Marlee Matlin Calls Saturday Night Live's Deaf Signing Skit "Childish and Insulting"

TV Guide

Marlee Matlin | Photo Credits: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Deaf actress Marlee Matlin is criticizing Saturday Night Live for the NBC show's recent deaf signing sketch, which spoofed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sign language interpreter Lydia Callis and her animated signing during the Hurricane Sandy press conferences.

"I don't mind fun poked at me, as I poke back," the Dancing with the Stars alum tweeted Sunday. "But at the language, that millions use? It feels childish and insulting."

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In the sketch, Bloomberg's interpreter, portrayed by new castmember Cecily Strong, was as colorful as Callis and mixed some legitimate signing in with a few comedy-inspired signs. But it was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's interpreter, played by Nasim Pedrad, whose mimed Jersey attitude took place of actual signing that likely drew Matlin's anger.  

"Sign is not mime; it is a legit language," Matlin also tweeted. "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... The jokes about sign cold [sic] be funny if done right. Seinfeld, Family Guy, My Name is Earl WERE funny. This stuff is just dumb."

Watch the sketch below and then hit the comments with your thoughts on whether the sketch was funny or not:

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