Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We are still interested in whether you were offended by the Saturday Night Live impression of Governor Paterson. Give us a call and comment below. We especially want to hear from our blind listeners. Plus, what about Obama's speechwriter, Jon Favreau, who now famously fondled a cardboard cut out of Hillary Clinton in a photo posted on Facebook? Was that offensive? Let us know what you think. You can read yesterday's comments here.

Comments [50]

Andrew from NYC

Oh Brian. After playing the SNL clip (03:44): "All right, it was largely visual humor."

If I had it my way, free speech would not cover lame, irresponsible attempts at humor. David Denby would agree that this is crummy satire. Below snark and hateful in its original sense.

Jan. 22 2009 06:34 PM
Eliza from NJ

Interesting that Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton were skewered regularly on MSM, and that is just fine, but A comedy show that spoofs a politician is not OK?
What about Favreau? Do you think the media would be so blase about a stunt like that if it was Bill Clinton groping Michelle Obama's cardboard cutout?

Dec. 17 2008 06:54 PM
Owen from Rochester

The SNL satire of Paterson was ridiculously offensive. What made it so "off" is that it was totally divorced from how the public sees Paterson--a competent, witty, professional politician. The impersonation was an unrecognizable version of the man.

It's also a little offensive for to conflate this with the cardboard Clinton thing. I don't who gropes what cardboard cutout, it's a non-issue.

Dec. 17 2008 03:11 PM
seth from Long Island

The SNL skit involving Gov Patterson was disgusting and despicable. Equally disgusting and despicable was the reaction of the studio audience who roared with laughter instead of booing the actors off of the stage.

SNL should be cancelled ASAP. It wore out its welcome 15 years ago

Dec. 17 2008 01:33 PM
David Laveton from Hackensack

re: SNL skit....sophmoric and not funny. Chevy Chase was funny dipicting Pres. Fords fumbling and tripping. So far, I've not seen Gov. Paterson where's the humor. A far cry from the wit and cleverness of Tina Fey.

As for the "groping of Sen. Clinton"'s something silly. That's all.
For crying out loud.....he grabbed a piece of cardboard, not the Sen. Some of the coments seem to made by people not capable of knowing the difference. To them I'd say...get a life.

Dec. 17 2008 12:09 PM
Jamison from NYC

Man boo-hoo Im blind...
Ask how many of these people saw the skit.
Its people like this that make ever thing off limits.

Dec. 17 2008 12:08 PM
RES in Brooklyn

w/r/t the very end of the show--when it was asked, "what if it had been a picture of Cheney?" and the caller said, "I don't think that would ever happen", it reminded me of this story--and its very important correction--from the style section of the WP, from the 2004 election.

Dec. 17 2008 12:07 PM
Becca from Brooklyn

People seriously need to lighten up. If Gov. Patterson was actually bumbling and disoriented, the skit would have awkward and embarrassing. But the Gov. has more than proved that he is extraordinary in so many ways, articulate and self-possessed and controlled. The skit is funny because it is so off-base. SNL makes fun of EVERYBODY!
And as far as Jon Favreau goes, we have all had the occasional un-flattering moment posted on facebook... He should not be crucified for a momentary lack of judgment at a party that some unthinking friend decided to broadcast to the world.
The Gov. and Hillary can take a joke, why can't anyone else?

Dec. 17 2008 12:04 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

The skit just wasn’t funny. That aside, the last caller who mentioned this was a slight on Patterson as a blind person who has become the Governor. He wasn’t elected. He probably has many actual accomplishments but becoming governor simply isn’t one of them.

Dec. 17 2008 12:01 PM
Dorothy from Manhattan

I'm so d@mn sick of everything being offensive to someone. I'm a feminist but stuff happens. He "groped" a cardboard cut-out. A carboard cut-out. Give him a hangover cure and talk about something more important and less boring. The woman who asked what would be going on if he'd groped a cardboard cut-off of Michelle was right and I agree with everything she said, but I still think we should forged aboud it. (Yes, I know I'm holding 2 mutually exclusive opinions at the same time -- not the first time that's happened.)

The Patterson sketch was just stupid.

Dec. 17 2008 12:00 PM
JT from Long Island

Jon Favreau should lose his job just for not knowing the consequences of putting anything on the internet. If you put something on Facebook or a blog it is in a public space for all to see. If you don't already know that you are hopeless.

Dec. 17 2008 11:59 AM
Marie from Pittsburgh, PA

The hilary photo:

As a young single independent woman, that picture is HILARIOUS. Can people joke around? People act like they have never done anything like this and that they live a perfect life. get a sense of humor people.

Dec. 17 2008 11:58 AM
marisa from ca

Clinton responded with the right tone- humor with a brushoff. Favreau was caught in a silly pose at a party, and that is nothing to all the caustic misogynistic commentary that rained on Clinton during the campaign. None of the other candidates had to endure anything to that level, except of course, Sarah Palin. This election brought supposedly-buried racism to light, but the sexism that is out in the open is still not considered important enough to merit serious discussion-- despite the fact that domestic violence is a daily problem in this country. Can't wait till we are indeed ready to respect female leadership equally in this country.

Dec. 17 2008 11:58 AM
Chris from NJ

Everyone saying leave Favreau alone is a democrat. Everyone saying fire him is a republican. No news there.

Dec. 17 2008 11:58 AM

yeah I saw the picture of Favreau and it never occurred to me that he was grabbing her breast. the idea that he should be fired is patently absurd as this was a private moment, not analogous to saying something in public or on tv that is rude.

and I wouldn't care if it were a Republican speechwriter either.

Dec. 17 2008 11:58 AM
judy from NYC

the photo was stupid, but just an example of contemporary youthful "humor". The sort of stuff that fills up movies and comedy central. The guy needs to grow up.

Dec. 17 2008 11:57 AM

Armisen's impersonations are wonders to behold; he's by far the mmost talented at SNL.

Yes, his Paterson was cheap and stupid and silly, but I'm kind of partial to that kind of humor.

But where I got hysterical was one of his last comments, which kind of referenced previous events:

1. Amy Pohler's remark in the "Really??" segment on Blagojevich, "You never heard of talking in code?? When I order 50 circus tickets from my coke dealer, you can bet I won't be getting circus tickets."

2. McCain's aimless wanderings during one of the debates.

3. Pohler's good-bye to SNL speech .

So when Armisen's on his cell phone, interrupting Pohler's heartfelt good-bye, and she's having to angle herself to be visible, and Paterson's saying into the phone, "I'd like to order 50 circus tickets," I lost it.

Dec. 17 2008 11:57 AM
MC from Brooklyn

OH COME ON, Get over it. Mr. Favreau is drunk and having fun with his friends. He's entitled to get drunk and act stupid in private. Unfortunately, this is a pitfall of social networking and frankly, it's ridiculous that people would be offended by this and point to sexism. Hilary wasn't even offended. IT'S A JOKE. TRY SOME FUN PEOPLE.

Dec. 17 2008 11:57 AM
Danny Pudelek from Park Slope, Brooklyn

I am not blind, but I thought that the jokes SNL did were just bad, dumb jokes. Is this really the best SNL could come up with? These jokes were for cheap laughs.

Dec. 17 2008 11:57 AM
Alvin from Manhattan

I'd like to see Hillary Clinton at the inauguration seated between Bill Clinton and Jon Favreau. The entertainment possibilities are endless.

Dec. 17 2008 11:56 AM
Gabby from Manhattan

Sorry! who's, not whose.

Dec. 17 2008 11:56 AM
liz in mid-town from NYC

Gov Patterson makes plenty of jokes on his own blindness. I remember being shocked @ his "inaugural" speech how many self deprecating comments he made.

Dec. 17 2008 11:56 AM
Jonathan from Lower East Side

Does anyone remember the hilarious John Cleese character, Blind Man Pew, from Yellowbeard?


In 1985 I had the Betamax tape out for so long I had to buy it.

Dec. 17 2008 11:56 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

if Jon Favreau was blind there would be no issue

Dec. 17 2008 11:56 AM
Karen from Manhattan

The point is that he did a dumb thing in private. What if he'd insulted his girlfriend? Would we fire him for that? Come on -- he was publicly humliated -- enough.

Dec. 17 2008 11:56 AM
Steven from Ridgewood, NY

Why didn't SNL use the fat suit when Amy Poehler imitated Sen. Clinton. If it had been Ted Kennedy, they would have used a fat suit. Why do some people get a pass and others not.

Dec. 17 2008 11:56 AM
Jesse Califano from TPA & NYC

Geez- the guy was only keeping abreast of the changing trend in international affairs. . .

However- he should be lined up against cardboard box and SHOT- . . . with one of those novel guns that when the trigger is pulled, a little sign come out of the barrel that says: 'Bang'!

Dec. 17 2008 11:55 AM
GL from NYC

Would we be talking about Jon Favreau if it were a cutout of Pam Anderson? Probably not.

Dec. 17 2008 11:55 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

I'm offended by jokes that aren't funny...

Dec. 17 2008 11:55 AM
Gabby from Manhattan

At the risk of sounding like a major Obama maniac (I'm sure there is one word out there), "THOSE" speeches that make people actually tear up were mostly written by Obama himself, not that kid from collage whose immature enough to do something so lame.

And SNL is not cool, and more importantly, NOT funny. It has not done anything funny other than Sarah Palin for years. Who still watches it anyway?!

Dec. 17 2008 11:54 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Tisk tisk… I’m sure if your listeners knew some of the unphotographed things you’ve done at parties or said off mic, they’d ask for your head as well. Judge not…

Dec. 17 2008 11:54 AM
Chris from Brooklyn

There was also the sketch years ago with Eddie Murphy as Stevie Wonder playing tennis. PLAYING TENNIS. And it was hilarious.

Dec. 17 2008 11:54 AM
Karen from Manhattan

Favreau is an idiot and was drunk. It was stupid, but he didn't hurt anyone. Let the public humiliation be a lesson to him, and move on.

Dec. 17 2008 11:54 AM
judy from NYC

The audio was funny, BUT the video was vile. They made fun of his eyes and his blindness.

Dec. 17 2008 11:52 AM
Fern from NYC

I say leave Favreau alone and don't forget that he is a 20 something guy who happens to be incredibly talented at what he does. What a waste of talent to fire him because of a stupid, minor - (yes, tasteless) - prank. But has America been moved by speeches the way they have been by Favreau's writing and Obama's delivery at any point in the recent past?

Dec. 17 2008 11:52 AM
K. Hughes from New Jersey

Jon Favreau should have been fired! Obama tacitly approved this kind of behavior by actually promoting him. This is change we can believe in ?????

Dec. 17 2008 11:52 AM
Allison Amend from Manhattan

Favreau was just being a silly, typical, 20-something. He's a speechwriter, not a diplomat, and is not on duty all the time. If I had been under such scrutiny during my 20s, I shudder to think what would have made national news.

Dec. 17 2008 11:52 AM
Jeanette from Brooklyn

As a woman and Hillary Clinton supporter, I thought it was hilarious that John Favreau groping the cut-out of Ms. Clinton. Maybe it's because I'm in the same age group, but it just seems like something that everyone decided would be funny after a few drinks. This shouldn't be a big deal. Maybe it was a stupid idea to take a picture and post it online, but it's not harmful.

Dec. 17 2008 11:52 AM
jeff from Manhattan

I think you're misunderstanding Brian, SNL was saying that all *Black* people hold charts upside down.
(Ironically, I think the visual was spot on, which was funnier than the content)

Dec. 17 2008 11:51 AM
bk from nyc

john favreau - he's 27 years old! give me a break. the photo simply looks like a kid's party & he certainly wasn't headed for the white house at the time. jeez.

Dec. 17 2008 11:51 AM
Robert from NYC

the Obama speechwriter thing is an old story. I remember it from about 3 months ago. It obviously was forgotten. It was a stupid thing to do and he should be repremended and made to apologize and I who really hate Bush would say the same for Bush's nanny.

Dec. 17 2008 11:51 AM
Niles from Manhattan

Why even bother with this Favreau story? Who cares? Brian still can't get over the fact that Hillary didn't win.

Dec. 17 2008 11:50 AM
Jennifer Hickeu from Bayside, Queens

One of my favorite SNL skits is Joe Piscapo and Eddie Murphy as Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder singing together at the piano ("I am black and you are white. You're as blind as a bat and I have site ... My amigo, negro, let's not fight ...). Not only did it poke fun at blindness but also race. That's what SNL does. Poke fun!

Dec. 17 2008 11:23 AM
hjs from 11211

it wasn't funny, is that enough of a reason to be offended.

Dec. 17 2008 11:19 AM
michaelw from INWOOD

Finally SNL is getting back to it's roots.

SNL used to offend everyone which made it funny.

If you can't offend or make fun or sterotypes then the show will just be what it was for the last 10 years.


Dec. 17 2008 11:13 AM
JB from Manhattan

The jokes aimed at Patterson's blindness are slightly questionable; the jokes aimed generally at all people with any type of disability are more questionable. But what I found most repugnant were the stabs at his credentials and morality - SNL might not remember, but Spitzer was the one who hired an escort and looked like a jackass. I'm a fan of sketch comedy (and, sometimes, the raunchier, the better) but I feel like there needs to be some basis for ridicule. Sure, once you make the littlest mistake, the media can feel free to pounce and maul, but Patterson hasn't done anything to warrant such an attack. I don't even know if SNL did Palin such a disservice .

Dec. 17 2008 11:03 AM
Lezlie Frye from Brooklyn

I think the question, "are you offended by this skit?," really limits what kind of conversation could possibly emerge about the skit. It's a pretty predictable approach, though, to disability content in film and tv, a la Farlie Bros, Tropic Thunder, etc. and in the climate of political correctness that surrounds identity politics more broadly but particularly pierces through analysis of disabled people imagined as outside the world of appropriately funny, eh? Another question might be, "is this even funny?," which is the standard by which SNL measures its content. If the standards by which you're judging the clip shift to address the values of crip arts or cultural production more generally, how bout 'what purpose does disability serve in the skit?' 'how does Patterson's blindness and blackness work to message something about the scandal in IL the skit addresses, and what in fact does it message?' 'Is it more than mere metaphor?' 'Could the same skit work without him being blind?' 'Is the actor's performance of blindness accurate?' 'What cultural ideas about blindness inform (and limit) this performance?' 'Where does this performance sit in a historical context of blackface, 'cripface,' and other forms of 'trying on' or caricaturing disabilities temporarily for the purpose of producing entertainment and revenue?'

Personally, what I find pitiful about the skit is how under-researched and thus inaccurate a portrayal it is. Seriously, a half hour on youtube with even a little attention to blindness (ie not staring at the interviewer!) and a WAY better performance could have been had. Patterson is not only smooth as butter in interviews, but also self-mockingly funny - what, didn't they see him on the Daily Show?

Dec. 17 2008 11:02 AM
Gary from UWS

As a white, conservative New York Republican (and a WNYC supporter, I might add), I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Governor Paterson’s focus on cutting spending rather than raising taxes. In viewing the Saturday Night Live sketch (, I was pretty shocked. First, it’s not funny, which is supposed to be SNL’s raison d'etre. Second, it’s not even close to accurate. The man himself is very articulate and engaging. Third, the sketch is just mean-spirited and pointless. Most people who don’t live in or near the state of New York don’t even know who Paterson is. What I found most offensive was the morons in the audience cackling like medieval serfs in merry ol’ England witnessing a public execution when the “Laugh Now, You F&@king Idiots” sign was flashing above the stage. I guess there’s a reason why SNL has to give tickets away for free. No one with any class or intelligence would pay to see such crap, in person or on television. (I hope liberal WNYC listeners take note of this when SNL and other radical leftists in the media blast Republicans mercilessly.)

Dec. 17 2008 10:09 AM
Charles from Bklyn

This is a perfect example of the lack of backbone in our Democratic leaders. Stop crying about the media and comedian's jokes, and start worrying about the future of our state.

Dec. 17 2008 10:06 AM
Amy from Brooklyn

I wish the Gov had sarcastically responded this way when asked about the skit:

"I don't know - I DIDN'T SEE IT"

How can anyone be offended by SNL? It's intended to shock, since they can't get laughs any other way.

Dec. 17 2008 10:01 AM

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