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“Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels tells the Los Angeles Times that he thought Herb and Marion Sandler — skewered in a “Saturday Night Live” skit last weekend for their role in the mortageg crisis — were fictional characters.

He tells the Times, “I, in a state of complete ignorance, thought they were characters in the piece,” he said. “I did not know they were real, up until somebody called me about it on Monday. And I went, what? Now, that’s entirely my fault. Entirely.

“When I spoke to them, I can assure you this: They are very, very real. I think they were angry, I think distraught, I think they were not expecting to turn on the television and see that. First of all, I pleaded incompetence, which is not a thing I do often, and the fact that I did not know they were real is 100% my responsibility.”

The skit was written by “SNL” writer Jim Downey, who had heard of the Sandlers and “felt that from what he read and what he was basing it on, he thought it was a fair hit,” Michaels said.

“SNL” has been on a roll, but the most common problem with their skits is that they don’t know when to use restraint and therefore they tend to too often go over the top. In comedy, less is more.