Paul Farhi in The Washington Post reported that comedian Tina Fey received “a little political airbrushing” from PBS on Sunday night when it aired her receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center. These mean anti-conservative jokes were left on the editing floor:
"And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women [applause before the joke kicks in] -- except, of course, those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape kit and stuff," Fey said. "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."
The part about rape kits and evolution was gone, leaving only Fey's more harmonious -- and blander -- comments about Palin and politics: "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."
Was PBS shielding its viewers from Fey's more pointed remarks?
"It was not a political decision," responded Peter Kaminsky, one of the broadcast's executive producers. "We had zero problems with anything she said."
But with the 90-minute show running about 19 minutes long after the taping Tuesday night, a few things had to give, Kaminsky said. "We took a lot out," he said. "We snipped from everyone."
Fey offered a few other political tidbits in her acceptance. She drew warm applause when she recounted how John McCain escorted her and her husband around Capitol Hill in 2004, captured in a Life magazine cover, which hung in McCain's office, which gave him ideas: "I guess what I'm saying is, this whole thing might be my fault."
She also said: "I want to thank everyone involved with the Kennedy Center, or, as it will soon be known, the Tea Party Bowling Alley and Rifle Range." And: "I wanna thank Alec Baldwin for not coming tonight. I already have a reputation as an elite liberal lunatic, I don’t need that guy following me around, Johnny Huffington Post." She then added: "Actually, I do want to thank Alec genuinely tonight for staying in New York, to continue to shoot 30 Rock so that I could be here, Alec, I love you.”
Fey was right to thank Palin for the honor. The average age of Twain Prize honorees is 66, while Fey is only 40. This speech with the conservative-bashing is precisely the political sentiment the Kennedy Center committee was honoring.