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D'Oh! TODAY Show's Spoof Of Mandela Translator An Epic Fail, Show Apologizes Immediately

//today show sign language joke

Dec. 11 2013, Published 1:57 p.m. ET

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Riffing off the controversy stemming from a phony interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial Tuesday, the TODAY show Wednesday tried -- and failed -- to recreate the bizarre happenstance in a bit on their airwaves that they had to apologize for almost immediately after it aired.

On Tuesday, an unidentified man made his way to the podium at the memorial, and served as an interpreter for Pres. Barack Obama and other dignitaries, though knowledgeable observers quickly called him out for being a fake.

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"It was horrible, an absolute circus, really really bad," professional interpreter Nicole Du Toit told USA TODAY, while the South African Deaf Federation branded the man a "fake."

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As of Wednesday afternoon, South African officials had yet to locate the man who slinked into the exclusive gathering, that included almost 100 heads of state.

In the spoof Wednesday, a TODAY producer in a small corner engaged in the same brand of flimflam sign language the interloper at Mandela's memorial made international headlines for.

Natalie Morales, reacting to the tasteless gag, commented, "That is horrific," while Al Roker seemed equally put off to the astray gag.

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The show immediately tweeted, "We aired a joke in our 9:00 hour that was offensive. We apologize to our viewers."

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