Hawaii’s lieutenant governor and some in the state’s tourism industry aren’t laughing over a “Saturday Night Live” skit they fear could deter people from visiting the islands.
The sketch, broadcast March 7, featured guest host Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and SNL cast member Fred Armisen as disgruntled entertainers serenading U.S. mainlanders at a restaurant.
They made the rounds of dinner tables while performing sloppy imitations of Hawaiian music and the hula.
When a woman gushed about being in Hawaii for her honeymoon, telling the entertainers “it must be fun working here,” Armisen responded:
“Yeah, it’s great. They make us wear grass skirts. We make $7 an hour. It’s a dream job.”
Johnson told another visitor: “It’s a fun fact about Hawaii. Our biggest export is coffee. And our biggest import is fat white tourists!”
It has become one of the most popular clips on Hulu.com, a video site started by NBC Universal and News Corp.
Hawaii Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona said the skit “went too far in its negative depiction of Hawaii’s native people and tourism industry,” adding that he wouldn’t let “such distortions go unchecked” when the economy is doing so poorly.
The state is being battered by economic decline in the U.S. and in Asia. Tourism took a big hit in 2008, with a double-digit decline in the number of visitors coming to the islands.
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