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Three Funny Women-Of-Color Who Are Ready For A Stage Like 'SNL'

by Emmanuel Akitobi
October 16, 2013 9:05 AM
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Considering the recent conversation regarding whether or not Saturday Night Live player Kenan Thompson is correct in his assertion that women-of-color are absent from that show's cast due to their unreadiness in auditions, I thought I'd revisit a post from last year that highlighted the talents of several funny women-of-color who are indeed ready for primetime.

I think it's time for funny women like Claudia M. Wallace, Leslie "Big Les" Jones, and Anjelah Johnson to get a shot at making us laugh on a grander stage like SNL's.

Claudia M. Wallace

She's an alum of the famed Second City comedy troupe who has had small roles in films and TV shows such as Nothing Like The Holidays and Hung.

Leslie "Big Les" Jones

She's a veteran stand-up comic who has appeared in films such as Russ Parr's Something Like A Business, and whose debut stand-up DVD, Problem Child, will have you rolling.

Anjelah Johnson

This Latina-- a former NFL cheerleader-- had a brief, but memorable, run on FOX's MADtv, and has produced a hilarious stand-up DVD titled That's How We Do It!

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  • Parker664 | January 9, 2014 6:43 AMReply

    Good call on Leslie Jones being a good fit at SNL. Hopefully she'll get some time in front of the camera, too. Anjelah Johnson would be great, too, but I guess no MADtv alums allowed.

  • Nuyorican95 | January 29, 2014 1:53 AM

    Current cast member Taran Killam is the second former MADtv alum after Jeff Richards to become a cast member on Saturday Night Live. I would love to see Anjelah Johnson on SNL.

  • YesMa'am | October 21, 2013 6:22 PMReply

    Youtube "Sharaé Nikai Acting Reel". Another Afr-Amer female comedic actress on the rise.

  • YesMa'am | October 21, 2013 6:25 PM

    Correction: "Sharae Nikai Acting Reel". She's on IMdB, too.

  • Sleepyhead4life | October 21, 2013 11:36 AMReply

    How did this get turned into a "women of color" conversation? Kenan specifically bashed black women and threw them under the bus, not "women of color". And the black women featured are way too seasoned to be on SNL anyway. If this specific racio-misogyny is going to be used as a template, then at least give black women the respect to not conflate this into including non-black women in the conversation. Ms. Wilson gave a very nuanced interview where she eliminated herself from consideration to working on SNL and stated if Lorne Michaels was having a problem with the women auditioning that was a separate issue from any claims that there weren't any funny and qualified black women potential cast members.

  • Terrence Pore | October 22, 2013 9:07 PM

    Of course somebody WOULD have to come on here and be devisive. Now people of color have to fight their own fights? Just like black women, that show would be so much better with our Latina, Asian, and Native American sisters, too. But I guess they don't matter to a proud black person like yourself, right?

  • Sharon Ball | October 18, 2013 7:54 PMReply

    These ladies are the funniest comedienne's I've heard in a longtime. As for the SNL comment regarding lack of women of color representation, truth is SNL lacks funny comedians period, male or female, black, brown, or white. SNL hasn't been funny in a very long time. I'ts like one of those old bars in your neighbor that use to pack them in back in the day, you'd miss it if were gone but you don't plan on ever going while it's still open.

  • Shak | October 17, 2013 7:50 PMReply

    Ever since I saw Skye Townsend's Beyonce video I thought, if given the chance, she could breath some new life into SNL.

  • Yes | October 22, 2013 8:33 PM

    I agree ... Skye Townsend is definitely funny. I'd be interested in seeing her play a comedic role in a sketch comedy or scripted tv show.

  • Bforreal | October 16, 2013 11:49 PMReply

    Debra Wilson. She convinced me that MadTV was always the better show. She could run circles around many of the SNL cast. End of story.

  • Akimbo | October 16, 2013 2:23 PMReply

    WTF is y'all doing? You repurpose an old article and import the old comments, rendering many of them off-topic? That's really, really weird.

    Aaantyways, Angela Yarbrough, Robin Thede, and Nikea Gamby-Turner (in that order) of sketch troupe Elite Delta Force 3 are ready and MadTV alumna Danielle Gaither (of the Groundlings' The Black Version) and Nicole Randall Johnson would light that shit up.

  • Kelly | October 18, 2013 7:01 AM

    You're welcome, boo. Glad you can laugh through them lips.

    Anywayz, I never heard of any of them names you mentioned. I'm not a fan of Big Leslie either. She's kind of vulgar. Claudia and Angela are funny though. I think they are ready for TV.

  • Akimbo | October 18, 2013 2:51 AM

    Thanks for the laugh, "Kelly." I like your random and inaccurate style.

  • Ashley | October 16, 2013 10:27 PM

    Yes! I like Danielle Gaither. She was on the short-lived The Rerun Show as well as MADtv.

  • Kelly | October 16, 2013 9:39 PM

    Oh, you mad because your previous comments make you look like you don't know what's going on? Get over yourself, bimbo.

  • Ashley | October 16, 2013 11:20 AMReply

    I LOVE Big Les!! She is so funny! I still think Debra Wilson is one of the best sketch artists around.

  • Muse | October 16, 2013 4:51 PM

    Debra Wilson could single-handedly resurrect SNL.

    I also second Jay Pharaoh's vote for Darmirra Brunson, though I think it's unlikely that they'd ever hire someone that gorgeous to be on SNL, because supermodel-type black comedic actresses would be perceived as too much of a threat on several fronts (see Aisha Tyler...and this is all part of the larger issue of "pretty women can't be funny" which is why women like Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johanssen are virtually never cast as comedic leads). All three of the ladies highlighted in this post are funny, but Claudia Williams is the only one I could see being a good fit for SNL.

  • CalArtian citizen | October 16, 2013 10:49 AMReply

    Not to mention Bresha Webb killing it on Love That Girl!
    She's also a CalArts alum.

  • lilkunta | October 17, 2013 9:30 PM

    bresha webb on Love That girl is an abomination.
    That ghetto girl stereotype is trash.
    We dont need that image on screen.

  • Troy | October 16, 2013 7:52 PM

    Bresha Webb got her own show, commercials, and Talk Soup.

  • CalArtian Citizen | October 16, 2013 10:47 AMReply

    Brilliant writer of her one woman show 'The Morning Aftershow" that premiered in LA last year.
    She's Kanye West, RuPaul and Sandra Bernhard mashed together. Also was a cast member on the new In Living Color. Check into her!

  • bohemian princess | October 16, 2013 9:48 AMReply

    I was about to throw Gina Yashere's hat in the ring but I noticed someone already did from last year. She's not American but I personally think she's funnier than all these women and doesn't necessarily go for the low hanging fruit when it comes to jokes.

  • Wyatt | March 13, 2012 3:48 PMReply

    Claudia Wallace is hilarious. LMAO!@!! Big Bad Love should be a series for sure! She cracks me up

  • Lisa | March 13, 2012 1:29 PMReply

    Not enough people know about Leslie Jones! She. Is. Incredible!

  • anon | March 11, 2012 4:57 PMReply

    god is this what aa women call comedy it was distasteful. Gina yashere -a brit is really good, funny and NOT sterotypical apparently shes doing well over here.

  • Trent | March 11, 2012 5:13 PM

    Man, please. Gina Yashere is not that funny. And what exactly is she doing so well over here?

  • Monique A. Williams | March 10, 2012 10:27 AMReply

    These play on stereotypes, so I'm not so hung ho about them getting their own vehicles. That Second City clip tho had me laughing out loud.

    And Bon Qui Qui's music video is no less ridiculous than the music out right now. Fits right into the landscape.

  • Shaahn | March 9, 2012 5:49 PMReply

    I love anjelah Johnson. I never saw this video. Too cute

  • BluTopaz | March 8, 2012 11:33 PMReply

    Bon Qui Qui is hilarious.

  • Akelah | March 8, 2012 3:45 PMReply

    I would like to see a black comedienne in her own show not depending on played out stereotypes to be appealing to the mainstream..the last actress (with her own show) I can think of who did goofy, funny character work well was Raven-Symone.

  • Cherish | March 8, 2012 1:53 PMReply

    Trying to decide if I was insulted by BIG BAD LOVE. What the hell - that sh*t was funny LOL.
    Good luck to ladies here.

  • mf | March 8, 2012 4:08 PM

    omg that was soooo funny!! i always wondered what would happen if a black woman 'invaded' one of those mutiple wives marriages. i'm sure when i stop laughing i'll be righteously offended

  • Miles Ellison | March 7, 2012 9:41 PMReply

    I don't think Leslie Jones is all that funny, but she's a comic genius compared to Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler. They're hot garbage.

  • Akimbo | March 7, 2012 7:23 PMReply

    The studio behind Mindy Kaling's untitled comedy pilot is Universal, as in NBC Universal. Just because the show would air on Fox doesn't mean her parent company has completely abandoned her. I like Michelle Wallace, but am not as big on the other two comediennes. I would actually love to see Retta (of Parks & Rec) and writer/performer Angela Yarbrough (of Elite Delta Force 3, The Message, & co-writer of that Wayne Brady/Crispus Attucks vid) in their own vehicles; I love their senses of humor.

  • Jug | March 7, 2012 7:32 PM

    Akimbo, you're right. Mindy's pilot is in the final stage of casting-was a breakdown today as a matter of fact. It being at FOX is inconsequential. Matter of fact, it makes sense. Kevin Reilly runs FOX & he brought in most of the dev team for FOX, all old NBC people. The ones that put THE OFFICE & all that on the air-you go where your friends will hook you up. There are a slew of female centered comedy & drama pilots coming this season. Everyone wants another 2 BROKE GIRLS. Even Reba McEntire & Roseanne Barr have pilots this season. NOW....ask me how many women of COLOR have pilots this year...whoops :-/ LOL

  • Tamara | March 7, 2012 4:35 PMReply

    I'm not too shocked by NBC. They seem to be both diverse but not at the same time. I don't get the "Whitney" show. "Community" has to go the way of the samurai while "Whitney" lives on. Even the "Out Sourced" show didn't survive and that played to the multi-cultural/colorfulness that NBC has been pretty good with displaying in their series. But then again that show all around sucked and I digress. There are plenty African-American/Black comediennes that I would love to see have their own show; heck, their own stand-up shows (where you at Comedy Central?), but it's not happening for whatever reason. I yearn for the days of "Living Single", "Half & Half", "Girlfriends". There was an obvious audience for those shows and those women represented dramatically and comedically quite well. Thanks for the post. I'll have to review some of these clips later.

  • lilkunta | October 17, 2013 9:32 PM


  • Akimbo | March 7, 2012 9:06 PM

    Yeah, Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea are both garbage. I'm all for female-led comedy, but the fact that those two shows are on the same network as 30 Rock and Parks & Rec (let alone the ever-so-brilliant Community) is mind-boggling.

  • Steven | March 7, 2012 1:23 PMReply

    Good article Emmanuel. I always wonder what other comedic actresses of color are out there. I'm somewhat shocked that NBC didn't at least greenlight a pilot with Mindy Kaling.

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