Kenan Thompson Doesn't Regret 'SNL' Diversity Comments

Thompson caused a stir when people believed he was claiming black women weren't ready for 'SNL.'

keenan thompson

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keenan thompson

Kenan Thompson doesn't regret what he said about Saturday Night Live's diversity problem. 

In a largely glowing Washington Post profile about the comedy institution's long-serving glue man, Thompson revisited the controversy he created when he said that the folks at Saturday Night Live "never find [black women] who are ready."

Thompson said the quote was misconstrued as a dig on black women in comedy. “I would never in my life disrespect my culture like that, or my sisters. What I did want to do was better prepare people for that experience,” he said. “I had been in business for years at that point, and I still didn’t really know how to approach that place.”

The controversy led to the hiring of Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones, and Thompson said he was more than happy to deal with a minor controversy for that exchange. “If I have to be the villain for them to hire some women up here, I will be that,” he said.

Thompson is once again decrying the lack of diversity in comedy at a high level. With his new NBC sitcom fast approaching, Thompson noted there are very few black-owned production companies that specialize in comedy. He said this leads to a dearth of roles for comedic black actors. Thompson is doing his part by producing the All That reboot and the competition show Bring The Funny, but finds that the world can still feel like it was built for other people. 

“It’s almost like the SATs,” Thompson said. “Like I have to do great at a test that doesn’t really suit my upbringing and what I’m familiar with.” 

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