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 (142)

  • 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?

    Comment by Lisa – October 16, 2013 09:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I’m so confused… Did you just need a place to rant off your generalizations??

      Comment by ... – October 16, 2013 11:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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?

    Comment by Jody – October 16, 2013 09:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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!!

    Comment by DavidSask – October 16, 2013 10:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Kelly Rowland please!
    Toni or Tamar Braxton!

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

    Comment by Jay – October 16, 2013 10:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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…

    Comment by Saabgirlatx – October 16, 2013 10:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Aisha Tyler was my first thought

    Comment by sn – October 16, 2013 11:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Retta!!

    Comment by JAMANDAFAN – October 16, 2013 11:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hey, author, what is your problem with Miley Cyrus and Taylor Lautner?
    it’s a personal dislike?
    admit it, it’s obvious.

    Comment by TJ – October 17, 2013 02:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hell yes to Beyonce, Vanessa Williams, Nene, Yvette, Aisha and Rhetta.

    Comment by dude – October 17, 2013 06:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by LaLa – October 17, 2013 06:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Tyra Banks!

    Comment by JON – October 17, 2013 08:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Slezak, you’re just naming black women you like.

    Comment by jw – October 17, 2013 09:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Olive – October 17, 2013 09:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • WOW…this has really blown up to be a bigger deal than it needs to be.

    Comment by TL – October 17, 2013 10:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nene is in there but not taraji from person of interest? really? what a diss!

    Comment by exfromtheleft – October 17, 2013 11:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Retta would be PERFECT!!! Angela Bassett would be interesting. I would love to see Whoopi do it, too.

    Comment by Beans628 – October 17, 2013 01:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Lisa – October 17, 2013 01:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by tamoruso@cw.edu – October 17, 2013 01:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Pam Fangs – October 27, 2013 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Bob – November 1, 2013 06:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ll add Raven Symone, Loni Love or an unknown and what about Margret Cho?

    Comment by Baer – November 5, 2013 06:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cast members are mostly needed not just the hosts. Plus most of the current members are not exactly funny.

    Comment by Anastasia – November 10, 2013 09:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
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