By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 16, 2013 at 2:41PM
This is so laughable.
I should first note that I haven't watched an episode of Saturday Night Live in a long time (the series lost me years ago), but, given what I do for a living, I do try to stay abreast of any related developments that might be of interest to readers of this blog, given its focus.
So, I'll start with this, before giving you the news. How many black women cast members has SNL had in its history? Four (4) in its 38-year history: Yvonne Hudson, Danitra Vance, Ellen Cleghorne, and finally Maya Rudolph.
None since 2007, when Maya Rudolph left the show. That's about 1 black woman cast member every 9 to 10 years. The first 2 were on for no more than 2 seasons, during the early to mid-1980s; Cleghorne was on for about 4 in the early 1990s; and Rudolph carried the torch from 2000 to 2007.
You can count them all on one hand. And there were large gaps between each's tenure as "Black Woman On SNL This Season," meaning there were many years during the show's 38-year run, when there wasn't a single black woman cast member.
Not that black male cast members have fared well. In total, over the series' 38 years, it's seen about 11 black male comedians pass through, including the most recent in Jay Pharoah.
But I single out black female cast members because, in part, the show so CLEARLY needs to have one. Just one, at least! For the last 6 years, since Rudolph left, whenever a skit involved a character that was black and female, she would either be played by the show's guest host (assuming the guest host was black and a woman, which was rare), or by whomever the black male cast member was during that season, as we saw Kenan Thompson do more than a few times during his tenure.
Why not just add a black woman comic to the series cast? There isn't exactly a shortage of them. I'm sure there are tons of black women comics in the USA who'd love to be given the opportunity. What's so challenging about the idea, especially when it's clearly something you need to have?
I just don't get it. What am I missing here folks? Enlighten me if you can.
Over the weekend, NBC and producer of the series, Lorne Michaels, announced the addition of six new SNL cast members, in what is being described as an overhaul, after the departures of Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis, who've moved on to bigger and better things I suppose.
The six additions are: Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, Mike O'Brien, Noel Wells & Brooks Wheelan.
And yes, every single one of them is white, as you can see in the image compilation above.
A series that I haven't found funny at all in a very long time, could certainly use some fresh blood, who'll hopefully bring some novel ideas for content. But producers of the show are clearly out of touch, if they can't recognize how a diverse cast (and not just adding one black person), full of comedians who are funny, and who bring an edge, and danger to the series, that I think is sorely missing, could bring SNL back to prominence... maybe.
If anyone reading this ever gets to interview Lorne Michaels, please press him on this, because I'm really curious to know what his thinking is here.