Listen up, everyone—Kenan Thompson knows why there's a lack of black, female comediennes on Saturday Night Live. In a new interview with TV Guide, Thompson explained:
Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, Pharaoh and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. "It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson says. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."
This is untrue, and it's gross to blame the problem on there being an absence of talent, when it's clear that the very opposite is true. Just last month, even Thompson's SNL co-star, Jay Pharoah, suggested a black female comedienne he felt would be perfect for the series, Darmirra Brunson of Tyler Perry's OWN show, Love Thy Neighbor. And what about Issa Rae, who just got her own show on HBO?
SNL has been on the air for 38 years, and in that time, there have only been four black female comediennes: Yvonne Hudson, Danitra Vance, Ellen Cleghorne, and Maya Rudolph. The show's most recent casting shake-up, which saw the addition of six new cast members, included five white men and one white woman. Even worse, when asked what the show does when there's a black female celebrity they want to use in a sketch, Thompson responds they just forgo it all together:
When asked what the show would do now when confronted with potential black female characters or celebrity spoofs, Thompson told TVGuide.com, "I don't know. We just haven't done them. That's what I'm saying. Maybe [Jay Pharaoh] will do it or something, but even he doesn't really want to do it."
While it's not right to say that there needs to be a cast member on the show who's female and black just so the cast can be more diverse, it isn't wrong to recognize when there's a lack of diversity—which is absolutely the case on this show. And blaming the problem on the talent instead of those actually doing the hiring? Come on, dude.
[via TV Guide]