Marlee Matlin Says SNL Sign-Language Translator Skit On Lydia Callis Was ‘Dumb’

Critics loved Louis C.K.’s Saturday Night Live episode that aired this past Saturday after the Hurricane Sandy wreckage. However, actress and Celebrity Apprentice star Marlee Matlin wasn’t liking the cold opening that featured Fred Armisen and Cecily Strong as Michael Bloomberg and his colorful sign-language translator Lydia Callis.

The skit featured a reenactment of Bloomberg’s stoic delivery during his press conferences for Hurricane Sandy, and Lydia Callis’ extremely animated signing in juxtaposition of Bloomberg. In the skit, Armisen had stoically delivered a thank you to Strong’s Callis for bringing “pizzazz” to the press conferences. The sketch also featured Bloomberg’s butchering of the Spanish language as well.

Marlee Matlin, who’s deaf, took the skit to heart and took the opportunity to address SNL via her personal Twitter, tweeting:

“Millions of deaf people use sign. Why poke fun/fake it? Poke fun at ME but not the language. Would they do that to Spanish or Chinese? FAIL. I’m referring to sign language parodies. Sign is not mime; it is a legit language. That’s why I developed an App ‪#MarleeSigns to teach it. As I’ve said, I don’t mind fun poked at me, as I poke back. But at the language that millions use? It feels childish and insulting. Here’s my point. Deaf people HAVE a sense of humor. Ever see me on Family Guy or Seinfeld? But faking signs that we use isn’t the same. Imagine if a show started making fun of Spanish (using fake Spanish) or Japanese. Do you think they’d actually get away with it? Uh, no.”

Marlee Matlin concluded her rant about the skit by ending with another tweet saying, “The jokes about sign cold be funny if done right.. Seinfeld, Family Guy, My Name is Earl WERE funny. This stuff is just dumb.”

Around this time the skits usually feature political skits on the election that are usually known to be fan favorites. However, the devastation of Hurricane Sandy was enough of an impact that it couldn’t be ignored by the sketch comedy show, and most of the skits were dedicated in some way to making light of the difficult situation, which is what SNL is known to do.

Did you think the sketch was offensive?