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

Kenan Thompson SNL Black Female ComicsKenan 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.”

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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.)

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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!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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112 Comments
  1. Mark says:

    So wait, he won’t play Whoopi Goldberg anymore?

    • Nate Moore says:

      Trust me, there are plenty of funny black women! Are they ready? I don’t know. SNL has a certain formula for a comic and I don’t think it is attractive to black women as a whole. I don’t think SNL standards are high per se, it’s just really white, as in mainstream. A black woman would have to be completely comfortable in that, AND relate to that for it to work. They are out there, they’re just not in comedy clubs. I mean, can we get a better way to find funny black women besides hanging out in comedy clubs? An open audition maybe? I know a shoe-in!

  2. Ross Bonaime says:

    Kenan never says that “black women aren’t funny,” he just says they aren’t prepared, as I’m sure they have had plenty of white males also who aren’t prepared. It just sounds like they haven’t found a person to fit the role that is up to the SNL standards, not that they aren’t hiring anyone that is a black female.

    • Chuck Finley says:

      I can’t believe we still base hiring standradrds on the color of someone’s skin and not their ability to do the job in 2013. Thanks clueless liberals. Sorry to be the voice of reason, but many black comics, male and female, are too crude and just throw the N word around like it is acceptable. Why would you want anyone like that on SNL?

      • Katherine215 says:

        Wow, racist generalizations, much? The reason race is a factor is because racism is still alive in well in our lovely country, as exhibited first hand by your comment.

      • the girl says:

        Obviously they ARE basing the standards on ability, or else the cast WOULD be more diverse (which it is not). The problem is, some of the “able” white people that were hired or contracted to host turned out to not be funny and/or not be a good fit for the show. So the question is, why not give someone a chance who maybe isn’t strong in the audition, but who could gain from mentoring and experience? Perhaps that should be a consideration not just for diversifying the cast, but also in selecting comics overall. The success of a comic in standup or in some other medium may not translate well on SNL, so they may want to consider getting someone who is still open to taking risks, open to finding themselves, open to trying different forms of comedy.

        • scooby says:

          While I completely agree with the premise for the article, there are white performers of fame that didn’t make it on SNL too. They have weird casting needs like who can do what impression or maybe they don’t need to hire two people in the same season who can do impressions, etc. That’s why Kevin Pollak didn’t make it–they had other needs that year. I forget who knocked him out, but it was one of their big name players. Jim Carrey didn’t make it either. I think the idea that there aren’t black women they could at least have host is silly, but they need to have projects that get them invited on. January Jones, as cardboard as she is, is on Mad Men. They could get away with asking Kerry Washington on, but is she funny in sketches? They could’ve had Zoe Saldana on for Star Trek, but those movies come out over the summer when SNL’s on hiatus. It’d be insane if they got Oprah on for Lee Daniels’ The Butler. I doubt she’d do it, but she’s getting Oscar buzz so maybe they could talk her into it. Talk about insane ratings.

        • DL says:

          This comment would hold water, if it were actually obvious that they were basing hiring on ability.

          Clearly, they’re not. Not only was the aforementioned Tim Robinson allowed to stick around way too long, but of the six new featured players, only two are good (Beck Bennett and Noel Wells). The rest are bafflingly mediocre, at best.

          I’m keeping a wide berth from the race argument. I’m just saying SNL and Lorne Michaels are quite fallible in their casting decisions.

      • TV Gord says:

        You had me, then you lost me. First you lament the hiring of people on the basis of color, and then you toss out a strange generalization about black comics. If my memory is correct, I only ever heard one person utter the n-word on SNL…and that was Chevy Chase (in a sketch with Richard Pryor). (Come to think of it, I never wanted him on SNL in the first place, so you may have a point.) :-D

      • anthony hawkins says:

        In talking of SNL it is based on sketch comdey and not stand – up so the N word really wouldn’t be a sketch just using that word. Also Wanda Skyes is someone that dispels that myth.

    • Josh says:

      But is he prepared? What does that even mean, “not prepared”…Kenan Thompson is one of the worst in the cast(he has ONE voice), yet he was deemed “prepared”.

      I do think it’s telling the ratio 5 to 1 ratio in featured players, as is the fact that there have only been FOUR African American women in the cast.

    • Tribeb says:

      haa!!!….then you say something racist at the end….

  3. Matt says:

    If you are telling them to “try a little bit harder” then can you suggest some african-american up and coming female comics who would work on the show?

    • brian says:

      Nicole Byer.

    • Stewart Wolpin says:

      Jessica Williams from The Daily Show.

    • TV Gord says:

      Aisha Tyler. Wanda Sykes. Loni Love.

      • Matt says:

        No way would Aisha Tyler or Wanda Sykes take a job on SNL. They make more money doing their current work. I will have tos ay I don’t know Loni Love. The are looking for up an coming which is what I asked for. Tyler, Sykes and Love (I assume) are obviously more established.

        • TV Gord says:

          You asked for up and coming, but you don’t know what SNL is after. They have hired more established performers before, so I wouldn’t presume. Tyler might have enough work right now, but her first love has always been comedy, and I woulldn’t rule her out. Sykes would jump at the chance. She does her standup and she’s in Garry Trudeau’s new amazon.com series. The prestige of being an SNL cast member, even for a season, might be too much to resist.

          Loni Love is one of Chelsea Handler’s proteges, and she was one of the co-hosts on The Real, one of the latest ripoffs of The View that was tried out this past summer. She can be wickedly funny and would stir up SNL in a great way!

          Anyway, my point is there are plenty of black women who are funny out there, many we’ve never heard of yet! And incidentally, I would say the majority of them are funnier than Kenan has ever been!

  4. wjrxyz says:

    Why don’t they have Swedish-Americans on this show?

  5. How about Simone Shepard?

  6. Michele says:

    Until the (unseen) writing team gets more diverse the show will remain for straight white dudes

  7. BMO says:

    Michael,

    great squeaky wheel article. We need to hear from Lorne besides a satire sketch regarding the lack of diversity. Hard to believe there’s no one of color in the UCB or any comedy inprov. group. I believe bad auditions is a cop out. Let’s be honest, LM is NBC royality, He’s not being forced to do anything. The SNL loyals won’t touch this, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, etc. Hopefully more journalists will keep doing articles on this issue.

  8. Montavilla says:

    First off, you’re being a little unfair. Miley Cyrus is *remotely* funny.

    I would count Nasim Pedrad (is she still on the show?) and Cecily Strong as women of color. But that doesn’t really help with the lack of a Michelle Obama impersonator. I think your point is still very valid.

    And this didn’t seem to be such a problem for MadTV. I don’t know why it is for SNL — but it has been for most of its history. Maybe Lorne Michaels could be a bit more proactive — considering that we’re six years into the Obama administration.

    And while we’re on the subject — as SNL ever had any regular Asian comics on the show? Male or female?

  9. Jay says:

    Nicole Byer. Now please. Thank you.

  10. ES says:

    Mad TV found talented women, In Living Color had talented women of color over 20 years ago. Only difference is SNL is live. If they aren’t ready then what’s the problem there? Is something fundamentally wrong places like Groundlings, Second City, etc.? Time to go deeper.

    • Max G. says:

      In a 10 year run, MAD TV had 3 female African American performers. One was Debra Wilson. Can you name the other 2 without Wikipedia? In Living Color did not do much better – there was the memorable Kim Wayans – do you remember the other 2 or 3? There are plenty talented African American female stand-up comediennes. But being good stand-up does not necessarily translate into being good for or being willing to do sketch comedy. Look through comments here – seems like only one candidate’s name keeps being suggested… Whatever the reasons – bias, some other unidentified current in comedic industry, coincidence, or all three – Kenan seems to have a point. Also – talented African-American stand-up comediennes might not see a show like SNL to be an attractive option – it’s not like Mad TV, In Living Color, or SNL have had a good record of launching careers of female African Americans… (see above)

      • Josh says:

        I think asking anyone to “remember” anyone from the cast is hard. From MAD TV I can remember Debra Wilson, Mo Collins, Alex Bornstein, Will Sasso, and Nicole Sullivan and that’s because they were the star players. Note how there is only one guy there(wouldn’t have guessed that in SNL despite the female stars of the last five years being the hit makers; Tina, Amy, Maya, Kristin…

        As for in Living Color. The only people I can remember are the Wayans and Jim Carrey.

        So to say “well you can’t remember any female African American names” doesn’t really hold water. I can’t remember most names.

        So no it hasn’t had a record of launching African Americas but SNL is just a bigger platform, with better connections and EP who takes better(usually white guys) under his wing and producers movies for them. Like I said, yeah five male cast members were added this season, but who has been the most successful in the latest crop of SNL cast members? Women.

        • Max G. says:

          My point was that SNL is no different from other similar shows in representation for African American females. Between the 3 of them, Kim, Debra, and Maya are the 3 standouts. Others were few and forgettable. So this trend is not just SNL. And situation in sitcoms is not much better. I have no idea why – I suspect it’s a combination old biases, lack of well-established proven pipelines, chance, lack of examples of launched careers. Besides, to truly get launched out of SNL you have to be a real stand-out and those are few and far between of any ethnicity and gender.

          As for 5 guys hired this year, that’s cyclical – last year they brought in Cecily, Kate, and Aidy. And Noelle looks very promising, so quantity not as important.

          • Montavilla says:

            But there are many more forgettable white, male “Not Ready for Prime Time players” than black female ones. That doesn’t seem to be a reason to avoid casting them.

      • lilkunta says:

        y not hire Debra for SNL? She’d do great.
        Or ask Debra to consult in finfing new castmembers?

      • lilkunta says:

        debra wilson, nicole randall johnson, danielle gaither

      • ShaniceS says:

        Kim Fields (Living Single) and T’Keyah Keymáh (That’s So Raven) and that was without Wikipedia and they were hilarious.

  11. nguber says:

    Franchesca Ramsey is a up and coming female comic that SNL should take notice of http://franchesca.net/

  12. Daisy says:

    First, who thought it was a good idea to ask Kenan anything. Shhhhh, Kenan. Just shhhhhhhhh.
    Second, Michael is right. They absolutely need to not just try harder but try. I have no idea how to find talented black comedians but then I’m not in the entertainment business. I find it impossible to believe that there are zero qualified comedic black actresses available. It’s a near statistical impossibility. Seriously, SNL. At the very least, pretend to try.

  13. Dan says:

    Aisha Tyler comes to mind.

    • EB says:

      As much as I love the idea of Aisha, I can’t imagine that she’d have the time for SNL, or be willing to drop any of her other lucrative gigs to be on a weekly show that A. requires a ton of time & work, or B. is only funny sometimes.

    • Jen says:

      Aisha Tyler is already somewhat famous. SNL is where comics start, not where established ones end up.

      • TV Gord says:

        Plenty of people with already established careers later went to SNL. Billy Crystal, Martin Short, Randy Quaid, to name just a few.

  14. TJ says:

    Jennifer Lawrence suddenly made the worst SNL performance , Taylor Lautner and Miley Cyrus did it very well.

    • Drewer says:

      Yeah I’m not a big fan of Taylor Lautner, but he was hilarious. I’ve rewatched his episode on Netflix a bunch of times. The skit where he plays a girl obsessed with Twilight, the sketch where he plays the kid in the Glee Club, his monologue-all so funny.

  15. Aprilcot says:

    As a non-Miley fan, I enjoyed both her hosting stints on SNL. January Jones? Not so much… I’d like to see Retta host SNL. :)

  16. Jo says:

    Kenan is truly one of the least talented people to ever appear on the show.

    • Lexiana May says:

      Kenan Thompson has always been funny.

      Are you forgetting about All That, Good Burger and Kenan and Kel??

      I know all of those happened like a million years ago but it’s still proof that he’s pretty talented and funny.

      SNL has always been racist and had a racist agenda about it.

      That has been confirmed in interviews by Eddie Murphy and Garrett Morris.

      I have no doubt in my mind that there are talented and very ready black and latina and even plus sized female comedians who could be on SNL.

      The casting department needs to not only look at places like Groundlings and Second City but small comedy clubs like the laugh factory.

      The best talent can be found in the most unexpected places.

      Why can’t they also look at the chitlin circuit for black female comics?

      Sommore would be a nice addition to SNL.

      Although she’d probably piss off the censors.

      LM has to have the gall to be different from almost every other showrunner on TV and bring the idea of a multi-cultural cast to life on SNL.

      If it hasn’t happened in 38 years, what makes you think that it will happen soon??

      Oh and the only reason why minorities don’t regularly host SNL is because we aren’t properly presented on TV.

      Look at this television season, how many blacks and latinas do you see on it?

      Don’t go to wiki for the answer because you already know it.

  17. I’m so bored with SNL. I’m tired of seeing the same hosts – I’m tired of seeing the same musical guests. I’m tired of seeing the same not funny sketches. I’m disgusted that Kenan Thompson said what he said but I’m sure whoever writes his check put him up to it. There are plenty of talented Black female comedians out there! Try harder, SNL. Or rather, TRY since you’ve had 38 seasons to give it go. Quick tangent: I think Nasim Pedrad is hilarious but Cecily Strong is not funny. At all. I will seriously miss Seth Myers because honestly he’s the last funny man standing.

    • It’s not so much a question of whether or not there are black female comedians, it’s whether or not they A. can act, B. have experience performing in front of a live audience, C. are versatile performers (Maya Rudolph can sing, do funny voices, physical comedy, etc.) and most importantly, D. be funny for the typical white/whiteish SNL audience. I myself am part ish. If you force me to watch hours of Def Comedy Jam, I’m unlikely to enjoy any of it. Even Chris Rock did sketches lampooning those performers who tended to drop more F bombs than actual jokes.

  18. Tammy says:

    Jessica Williams on The Daily Show would be a good addition

  19. Kira says:

    There is absolutely no validity to Kenan’s argument. Saying that they’re aren’t any funny black women is like saying “white men can’t jump” or “women don’t go to the movies.” It’s more of a statement of ignorance and misinformation that actual fact. Lorne and Co. continue to make the show look foolish and dated by its refusal to hire women of color.

  20. Gemma says:

    You want to see some funny women of color? Go to:
    http://www.comedydivas.com

  21. Austin says:

    I do believe that what America really needs on SNL is a great funny BLACK woman. It is SNL’s job to find that BLACK woman not another white woman. I think that there is definitely a gap in the industry right now for a funny black woman.

      • the girl says:

        Isn’t it their job to provide comedy to a diversified American audience? Isn’t it their standard to make fun of American politicians, celebrities and leaders, categories in which Michelle Obama and other African-American women are included? I am not all that big on seeing people make fun of the First Lady, but ultimately, if SNL is about satirizing American culture, African-Americans are a part of that. Or are they? Maybe I should start there, by asking what do you consider to be American?

  22. Being funny is not the same as being a good comedy sketch writer/actor. Affirmative Action is not something we need to apply to all things. If Black women don’t come to SNL, they shouldn’t have to be told they aren’t doing enough. If Black women show up for an SNL audition and they can’t do a decent sketch or have little to no talent, SNL should hire them just to have a black female on their cast.

    Why does everyone think that just because someone hasn’t hired a minority it means it is not diverse. Maybe that minority isn’t good enough or never tried. Stop insulting people and businesses for things they have no control over. Now, if we hear that 30 black women auditioned and they were all dismissed without a callback, that’s a little more suspect. But there is nothing out there implying any of that.

    • Elf says:

      Your point that “Being funny is not the same as being a good comedy sketch writer/actor” is spot on.

      However, for the rest of what you said, from most accounts, SNL does not just hold open auditions: Michaels and his staff generally scout improv performers, though, obviously there are exceptions. As someone in the original article’s thread wrote, and which I have seen first hand as well, there is not a large black female presence in improv theaters.

      The quandary is that Michaels and team aren’t going where the talented black female performers are. So does that mean that Michaels should be looking elsewhere or that the black female performers should make an effort to go where they’ll be seen by Michaels? (Given who signs the checks, I’d suggest the latter.)

  23. SJ says:

    Oh god, get over yourselves and your political correctness already! Not every show has to have a black guy, an Asian girl, a disabled alien… If the people are funny that should be all that matters. Honestly, America has got to be the only country getting all up in arms over nonsense like this.

    • TV Gord says:

      I don’t disagree with your overall point, but it was kind of embarrassing that Barack Obama was portrayed for several years by someone of a different race. And if being funny was all that mattered, Fred Armisen would never have gotten the job in the first place.

      • Walrus says:

        Fred was just as “racially qualified” (if there is such a thing) to portray the President as Jay is. Lest you forget, the President is bi-racial.

  24. Ewa says:

    Goodness, it’s like reading about the black Doctor again… Let the diversity happen organically, it does not seem that they are purposefully turning potential black female comedy stars away, so stop demanding casting decisions determined only by someone’s skin colour:/ would you rather they cast a token black female and have her stand in the background all season, because she’s not talented enough or not prepared to be in live sketches or even simply does different comedy than SNL does?

  25. JoeF says:

    The problem that a black woman would have getting on SNL is the same as anybody else of any race or gender. The question is “What is the percentage of African-American women trying to get into sketch comedy as compared to everyone else.” I am willing to bet that it’s a fairly small percentage. Factor that in, plus the fact that the main sources of SNL casting (Groundlings, Second City, UCB, Stand Up Comedians) are in very short supply of African-Americans in general, not just women. Then factor in that they are looking for someone who is likely young and unestablished. We may be narrowing this down to single digits now. After all that, they have to be the right fit for the job over so many others. The hope beyond that is that people don’t start saying that the only reason she was hired was because she is a black woman and SNL needed one. That is a lot of pressure. I sure hope that they can find someone who is right for the job, though. The show can use more of a cultural scope (ie. African-American, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern). Funny is funny.

  26. Tran 2.0 says:

    For years, SNL tried to cast a new black female player into the mix and refuse since Maya Rudolph left during the writers’ strike or perhaps they should’ve cast the series first ever Asian American (male or female) player to the cast although they already got Nasim Pedrad. Hope next season could change all of its diversity woes to rest.

  27. timetogo says:

    I agree that they are not trying for more racially diverse women comics.
    But seriously…SNL has had maybe 10 funny shows in the last 10 years.
    I watched it when it started but it is now time for NBC to close the checkbook
    on Lorne Michael’s and let someone new-fresh&funny have a chance.

  28. mfan says:

    All your credibility vanished when you said Miley wasn’t funny. She’s been making people laugh for longer than you’ve had your job. And I don’t mean that in an ironic way. :)

  29. Sam says:

    How bout some Asian ones?

  30. lilkunta says:

    kenan shutup. there are DEFINITELY funny afr am, lorne and co aernt looking.
    Get out of upscale NY and UCB/Chicago. Go to dc, florida, atlanta, watts california. THERE ARE FUNNY AFR AM!

  31. David4 says:

    Guess he hasn’t seen the newest season of Whose Line?

  32. cjeffery7 says:

    let’s be honest, SNL has become far more attractive to white comedians these days than those of color, men or women. lorne is an old white dude who, yes, is hiring the people he thinks are funny, and it’s not that they aren’t, but i think you’re right, michael, SNL needs to cast a wider net, be a little more deliberate in his writing and casting choices. then again, maybe there just aren’t that many comedians of color that are interested in SNL anymore… they haven’t exactly shown extensive interest in nurturing the actors of color on the show, perhaps the most recent exception being putting cecily strong at the update desk.

  33. Jeremy Hochteil says:

    No ready black females is an understatement. Jessica Williams on the Daily show would knock it out of the park if given a chance!

  34. Chris says:

    Women have shined on this show. The truth is Kennan is right. When your casting your casting by talent in a sketch show. And Tim Robinson is one of the funniest guys in the room always makes the room laugh at Wednesday table reads

    • Montavilla says:

      Yes, you want to get the most talented sketch performers you can. But there’s also something to be said for having a diverse company of actors — because it increases the range of what you can write about. The thing is, without a viable black female comedian on the show, they only have three bad options if they want to write a sketch about the Obamas.
      .
      1. They can give the part to one of the black males on the show and have him do the part in drag.
      .
      2. They can give the part of the white females on the show and have her do it in blackface.
      .
      3. They can place a mannequin on the set and have her lines dubbed.

      Or they could simply hire a black comic actress and increase the range of what can be satirized on the show. Not just because they could do both the Obamas, but because –as Michael pointed out — they could add in parodies of shows like “Scandal” and “Sleepy Hollow,” not to mention pop stars like Rihanna and Beyonce.

      One of the reasons Jane Curtain was hired was so that they would have a actress who could play the “straight man.” (As she did most effectively when co-anchoring with Dan Ackroyd.) I’m sure she wasn’t the funniest actress in New York at the time, but she was perfect for what they needed.

  35. Matt says:

    Kenan has played the same character in every sketch he’s ever been in, sporting a big grin in every one of them. Yet he’s been on the show for 10 years and is in pretty much every sketch. If that’s SNL’s standard for quality, you’re really telling me there aren’t any black comediennes who could fit the bill?

  36. Ashley says:

    How about Erica Ash?

    • Bebi says:

      I was just about to mention her name! I went to Emory with her and she is extremely talented and very much “ready”.

  37. John Arthur says:

    SNL pays scale, any black comedienne worth her salt can get work on the dozens of cable black comedies or the one liners on sitcoms. When a sketch show gets a hold on a minority they have a job for life (see Debra Wilson, Tim Meadows, Keenan).

  38. Zoe says:

    Slezak, I agree with you on so many levels. SNL has been a white bread and sausage club for far too long. I think that’s part of the problem. It’s not as funny as it used to be because it’s representing comedy for a demographic that gets slimmer and slimmer by the second.

    • Montavilla says:

      Exactly. It’s not just the cast that would benefit from more diversity. The writers have been stuck in a rut for a few years now. Is it too much to conclude that that began when Tina Fey left? Tina Fey, who was asked to take on the head writer role specifically so that the show would have a strong voice for a female point of view?

  39. Drewer says:

    I don’t think they should go looking for someone of a specific type-they should just hire who they think is funny. Tim Robinson wasn’t great as an actor, but I’ve read multiple articles where other cast members have singled him out for funny the sketches he write are. And one of the new cast members is a writer who just became a cast member. I don’t think the need to have Michelle Obama in a sketch is a reason to hire a black female, they should hire a black female if she is funny. And there have been multiple sketches with black female musical guests-so it’s not like they are apposed to it.
    In the past three seasons (65 episodes, this does not include this season) there have only been four black men host the show (Charles Barkley, Bruno Mars, Jamie Fox, and Kevin Heart) and the percentage of female hosts for the same number of episodes is only 36%. There were only 5 female hosts last season (and 21 episodes). There were 8 and 9 female hosts the two proceeding seasons, with 22 episode seasons each.

  40. fluffernutter says:

    I just think it’s funny that people are crying racism when it was one of the black cast members of SNL that said there were no black comidic women who would fit in on the show. Also there are a lot of peole claiming this is wrong but I want to hear some good suggestions. I’m all for a multi-cultural hosts and cast members. But Thompsan might have a point, if they arent ready there is no reaon to force untalented people, no matter what race, to perform on a very popular show just to appear fair. Give the part too the person who deserves it no matter what their race, and if that is not happening then shame on the peope making thsie decisions..

  41. gocanes says:

    Funny how SNL “can’t find any,” but the Daily Show has Jessica Williams who kills it every week.

  42. Roger says:

    Michael, you are forgetting about Salma Hayek hosting as well. She was great.

  43. Annie says:

    Re:SNL‘s problem with African-American ladies seems to extend to its hosting invites, too — We don’t know who SNL has asked to host. I’m sure people have turned down invitations because they are not comfortable performing live.

  44. Drew says:

    You’re making SNL out to be racists or something. Get over it. This is a very biased, idiotic article. If anything and it’s true, I don’t blame them. Black comedians these days are a dime a dozen, all their jokes consist of is white people this, black people that. Race comedy is no longer original and becoming pretty annoying. And to be honest, a majority of males don’t really find females funny. Not that we’re sexist pigs like you would like to think, but because their comedy never pertains to us and we don’t find it amusing. I’m sure the margin is much greater for women that like male comedians. Male comedians are universal and can pertain to everyone. SNL is just doing what they think will get the most ratings, because after all it is a business and they have to make money. It’s articles like this that cause reason for dumb f**ks like Kanye West to keep racism alive and burning. Terrible job, I hope you get fired.

  45. Bob says:

    “…Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”

    Does anyone remember that the original name for the performers on SNL was “The Not Ready for Prime Time Players”? Doesn’t Lorne believe in mentoring or on-the-job training? No diversity programs at NBC???

  46. Marion says:

    I think it’s not just about black females. It’s about the show’s overall diversity. I’d be happy to see some latinos and asians. The issue is that the current cast is a very flat representation of society. Bringing in diverse characters would make it funnir and more appealing to a wider audience,

  47. RZ says:

    Nyima Funk was on a couple episodes of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” and she was really good.

  48. Veronica Hickman says:

    That is crazy! Get Sherri or Whoopie to hold the Audtions to find some black female comics! Heck I’ll even Audition! ……….call Kim Coles!

  49. Brian Alston says:

    Couple of things: Kenan making a blanket statement is wrong. However we don’t know what all he does for SNL. Maybe Lorne has him reviewing tapes trying to find new talent. Kenan could be sitting in various comedy clubs. As far as giving a person a chance/taking a gamble, SNL isn’t charity. All that being said, SNL, if they don’t, should hold more open auditions and more Black Women should try out.

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