December 15th, 2008
01:02 PM ET
13 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. Sevvy

    "The governor engages in humor all the time"

    Engages in humor................................ o_O

    That's the ultra PC way to say that he cracks jokes. This world is too PC. Stop being such pansies. Survival is too easy. The meek have indeed inherited the Earth. 🙁

    December 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. BS not Maverick

    Come on Patterson be a sport!

    December 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Derek

    First of all, Fred Armisen's performance was hilarious. Everyone needs to calm down, it was just a joke, nothing more. I don't care if you know someone who is blind and therefore refuse to laugh at this because you have probably laughed at something in the past that was, in your eyes, equally offensive, but was a matter that didn't affect you personally. You can't be selectively offended.

    I personally am physically handicapped and my friends and I joke about it alllllll the time

    December 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. David S.

    I didnt hear anyone complaining when SNL portrayed Sarah Palin. Cmon folks its satire. SNL has always picked on politicians, they certainly arent saints and PC mania is just going way too far.

    December 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Janey

    Get over it Dems–far worse things were done with Sarah Palin–she was the best sport of all–dems should stop playing the victim role. A guy who has cheated on his wife numerous times cannot be that sensitive.

    December 15, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. anthony

    Its interesting how most of the people with disabilities were not offended by this skit. I talked to two of my friends with disabilities and they found it funny. Here's an idea, if you don't find it funny, then change the channel. But don't tell me what is supposed to be funny. We all have a different sense of humor. And apparently most of you don't have one at all.

    December 15, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Mac

    How can the governor comment on a skit he didn't see?

    December 15, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. J. McKinney

    I think SNL is getting way out of hand on a lot of it's skits. I think the one on Gov. Patterson was way out of line and offensive, and I also thought they went way too far mocking Gov. Palin. There are a lot of people who watch SNL who can be guided way too much by this twisted foolishness, and be guided how to vote, and other important issues like this. They need to stop and think, and settle down.

    December 15, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. James

    THIS WAS HILARIOUS. My sister had been blind from birth and she found this funny! So what you have a disability! YAWN! My sister is blind but she still thought this was funny as well.

    December 15, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Steve, Jacksonville, Fl

    invite the Gov to be the Guest Host. That way he can do his own "tasteful" jokes. Not funny, just "tasteful".

    December 15, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. BO is just B.O.

    SNL sucks!
    They got too full of themselves.

    They are in desparate need of new talent.
    Tina Fey is just old now.

    December 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Andrew

    SNL was just pointing out the reality: there is no way you yourself, the PEOPLE, would elect a blind person. So it is not SNL you should be questioning, but yourself.

    While people's disabilities should not be made a subject of ridicule, questioning whether a person's disabilities will prevent him or her from executing his responsibilities is perfectly valid.

    December 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Jake Forrey

    Really? He's offended? Really? He apparently didn't see the SNL skits during the election....

    December 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. johnny the boy

    How is gonna play obama the pepsi logo president for the next four years?

    December 15, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Richie Facemire

    Governor Patterson is a blind, racist black man, and should not be holding the postion of Governor. He should be serving time in prison right now for all the illegal activities he has taken part in. He should be making his living as a jailhouse queen.

    December 15, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Kathy

    How is it offensive to use Palin's EXACT quotes??? She is so stupid they did not need writers, they just used her own words!
    This is making fun of blind people, and NOT funny.

    December 15, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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