15 Black Women Who Should Be on Saturday Night Live's Hosting Shortlist

When Kenan Thompson told TVGuide.com this week that Saturday Night Live avoids comedy-rich targets like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé, Sleepy Hollow and Scandal because finding funny black female sketch comics is “just a tough part of the business,” all we could do was wince.

And then, when we decided to look at the numbers, we got really exasperated. In 38 years on the air, SNL has ony had four black female cast members; perhaps just as shocking, in the last 90 episodes alone, only two black women (Gabourey Sidibe and Maya Rudolph) have hosted. (For those of you wondering “What’s the big deal?”, let’s be honest — it’s not like NBC’s long-running late-night comedy show has been slaying it in the last couple years. A whopping 68% of TVLine readers gave last Saturday’s installment a grade of C or lower, so perhaps a little soul-searching wouldn’t hurt?)

RELATED | Kerry Washington to Host Saturday Night Live

Lorne Michaels & Co. took a small step towards addressing the show’s embarrassing track record when it announced today that the fabulous Kerry Washington will emcee the festivities for SNL‘s Nov. 2 episode, but we’re not entirely satisfied. To help keep SNL on its toes, we’ve put together a list of 15 funny black women whom Michaels should put in the hosting mix as Season 39 continues. A few of ’em are buzzy stars who’d be sure to draw eyeballs; a couple are legendary funny gals whose omission from the show’s illustrious roster of hosts is almost blasphemous.

Read on for our picks, then hit the comments and tell us which women of color you’d hire to follow in the recent comic* footsteps of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Lautner and Eli Manning. (*Sarcasm alert)

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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  1. Lisa says:

    Why do we need to focus on diversity in casting? Why can’t we simply focus on the best person to play the part regardless of race? Also, according to the US Census the population of the US that is African American is only 13% so why is the NAACP trying to get every show to use black characters? There are more Hispanics in the US than there are blacks! And why is Hollywood trying to push pairings of white men and black women? I only know two white man who would date a black woman! I don’t know many black men who want to date black women either so clearly dating is a challenge for black women but is it Hollywood’s job to try and change that? Wouldn’t it be better for Hollywood to encourage black women not to focus on men but on education and birth control?

  2. Jody says:

    Don’t see why we need to focus on getting black women to host but if we do then please no NeNe Leaks! She has zero talent! I like the black actress who plays Epiphany on General Hospital and she is funny! Why isn’t she on this list?

  3. DavidSask says:

    Wanda and Aisha are a must but you lost so much credibility in your profession by suggestion of Nene Leaks, extreme shame you should be feeling!!

  4. Jay says:

    Kelly Rowland please!
    Toni or Tamar Braxton!

    And I agree with the above posters. Rettta NEEDS to host

  5. Saabgirlatx says:

    I love this list for hosts and the other suggestions, but I thought Keenan was referring to a lack of black female comics to be on the cast? Can’t really hide the fact the cast lacks diversity…

  6. sn says:

    Aisha Tyler was my first thought

  7. JAMANDAFAN says:


  8. TJ says:

    Hey, author, what is your problem with Miley Cyrus and Taylor Lautner?
    it’s a personal dislike?
    admit it, it’s obvious.

  9. dude says:

    Hell yes to Beyonce, Vanessa Williams, Nene, Yvette, Aisha and Rhetta.

  10. LaLa says:

    I saw the list, and said, OF COURSE – Vanessa Williams. Angela Bassett, not so much. NeNe Leakes – after her time on The New Normal – I think she could pull it off. She can’t be much worse than what’s been happening on SNL lately.
    I really couldn’t care, however. I don’t watch SNL. Not because of the lack of diversity, but because it’s just not funny. But that’s probably due to the lack of diversity. I mean, not only do they need to re-make the cast, but they’ll probably want to re-make the writing staff as well.

  11. JON says:

    Tyra Banks!

  12. jw says:

    Slezak, you’re just naming black women you like.

  13. Olive says:

    Pick someone current. Angela Bassett? Seriously, who is tuning in to see her on SNL? Now, any of the fabulous A.A. actresses on Orange Is The New Black is another story. Can you see Danielle Brooks or Uzo Aduba hosting? Perfect! People may not know their names now, but SNL would give them a whole new platform.

  14. TL says:

    WOW…this has really blown up to be a bigger deal than it needs to be.

  15. exfromtheleft says:

    Nene is in there but not taraji from person of interest? really? what a diss!

  16. Beans628 says:

    Retta would be PERFECT!!! Angela Bassett would be interesting. I would love to see Whoopi do it, too.

  17. Lisa says:

    Ok, for the posters who questioned Angela Bassett. Um, you of course know she has had a great movie career and is currently tearing it up as Marie Laveau on American Horror Story.
    Also, it’s astounding the racists comments that are coming from some of the posters on here And the truly scary thing is they probably don’t think they are (racist).

    Yes I believe that all around they need to have a more diverse group on SNL. But I think the original discussion was about “BLACK” actresses and comedians.

  18. tamoruso@cw.edu says:


  19. Pam Fangs says:

    Black celebrities need to avoid SNL altogether, just drive around it like road kill. Don’t host, don’t be musical guests; a good long boycott will get SNLs attention.

  20. Bob says:

    Michael – While I’m glad to see that you’re trying to help SNL diversify their hosting gigs, that isn’t really where the kerfuffle started. Unless I missed it, where is your ‘Top 15 List of Black Female Comedians Who Could Join The Cast’? That’s been the real issue all along.

  21. Baer says:

    I’ll add Raven Symone, Loni Love or an unknown and what about Margret Cho?

  22. Anastasia says:

    Cast members are mostly needed not just the hosts. Plus most of the current members are not exactly funny.

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