Wow, who remembers the last time Saturday Night Live was so politically relevant? On Tuesday Hillary Clinton drew attention to SNL’s debate skit from last weekend, which highlighted the media’s pro-Obama bias, and now the show's choice of Fred Armisen as their Fauxbama is creating a debate over race in television. Critics contend that it’s inappropriate and shameful that SNL couldn’t find a black comedian to play Obama (Armisen is of Venezuelan, Japanese, and German descent). Hannah Pool at the Guardian compared Armisen’s light makeup to blackface, and Maureen Ryan at the Chicago Tribune wrote that SNL’s failure to choose a black person for the role shows it has failed to keep pace with the rest of the nation’s progress on race relations.
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Richard Gere may buy the penthouse in Julian Schnabel's West Village building, if he can sell his Sullivan Street townhouse for $12 million first. Henry Kissinger, Michael Eisner, and Barry Diller were among the power players who ate at Michael's for lunch yesterday. Some designers are refusing to use the Earth Pledge's ecofriendly "Sea Leather" because it's actually made out of dead fish skin. Ivana Trump's new engagement ring, from daughter Ivanka's jewelry line, costs $250,000. Anderson Cooper told Conan that he has a "fatty deposit" under his eye that is visible in high definition. NBC refused to run a Larry Craig–inspired political commercial, though CNN picked it up. (Perhaps it had something to do with Matt Lauer's interview with the disgraced senator?)
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John Updike says he moved from New York to New England to get away from the "ego-eroding literary hustle" of the city. Glamour editor Cindi Leive had a rare blowup over racially insensitive comments fashion editor Ashley Baker made while speaking to a group of African-American lawyers. Sarah Silverman confessed to Howard Stern that she got extremely upset after being mistaken for Melissa Rivers. Jimmy Fallon and Rangers teammates Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan ate at the Waverly Inn after their season opener. Martina Navratilova and Jeffrey Lyons may or may not have left Kenjo together on West 57th Street.
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Deported former Limelight owner Peter Gatien might be coming back to the States because he is part Native American. CBS Evening News executive producer Rick Kaplan orchestrated an office dance-off to boost morale. Jewish boxer Dmitriy "Star of David" Salita, from Brooklyn, had his fight at Cipriani Downtown rescheduled because it fell on the Sabbath. Paris Hilton's crisis PR guy, Mike Sitrick, is the reason she's been out of the tabs lately, but friends say she can't keep up the act. Robin Williams went to an AA meeting in Greenwich. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Isiah Thomas hung out at Socialista.