Kenan Thompson on SNL Diversity Woes: Is Lack of 'Ready' Black Female Comics the Problem?

Oct 15 2013, 1:17pm CDT | by TV Line

Kenan Thompson on SNL Diversity Woes: Is Lack of 'Ready' Black Female Comics the Problem?
Photo Credit: TV Line

Kenan Thompson‘s days of dressing in drag on Saturday Night Live are apparently over, but that’s not the only reason you won’t see impersonations of Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé — or even a timely Sleepy Hollow or Scandal spoof — on NBC’s long-running sketch comedy series.

The actor tells TVGuide.com that finding funny black female sketch comics is “just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”

RELATED | Bruce Willis Hosts Saturday Night Live : Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

Insert sound of needle scratching across the record here. And if you’re wondering, the record in question is Janis Joplin’s “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder).” Because clearly, that’s what SNL needs to do when it comes to casting new and diverse talent. Lest we forget, the show brought in six new featured players for its recently launched 39th season — five white men and one white woman. Even more egregiously, the underwhelming Tim Robinson was allowed to stick around for all of Season 38, so it’s not like Lorne Michaels & Co. couldn’t afford to take a gamble and test out an up-and-coming black female (or two) in the interest of broadening their comedic horizons. (If nothing else, the ability to bring the First Lady into the show’s wretched political coverage would make such a risk entirely worthwhile.)

Even more puzzling, SNL‘s problem with African-American ladies seems to extend to its hosting invites, too. Of the 90 episodes the show has aired since Season 35, only two black women (and four women of color in total) have hosted: Gabourey Sidibe (April 2010) and Maya Rudolph (February 2012), along with Latina A-listers Jennifer Lopez and Sofia Vergara. And yet during this period, Miley Cyrus has hosted twice, as have January Jones, Taylor Lautner and Eli Manning. (Spoiler alert: None of the people in the preceding sentence are remotely funny!)

Thompson went on to tell TVGuide that because he and fellow African-American cast member Jay Pharaoh aren’t interested in portraying female characters, the show has simply declined to dive into potentially rich scenarios involving black women.

But dude’s logic seems entirely flawed, just a slight variation on the “there are no funny women” theme that’s been dead and buried (but continues to occasionally stick its claw out from the grave) for years now.

There may not be an easy answer to SNL‘s diversity problem — not if Lorne Michaels and the show’s producing team refuse to see it, or more importantly, refuse to remedy it. And that’s a damn shame — not so much for a generation of funny black females locked out of Studio 8H, but for audiences that deserve more consistent, more robust laughs for their loyalty.

What do you think? Is there validity in Thompson’s comment about a lack of black female comics? Or do you believe the show isn’t trying hard enough to cast a wider net? Do you enjoy SNL as-is, or does the lack of black, female characters truly hurt the show? Hit the comments with your thoughts!


Source: TV Line

/>
 
 
 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case Facts
Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case Facts
The Bill Cosby sexual assault case is to proceed into its preliminary stages. The #1 Black American comedian in the Land of Opportunity is beset by accusations that are very serious in their severity as far as crimes of passion are concerned.
 
 
Fox launches 201 Days Of The X-Files
Fox launches 201 Days Of The X-Files
Fox is broadcasting all X-Files episodes in the lead-up to the premiere of the new X-Files in 2016.
 
 
Harry Shearer is Returning to the Simpsons
Harry Shearer is Returning to the Simpsons
The voice actor left the show in May over contract dispute. He has now signed the same contract as the other voice cast of the show. Shearer will be back for the 27th and 28th season of the "Simpsons"
 
 
David Letterman Talks Life After Retirement
David Letterman Talks Life After Retirement
After all these years of having someone make calls for me, i can no longer operate a telephone, the former host of the "Late Show" says