"Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels says there was no political motivation behind his decision to cut a Barack Obama sketch from Saturday's show, adding that the show's planned opening was replaced "for comedy" and because the show ran too long.
The original opening sketch, which the show used in its Saturday dress rehearsal, featured Fred Armisen as Obama, bragging about his order to kill Osama bin Laden. The show went to air instead with a sketch that mocked "Fox and Friends."
"It wasn't its politics. It was about the comedy," Michaels told the New York Post, adding that the show ran 27 minutes too long in rehearsal. "The show's many things, but partisan it is not."
The show routinely cuts and replaces sketches at the last minute.
The script of the scrapped Obama skit appeared on the Daily Caller website on Sunday. Mediaite said its writer, "SNL" veteran Jim Downey, gave a copy of it to his friend Tucker Carlson, the site's founder. Downey told Mediaite he often sends skits to friends, including MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, for feedback.
The conservative National Review accused "SNL" of having a "liberal taboo against mocking Obama in an election year."
Michaels denied that.
"Obviously, I thought it was funny or I wouldn't have led dress (rehearsal) with it," he told the Post.
Downey, meanwhile, told Mediate he didn't think the decision to swap the skits was politically motivated.
"I don't think there was a conspiracy, or anything, they just preferred the other piece," Downey said. "Comedy is so subjective. I'm sure the people who made the decision will say the piece they ran was funnier."
Watch the "Fox & Friends" spoof:
Photo by NBC Universal