SNL has made fun of everything American–from Tim Tebow's personal relationship with Jesus to Sarah Palin's moose-shooting skills–and now they make fun of Deaf Americans and Deaf ASL. To me it means you're one of the boys, that we're finally part of the American consciousness. When do you know you're accepted by a group? When they tease you. Marlee Maitlin is frustrated at the signing– and she probably has reason; we've all been at that event where the host waggles his fingers around lamely and thinks he's funny.
But this is different. SNL is a show dedicated to mocking everything weird, from Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor playing racist word association games to Sinead O'Connor tearing down the Pope. This is an important part of being American: we can't take ourselves too seriously. Here's the video:
I laughed (well, snorted.) Many did–and when people laugh at you, you develop a connection. Everyone who laughed at this is going to remember, for example, that ASL interpreters exist (yes, this is still not universal knowledge.) So I'm not going to complain much. I enjoy being part of the national consciousness. Except for one tiny thing.
Don't you think it was classless for SNL to make fun of an interpreter who was sharing disaster preparedness information?
And don't you wish we saw more interpreters on TV–or, you know, actual Deaf people signing–more than just when there's the occasional hurricane and serial killer on Law and Order? Maybe if we had more positive views of ASL-using Americans on TV, we wouldn't be bothered by this at all.
Crushable.com did its own breakdown of what was funny–and what wasn't–about the ASL parody (noting it was followed up by a Spanish parody, and giving Marlee's views the credit they deserve.)
P.S. SNL: Can we have a skit where the ASL interpreter is actually making fun of Bloomberg? Subtitle: Old White Man didn't have time to write speech, is reading from Hallmark card–and still lying!
Fun List: Top Ten Shocking Moments on SNL!
UPDATE: Tons more videos and opinions from DeafYouVideo–most of them against the skit.