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. tp says:

    Anyone but NeNe Leaks. Literally. ANY. ONE.

    • NeNe Leakes as well. She’s hilarious/awesome. Stay mad!

      • tp says:

        She’s not hilarious to me and quite a few other people. Also, I’m not mad. I guess typing on my phone and missing an “e” in her name is a reason for you to be a jerk. Stay an ass!

        • The only “ass” here is you. lol. Have several seats.

        • ajintexas says:

          She’s not funny and is a terrible actor. But you have to realize that TVLine has jumped full fledged into race baiting recently. They used to just report on TV but all of a sudden they have gotten this idea that they should influence what is on TV and who compromises the cast of each show. Little do they seem to acknowledge the fact that most of what they deem great and worthy of being on TV is generally crap with middling ratings. I can’t take the guy that writes these articles seriously when all he is trying to do is stir the pot and cause controversy where none exists for page views. He will milk this SNL thing for everything it’s worth. At least I still can have respect for the TVbytheNumbers guys as they have yet to go down this road.

          • ajintexas says:

            Also forgot to add, I see 5 or more poeple on their list of people snubbed by SNL that would never agree to host the show in the first place. I count Whoopi in there, but she is also a has been in the comedy world and it’s been that way for quite some time. Some of the others they obviously just put in their because they are black, not because they are comedians. Legitimately there are 3 or 4 people out of those 15 that deserve to host and might accept.

          • tp says:

            I was surprised to see Whoopi on the Justin Bieber episode. Now THAT made me laugh.

          • AC says:

            I don’t think Slezak is causing controversy where there is none; several people have complained about the lack of black women and men on this show (particularly when they were hiring new cast people this year). Thompson’s comments are controversial, and I think a lot of people would disagree with him.

            These sites are for opinions, and they give TV watchers a fun place to discuss these topics; we get to talk about who should have also made this list, who do you not want to see? I don’t think TVline is trying to necessarily “influence what is on TV,” but they ARE giving their opinions about it, and if you don’t want any opinions in your TV news ever… well then you’re probably out of luck, but I hope you can find some outlets.

          • Eurisko says:

            That is a RIDICULOUS list… Are you for real? Who the hell is watching if half of these women were to host? Angela Bassett? is this the 90s? NeNe? Are you for real? Some of these women are funny but it’s about ratings and stars and that one chick from Greys ain’t bringing in the #s.

            come on TVline if you’re going to race bait at least act like you understand SNL.

    • Tom Charles says:

      So with you tp. She’s loud and obnoxious, I don’t know why she’s famous, and we need to stop encouraging her to do things.

    • Summer says:

      My thoughts exactly. I loved the entire list…until NeNe Leaks appeared.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Why is NeNe on the same list as Angela Bassett and Chandra Wilson? Seriously. Anyway, Retta is hilarious. That’ll work.

  2. Slowride says:

    Yes to Whoopi, Yes to Vanessa ! And I’d be very interested to see Beyoncé give it a try too !

  3. abbyhope says:

    also, Mo’Nique, Raven Simone, Amber Riley, Gabrielle Union…

  4. clau.u says:

    Beyoncé would have to be cool with them playing with her ugly photos.

  5. Elizabeth says:


  6. CJ says:

    RETTA. Yes. Make it happen.

  7. the girl says:

    These are great suggestions. I’m surprised comediennes like Whoopi and Wanda Sykes have not hosted SNL in all this time. I would love to see them, as well as Yvette Nicole Brown and Sherri Shepherd.

  8. Austin says:

    Retta and Yvette hosting would be great! I would also appreciate Sherri and Beyonce.

  9. or just end the show & not worry about it

  10. Kathy says:

    Nicey Nash! I think she would be great. I agree with Yvette.

    • lll says:

      +1 for niecy nash. There are so many black women on this list that should host or be a part of the show (Yvette, Aisha, Wanda, Vanessa, Sherri) that it’s a crying shame that SNL didn’t scoop these talented women up sooner. If MADTv can find them, SNL can too. The list proves to me that they aren’t trying.

  11. Beyonce would be legendary as NPH would say. Chandra Wilson, Jennifer Hudson and Aisha Tyler would all be great too. Other picks: Amber Riley, Jordin Sparks, Naya Rivera, Mindy Kaling and Shay Mitchell :D

    • JON says:

      Naya Rivera, Mindy Kaling and Shay Mitchell aren’t black.

      • bd says:

        Naya’s mom is black (and also German, to be accurate). Mindy & Shay aren’t to my knowledge, but since we’re talking about diversity why not expand the rainbow.

        • Snsetblaze says:

          I was thinking the same thing. There is a lack of cast members of any other minority as well. The only one I can think of recently is Nasim Pedrad.

    • Meg says:

      While Mindy Kaling hasn’t been on the show, she does have a hilarious short story about when she was a guest writer and got Amy Poehlered.

  12. Babybop says:

    Oh my goodness, Retta would be awesome. Get her on! Also, Sherri Shepherd and Yvette Nicole Brown are good picks.

  13. Mel says:

    I say hell yes to any and all but NeNe. Please none of that. She’s not even an actress and the rest of the women on the list have so much more talent.

    • flutiefan says:

      according to her stints on Glee and The New Normal, she is indeed an actress….whether you like it or not.

      • Ryan Murphy’s boner for reality housewives does not an actress make. Let’s see her get cast in a role to be taken seriously and not a couple of carbon copy roles gift-wrapped by Murphy where she basically plays a version of herself.

        • Jax says:

          Sorry, being cast on a scripted television series does indeed make her an actress. However, it doesn’t mean she is a good one.

  14. ggny says:

    Anyone else sad this is the best list of Female African Americans that can be put together? Its nothing against TVLine it just i hate to say it but Kenan was right…

    • Aeol says:

      Actually, I think this is a great list. Are you referring to the poor representation of black leading actresses in general? Because yeah, that sucks.

    • Mark says:

      Kenan was talking about a different problem than this list addresses. I don’t know how accurate his observations are, but I do know that Aisha Tyler should have been a cast regular 10 years ago.

  15. collins says:

    i literally agree with every single one of these suggestions. it would be interesting to see how nene plays outside of her acerbic wheelhouse.

  16. guest says:

    um… why isn’t octavia spencer on that list?!?!?

  17. john says:

    Drake would be a great black female host.

  18. Retta is everything. I love her so much. Gina Torres would be great too. Her straight faced sarcasm in Firefly always makes me happy.

  19. Karen says:

    Yvette Nicole Brown -PUH-lease!!!!! She is just all kinds of awesome

  20. will says:

    Wanda Sykes FTW!

  21. j says:

    I remember watching something from Melanie Comarcho a while back and I thought she was hilarious. I don’t know if her humor is for everyone but she could probably be on this list

  22. wjrxyz says:

    Why does SNL have to address this issue?

    • et al says:

      Because Good Burger Thompson opened his big, fat, no-talent mouth.

    • J. says:

      Because they made it an issue by neglecting to invite any black women to host the show, and think it was okay for Kenan to just “Madea” every black woman representation for the show. Not that this list is great considering it appears to have just been thrown together as one commenter mentioned. What about Octavia Spencer, Queen Latifah, Regina King, a number of female musicians…

    • cjeffery7 says:

      maybe because it’d be nice to see some diversity in mass media that reflects the world we live in today? social responsibility, anyone?

    • Kristi N says:

      Because SNL is racist and needs to fix itself.

      • Josh says:

        Really, Kristi? SNL is racist because it hired the funniest people who auditioned, and they happened to not be black men? While more diversity would be nice, SNL isn’t racist because their funniest auditioners have been white. Someone shouldn’t be offered such a high profile comedic job just to fit a racial quota. Why aren’t there any eastern Asian cast members? Physically handicapped? Red haired? If someone is a dud in comedic chops, no one wins, not the show or the audience.

    • Alex says:

      It doesn’t, plain and simple. If people don’t like the cast, they can just not watch. But that would be far too mature of an approach for many, unfortunately.

  23. Yes to all of these! I’d especially love to see Retta, Rashida Jones, and Yvette Nicole Brown. And ooh, Gina Torres! That’s a really great suggestion.

  24. LyndaR says:

    Oh please. You people are too much. So you sat down and checked off every African American woman you could think of currently on TV show to you’re on the diversity bandwagon. By the way you’ve missed Queen Latifah. Here’s a question for TV Line and all of the online TV critics: How many African American women are among the TV critics? How many African American men? We won’t even get into Hispanic or Asian representation. Ya’ll be cool…..

    • ajintexas says:

      How many African American women write for this site? I know of one who does the reality wrap up thing with Slezak but that’s about it. Have never seen a black guy write anything on this site. They are just trying to be trendy liberals voicing their concern for others while not being too diverse themselves. Unless you count a bunch of white guys and girls diverse because a few are gay.

  25. flutiefan says:

    i think all of these (except the 2 i’ve never heard of) would be great. i think a lot of people would be great, regardless of gender or skin color. i just want good performers!

    several of these suggestions have ties to NBC, which would also be great cross-promotion for the network.

    i also think it’s fun when people you don’t think of as performers take a shot at something like this (per your example, someone like Eli Manning — whom i admittedly can’t stand, but hey he tried).

  26. Walter says:

    No one is watching (or not watching) SNL because it doesn’t have a black woman on it.

  27. jour4790 says:

    Do not lump Miley with Taylor Lautner and Eli Manning. If you want someone who isn’t funny, go with Bruce Willis

  28. Rae says:

    I am Jennifer Hudson’ed out. But I agree with everyone else.

  29. tp says:

    I don’t regularly watch SNL. Mostly when there’s a musical guest I want to see. SNL does lack diversity. They don’t just need black people but people of color in general. More black hosts really doesn’t seem like it would help out much. They just need more funny people.

  30. Josh says:

    Angela Basset has never hosted SNL? REALLY? That really surprises me.

  31. Why can’t you people get over race and sex? This obsession with worrying about somebody’s skin color is so tiresome. Just hire the best people for the job. The. End.

    Angela Bassett should SNL? Why? She hasn’t been a relevant name in entertainment in 15 years but she should SNL only based on her skin color? What racist non-sense.

    • trimaran12 says:

      Because black women have been large part of pop culture for decades. It’s strange to not have one on the show. We have current musical artists like Beyonce and Rihanna. Black women are the female leads on two currently popular shows (Scandal and Sleepy Hollow). The current First Lady is black. And so on.

    • Mike R. says:

      When you add such a large number of new cast members, 6 this season, and all of them are white, people start wonder.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        And five of them are men. (I realize that they have added several good women over the past few years so there are not as many spots.)

    • Alex says:

      It sure is nonsense. Insisting that some “quota” be filled benefits no one and is actually unfair. Don’t like a cast? Don’t watch. That’s the mature approach, not this whining and crying crap.

  32. Ron says:

    Retta and Yvette — PLEASE!!! Screw SNL, I want a show with Retta and Yvette discussing television. You can tell both (especially Yvette) has an appreciation for all things TV. And as someone who loves TV and loves Retta and Yvette, I totally want a ‘Soup’-esque show with this two and TV. But instead of mocking TV, discussing it. But them on SNL will do in the mean time. But TV execs, GET ON MY RETTA & YVETTE REQUEST ASAP!!!

  33. Tony says:

    Chandra Willson would be great! She sings and has a background in stage theatre. Might be the beginning of a second act for her once Grey’s is over.

  34. Lucky says:

    I’m surprised at you Michael for snarking in Eli Manning. Not cool to kick someone when they are down :(

  35. Morgan says:

    Rashida should definitely host!

  36. Just sayin says:

    I’m shocked Whoopi has never hosted. I’d add Queen Latifah and Sanaa Lathan to that list. I also love Taraji P Henson as well.

  37. Leah says:

    Yeesh. The commenters on this site have gone bonkers.

    I think its a good list. Of course the list doesn’t include every single working African American woman. Its a short list of funny working African American women who could probably carry SNL for a week.

  38. Brad says:

    Audra McDonald and all of the fantastic, talented women listed in all of the above and below posts.

  39. Karl says:

    sherri sheppard should be banned from both daytime and primetime tv.

  40. Johan Smithe says:

    This list is a great example of diversity, considering the only minority in existence is black people. Not the fabled “La-tin-o” or legendary “A-sian” or even the mythical “In-di-an.” Nope, the only way to address diversity issues is to hire black people. Great list, TV Line.

  41. Gilda says:

    How has Whoopi Goldberg not hosted yet?

  42. tamoruso@cw.edu says:


  43. Lauren says:

    I know she isn’t African American but Mindy Kaling really needs a chance to host! And speaking of women of color, Lucy Liu!

  44. Lori says:

    I’m shocked Whoopi Goldberg has never hosted. How can that be? And Sherri Shepard would be fabulously funny! Vanessa Williams would be great too!

  45. cjeffery7 says:

    adding to your list and recapping these comments a bit:
    Serena Williams
    Audrea McDonald
    MIndy Kaling
    Lucy Lui
    Queen Latifah
    Gina Torres
    Melanie Comarcho
    Octavia Spencer
    Regina King
    Amber Riley
    Jordin Sparks
    Naya Rivera
    Shay Mitchell
    Neicy Nash
    Raven Simone
    Gabrielle Union
    it pains me to say it but a Kardashian? though maybe they learned they’re lesson with Paris Hilton… anywho… that’s all for now.

  46. Booger says:

    Aisha Tyler!!!!! FTFW!

  47. erin says:

    Yvette, Wanda, Retta, and Aisha would all be AMAZING choices! Mindy definitely needs to host as well (which would hopefully add more viewers to The Mindy Project, my favorite comedy on the air!). Chandra is hilarious with the funny material written for Bailey but I doubt the SNL writers could write sketches for her very well besides an obvious Grey’s parody. NeNe Leakes was funny on The New Normal but I don’t think she’s a very good actress. Also, not women but still racially diverse: Donald Glover and/or Danny Pudi!!!

  48. Andre says:

    I’m actually surprised that Aisha Tyler hasn’t hosted at all. More surprised that Queen Latifah isn’t on the list but NeNe Leakes is.

  49. Josh Emerson says:

    Debra Wilson. She was hilarious on MadTV and would be a great full-time cast member for SNL. Why not?! Taran Killam was on MadTV years ago and is now on SNL. He wasn’t quite as featured as Debra, but still. She would help the show a lot.

  50. april-ann says:

    Maya Rudolph is black? Rashida Jones is black?