Anderson Cooper, a CNN news personality, was one of the few unhappy with Saturday Night Live‘s now famous Democratic Debate sketch.
Stealing the show was Larry David with a spot-on Bernie Sanders impersonation — one that the Democratic primary candidate was pleased with as confirmed earlier this week.
But when it came to Jon Rudnitsky as Anderson Cooper, well, it was a little homophobic.
That’s at least what Anderson implied when he sat down to discuss the sketch with Watch What Happens Live!
“I didn’t think it was very good,” Cooper said of Rudnitsky’s performance. “Seth Meyers did a spoof of me years ago that was really funny and I’m all for being spoofed. It was like the only thing [Rudnitsky] knew about me was that I was gay so that’s sort of what he went with. I got a little Truman Capote vibe, which I thought was odd.”
Capote, the openly gay author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, did look closer to Rudnitsky than Cooper if you check out the sketch below and then compare with the Truman Capote photograph.
Of course, Anderson Cooper could have saved himself the trouble of being offended by Rudnitsky’s portrayal if he would have taken SNL up on the offer of appearing as himself, but “scheduling conflicts” would not allow it, Entertainment Weekly reports.
As of this post, SNL has not responded to the implication that Rudnitsky’s portrayal of Cooper was homophobic, and not every commenter from EW agreed with Anderson’s take.
One commenter said they felt Rudnitsky’s impression was “horrible,” but “didn’t feel it played with Cooper’s sexuality at all.”
Another said that it was only offensive “in that it was not remotely like Anderson Cooper,” adding that if Rudnitsky did the impression in a sketch without a setting or dialogue that made it obvious he was Cooper, “everyone would be thinking, ‘Who the heck is he supposed to be!?’
A third commenter felt that Anderson Cooper had every right to be offended, acknowledging that Cooper’s sexuality may be public knowledge, but “I’ve never observed anything feminine about his behavior.”
“Rather than do a first class impersonation,” the commenter added, Jon Rudnitsky simply added some “gay” mannerisms that were not only inaccurate, but were a “cheap shot.”
It’s easy to see how the sketch could have gotten to this point. Human sexuality is a deeply personal thing, and for Rudnitsky to be pushing forward on that particular point in a parody segment where everyone is supposed to be made fun of lends itself to the type of reaction Cooper is now having.
That being said, it’s hard to tell if Rudnitsky meant to be homophobic in his portrayal of Anderson Cooper.
Rudnitsky has a Twitter account, but beyond retweets, he hasn’t addressed anything relating to the DemDebate Cold Open.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the comedian has been accused of being homophobic, as seen in previous social media posts. Take this previous tweet.
“I’m gonna sit on this oscar every night before I go to bed”- guy who just won for best make up #oscars
— Jon Rudnitsky (@JonRudnitsky) February 27, 2012
You can see from the reaction that it was one of those jokes that didn’t “land” with his audience.
Two people responded in pretty much the same way: “Wow.”
There were also two retweets and one favorite. Not much for a rising star popular enough to get a gig on SNL. At the same time, he should probably be grateful of that.
What do you think, readers? Did Rudnitsky’s impression do Anderson Cooper justice or does Cooper have a right to be offended?
[Image of fake Anderson Cooper via SNL screen grab]