Dana Carvey Apologizes for Portraying an Indian and Making Sharon Stone

Saturday Night Live alum Dana Carvey made an apology during the latest episode of the Fly on the Wall podcast for any offense caused by his 1992 SNL sketch which saw him playing an Indian airport security worker who made Sharon Stone strip to her underwear. However, the apology saw guest Stone sharing her view on how what is and is not offensive has become a hard area to understand since the time that sketch first aired.

Hosting SNL back in 1992, around the same time she was heating up cinema screens alongside Michael Douglas in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct, Stone was involved in a sketch set around an airport security scanner. In the scene, the actress’ attempts to board a flight were hindered by a group of less than professional staff members – led by Carvey – who coerced the star to remove as many pieces of clothing as possible. Talking to Stone on the podcast, Carvey said:

“I want to apologize publicly for the security check sketch where I played an Indian man and we’re convincing Sharon, her character, or whatever, to take her clothes off to go through the security thing. It’s so 1992, you know, it’s from another era.”

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However, Stone was ultimately unfazed by the whole sketch, and admitted that she had no issues being the butt of the joke.

“I know the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. And I think that we were all committing misdemeanors [back then] because we didn’t think there was something wrong then. We didn’t have this sense. I had much bigger problems than that, you know what I mean? That was funny to me, I didn’t care. I was fine being the butt of the joke.”

You can see the full sketch below as seen on SNL in 1992.

Would Dana Carvey’s SNL Airport Sketch Be Allowed Now?

Dana Carvey Apologizes for Portraying an Indian and Making Sharon Stone

There are many aspects of the SNL airport sketch that would now be considered too offensive to allow it to be aired. As well as the leery, sexist air about the sketch, which is based on a group of men having the ability to get a woman to do what they want regardless of how demeaning it is, it also features Carvey in brownface makeup, and sporting an Indian accent. As the actor explained though, despite it being “of the time,” there was never any intention to hurt anyone in the portrayal. He said to Stone:

“When I was doing the Indian character… there was no malice in it. It was really me rhythmically trying to get laughs. So I just want to say that watching it — comedy needs a straight person and you were perfect in it. You were completely sincere and you made us funny.”

Stone shared her own thoughts on the matter, and called for a clearer understanding of what practices are actually seen as criminal, as opposed to just being something that certain people are offended by. She said:

“I feel like we are in such a weird and precious time because people have spent too much time alone. People don’t know how to be funny and intimate or any of these things with each other and everybody is so afraid that they are putting up such barriers around everything that people can’t be normal with each other anymore. It’s lost all sense of reason. We need real laws, so that we know what’s a felony, what’s a misdemeanour, and what’s an offense to me. You can say ‘I’m offended, no, that’s against the law.’ We need to know and the fact that we don’t know has a lot of people who shouldn’t be making up things, making them up.”

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However, back in 2004, SNL did flip the airport security sketch again when Colin Farrell appeared on the show. In this version, Amy Poehler was the security guard looking to take down Farrell’s particulars with some very touchy-feely checks. The joke this time around does not have any racial connotations, but does still play up to what some would deem inappropriate advances. Check out this version of the sketch below.

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