April 6, 1995 in Nation/World

Fuss Over Humor Has Senator Place An Accent On Apology

Los Angeles Times
 

Comedians often say that ethnic humor - especially done in exaggerated accents - is tough to pull off. That may be so even for that most glib of legislative quipsters, New York Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, whose joke about Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito caused such a fuss that he has apologized.

The self-assured ItalianAmerican, who represents one of the nation’s premier melting pots, used an artificial Japanese accent while criticizing Ito’s handling of the O.J. Simpson trial in Los Angeles during an appearance Tuesday on Don Imus’ syndicated radio talk show.

On Wednesday, the looselipped Republican apologized for using the accent, but stood by his criticism of Ito’s allowing the case to drag on for too long.

“Judge Ito will never let it end,” D’Amato said on Tuesday in a caricature of a Japanese accent. “Judge Ito loves the limelight. He is making a disgrace of the judicial system, little Judge Ito. … This is a disgrace.”

Numerous Japanese-American groups complained.

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