Tina Fey made Sarah Palin the butt of many jokes with her impersonation on Saturday Night Live during the 2008 presidential campaign.
But during the Sunday night PBS broadcast of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Fey’s Palin jokes were left on the cutting room floor.
Fey had slammed Palin while accepting the award Tuesday.
“And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women – except, of course –those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape ‘kit ‘n’ stuff,” Fey told the crowd. “But for everybody else, it’s a win-win. Unless you’re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years – whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know – actually, I take it back. The whole thing’s a disaster.”
When PBS broadcast the awards show Sunday, Fey’s jabs about rape kits and evolution had been edited out.
“I would be a liar and an idiot if I didn’t thank Sarah Palin for helping get me here tonight. My partial resemblance and her crazy voice are the two luckiest things that ever happened to me. All kidding aside, I’m so proud to represent American humor, I am proud to be an American, and I am proud to make my home in the ‘not real’ America. And I am most proud that during trying times, like an orange [terror] alert, a bad economy or a contentious election that we as a nation retain our sense of humor.”
Executive producer Peter Kaminsky denied the politics played a part in the editing. “It was not a political decision,” he told The Washington Post.
PBS claimed that 19 minutes had to be cut out to fit the show in the 90-minute timeslot. “We took a lot out,” Kaminski said. “We snipped from everyone.”
The Post noted that it’s not the first time PBS has clipped a recipient of the Twain award. “When George Carlin was posthumously awarded the prize in 2008, the show’s producers spared the ears of the Kennedy Center audience by bleeping out the naughty parts from a video of Carlin doing his famous ‘Seven Dirty Words’ routine,” Paul Farhi wrote.
“Thus, a monologue about words you couldn’t say on television became one you couldn’t say in the Kennedy Center, either.”
PBS has provided video of Fey’s unedited remarks. Start watching about 12 minutes, 30 seconds into the video.
This video is from ABC News, broadcast Nov. 10, 2010