Kevin

    I agree with Patterson

    it was fine to make fun of Patterson's scandals,etc. But to make fun of him because he had a disability is offensive to millions of Americans with disabilities.

    December 15, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. Debbie in DC

    I saw the skit and thought it was funny. My husband thought it crossed the line. I did not think they were making fun of him because he was blind. He is obviously capable of doing his job and I think the skit did not hamper that truth.

    December 15, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. lonnette33

    The skit was digusting. SNL needs to watch itself. Making light of something is one thing, but making fun of someone because he/she has a disability (blind) is tasteless. I can't understand why people can't see the difference here.

    December 15, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. joann

    Gee, didn't anyone find all of the skits mocking Sara Palin at all offensive? Give me a break. Sometimes mocking whether you have a handicap or not is offensive. Any mocking is offensive so why the big deal over this nut? Again, double standard.

    December 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. ObamaIsWayBetterThanBush

    The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at Bush should get a medal of honor, his own TV or radio show and or 10 million dollars and held in very high esteem across the world.

    December 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Only in America can a man with one eye be "king" in the "land of the blind. SNL might have just overstepped its political satire in this case.

    December 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. mick

    It was funny...I watched it.
    Paterson's a funny guy with a sense of humor. His office needs to get a sense of humor too.
    Oh, the skit wasn't politically correct...I take it all back. SNL crossed the line.

    December 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. Leo

    Who cares? I'm more entertained with that Iraqi guy throwing the shoes at pig-face Bush. Too bad he missed. But, it was great! I'd love to shake that man's hand and thank him:) So, many people share his same sentiment.

    December 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. Jon in Denver

    that's right – SNL is only funny when they pick on republicans..

    December 15, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |

    I love to laugh but I definitely was offended on Saturday when I saw this. I couldn't believe SNL stooped so low.

    December 15, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |

    FUNNY The liberals are supposed to be the kind hearted people caring about their fellow being. Its not the right its the left who is TRULY EVIL. Its just like Hollywood for condeming Bush but then turn around and make fun of of Paterson's BLINDNESS NOT HIS CHARACTER OR ACTIONS. It might be why Liberals kill more by getting abortions every other weekend than all the republicans "evil" wars. Iraq will be Free but Liberals will keep on KILLING BABYS AND MAKING FUN OF BLINDNESS!

    December 15, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. Mike

    Boo Hoo. I'm sure he didn't have a problem with SNL's skit about Palin, showing her a completely incompetent baboon. I could say the same for their skits about Bush.
    Irregardless of your political affiliation the humor that lies within these skits is merely that, humor. It is meant to be a joke.
    This is akin to anyone believing whats on the front of the National Enquirer.
    Get a life and realize that only morons get their political information from SNL. You watch it because it's funny.
    To lay off Paterson is to cave in to the politically correct left wing establishment.
    I though Palin's, Bush's, McCain's, Gore's, and yes, Paterson's skits were hilarious. Keep up the good work SNL and don't be a pawn by caving to the Liberal left, or for that matter the extreme right either.

    December 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. Carl from Texas

    And, if any of you can't figure it out, I'm using segregated in a way that means if you're not with his party, then you're the problem, and that's the exact message I have heard from him for a while now...

    December 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. John in Grand Rapids

    Par for the course, you libs bash Bush, over and over and over and over again as an idiot, you defame Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, oh hell with it, all conservatives!

    It's a two way street, either cut it all out, or live with it libs.

    December 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. Janice

    Get over it. If you don't like it don't watch it. Thats what the buttons on the remote are for. I am so sick of everytime anyone says anything or does anything some group is always offended. Who cares, we live in America – GET OVER IT!!!!

    December 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Erika, KS

    Oh, please! It's SNL for God's sake! You people just make me sick! SNL has been making fun of everything and everybody for decades! It's a joke! Lighten up. Oh, and I work with blind people. They, too, have a sense of humor.

    December 15, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. Wolffe

    Yeah, I'll bet you're all-kinda-worried about how all the other disabled americans feel about the skit. In other words, you can't take a joke when it comes to the Democrat political machine.

    December 15, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Michael, Houston Texas

    It was a joke Paterson, quit being such a cry baby. So it's okay for SNL to run skits on people's intelligence (Palin) but not okay to make fun of the fact of how you became Govenor and your self reported cocaine habit that you use to have. Lighten up dude.

    December 15, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Mike S. New Orleans

    It's called satire. Deal with it.

    December 15, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Ray Fisher

    As a handicapped person myself, I have learned to laugh at myself and the goofy things I do sometimes but never take offense at anything from others. Life is a learning experience and criticism and/or parody should be taken as a means to improve or else laugh the loudest. As I live alone and being half-blind and half-paralyzed am prone to walk into things, bounce off walls, etc... and if I never laughed at myself, life would truly be miserable but as I laugh at myself constantly and am offended by nothing, life is enjoyable. Too many people take offense at things when they should learn to laugh at themselves and invite some friends!!!

    December 15, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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