'Saturday Night Live' Adds 6 New Cast Members Which Is Nice. But What's Wrong w/ This Picture?

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
September 16, 2013 2:41 PM
106 Comments
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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.

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106 Comments

  • LOL | December 31, 2013 8:26 PMReply

    lol, kill yourself for real!

  • LOL | December 31, 2013 8:25 PMReply

    pathetic, homely, broke ass white people always looking for someone to blame for their misfortune. sorry you're not one of the "good ones," jenn.

    if this is all you've got on new year's eve, go ahead and eat the bullet.

  • wooooozee | December 9, 2013 2:04 AMReply

    solution: something akin to "in living color". in this closed society, where only one voice is celebrated, artists have to create their own platforms. like in living color, they end up being much more raw, much truer to the "people's voice". any given night at the apollo or at my hairdresser's or in a room getting ready to go with the girls is funnier than the mediocre stuff coming out of SNL. and folks, go see live shows. there are comics of all stripes and points of view at a small spot in a neighborhood near you. pay the 50 bucks it might cost to support local artists and have a great night in a space devoted to making folks laugh. it will be worth every penny.

  • JulieB | November 19, 2013 10:47 PMReply

    I've watched this crap from day one, and I don't remember Yvonne Hudson at all. When exactly do they claim she was on?

  • setsunna | November 10, 2013 12:38 PMReply

    Snl is garbage and has been for a long time. But I for one am sick of all of these shows either casting the "token", or avoiding casting one altogether for the sake of having a "more successful" show. I don't watch much TV because of this and when I do I can't help but play the "how many blacks can you find" game. It makes me sick.

  • Greg | November 4, 2013 7:16 AMReply

    Exactly! I'm curious as to why the defacto minority
    has to be black and I personally find it hilarious
    when female characters are played by male cast members.

  • Cristalexi | November 2, 2013 3:49 AMReply

    @BLUTOPAZ said "The majority of America is rapidly becoming the minority" - Your comment is totally ridiculous and makes no sense as it stands but I shall rephrase it: The majority of "white people in" America is rapidly becoming the minority

    Its very interesting how you see America as being only white people because you feel you don't need to add "white people". Furthermore, when you refer to "minority" you must be referring to non-white people because you are saying "majority of America" (white people to you) "is rapidly becoming minority" (so the current minority has to be non-white). Very interesting thought pattern here that sees "America" only as white people.

    May I remind you that white people stole "America" from the "original Americans" who were not white. Said "original Americans" were the majority until white people committed genocide on them and MADE them the "minotiry". Seems like we have gone full circle here only the MAJOR difference is that non-white people are rapdly becoming the majority by just living a normal peaceful life, working hard, having families, etc. whereas white people became the majority by force and brutality. And who calls who the savages?

  • Emily | December 13, 2013 4:07 AM

    You're an idiot. You tried to correct someone's grammar and made it incorrect. You can't say "the majority of 'white people in' America is rapidly becoming the minority" for three reasons.
    1. When you replace a marked portion within a quote you do not surround it with quotes, you surround it with parens, [like this.]
    2. It would be the majority of white people…are…
    3. When you say the majority of white people are rapidly becoming the minority, what you are actually saying is that only a large portion OF the white population are moving to become the minority population. Oh, really? What are the rest of them doing? Just hanging out?

    The person you "corrected" was right the first time. It is correct to say the majority of America is rapidly becoming the minority, because whites have long held a majority of the population in the US and are moving towards becoming a plurality, meaning less than half but still more than anyone else.

    Oh, right - don't be such a dick to people who are just trying to give a viewpoint unless you are prepared to have a copy editor tell you that you're a moron.

  • Kim | September 29, 2013 1:45 PMReply

    I love SNL very much and I was especially excited about
    The new season because of Tina Fey as the host
    And the new cast-members.Plus,I started watching
    Stand-up on youtube and discovered many comedians.
    Having discovered many comedians of different
    Ethnicities and religions who were very funny,I
    Expected some of them to be on SNL.Like everyone
    Here,I was truly disapointed when I saw the intro.
    SNL NEEDS diversity.It would bring a lot of good
    To the show.I don't agree with the people who
    Think that black people or asians aren't interested
    Into getting in SNL and that the audience wouldn't
    Be interested in a diverse cast.That's false.Comedy
    Bring us together.

  • Chantel | September 29, 2013 10:10 AMReply

    I was astounded when Tina announced the six cast members and they were all white. They couldn't find an asian, black, indian, hispanic, or someone other than white comic out there? Come on. What up with that?

  • DiMi | September 29, 2013 8:03 AMReply

    It is no accident that SNL hasn't been funny in decades. They are just completely out of touch with everybody beyond a sliver of white America in terms of humor, race, and everything else. Also, SNL is just plain racist. There's really no excuse, and they don't deserve one . Not only do they rarely cast non-white cast members; they, also, rely exclusively on stereotypes to portray non-white people. They don't even try to make the depictions funny because they are so racist that they think just showing a stereotype of a person of color is humor.

    Although I have never expected much from SNL, I, too was stunned that all of the cast members were white. I am a black woman, and I would have been happy to see any kind of racial-ethnic diversity in the new cast, but they decided to make a point of making the cast as white as possible.

    Also, it is offensive for them to constantly have Kenan play black women both because it is offensive to categorically refuse to hire black women to play black women AND because he always plays black women as grotesque stereotypes.

  • Actionkamen | October 1, 2013 1:37 AM

    You're absolutely right. It is a SLIVER of white america. Even white people don't think that it's funny. The show just hashes out the same bland mixture of stereotypes and east coast humor. It's ridiculous that they have Kennan playing all these black women. Not just for the obviously offensive reasons but also because he's NOT FUNNY. It's like rather than hire a hilarious black women they opt to have one of their least versatile cast members play those rolls just because he's black........ridiculous.

  • Andy | September 29, 2013 4:17 AMReply

    I haven't kept up on this whole casting process, so watching the six come on stage tonight was rather alarming. In the Obama era, with the first black first lady in American history, it really is a joke. So many missed opportunities. Let's not even get into Oprah. If it's about the celebrity impersonations, you need black women. It's not 1972 anymore. If it's not about the celebrity impersonations, why not black women? Can a Swarovski Crystal girl not be black?

    I think the writing team is a deeper problem than the cast, given they create the show, and they're even less diverse. And lets not forget Latino and Asian people who can't really exist in SNL's universe either.

  • NO BRAINER | September 26, 2013 4:26 PMReply

    This site should change its name from "Shadow and Act" to "Bitch and Moan". Black people are the only reason why you don't see any new black cast members in this picture or any black faces in the audience at the Emmys. If you want, I can elaborate but saying this should be enough. Work on black people's attitudes and this trend will eventually come to an end. It starts from the inside out, not the outside in.

  • NO BRAINER | September 27, 2013 1:26 PM

    C'mon, CINNYMINNIE. Don't mean here. We're talking. I don't think it's about discrimination at all. I think it's about us. That's all. Instead calling me names, ask me to elaborate a little. It's comments like yours that technically proves my point.

  • CinnyMinnie | September 27, 2013 1:18 PM

    Work on black people's attitudes? So black people are the reason why they're being discriminated against? It's not the fault of the ones doing the discriminating? Are you freakin' serious, No Brain (er)?

  • Art Cloakey | September 21, 2013 6:54 AMReply

    Man, I'm SICKA these honkiez always hogging up SNL!

    HA! Just kidding, folks, I don't give a crap one way or the other. I mean, come ON, it's SNL, for the love of pete. Show went downhill ever since they got rid of Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.

    Also, Toonces.

  • NO BRAINER | September 26, 2013 4:27 PM

    ^^^ SEE WHAT I MEAN? Smdh. Thank for making my point for me ART.

  • bored | September 20, 2013 11:55 PMReply

    I just wanted to see the racist comments, God bless Merica

  • NO BRAINER | September 26, 2013 4:28 PM

    LOL @ BORED

  • Truth! | September 19, 2013 9:57 AMReply

    Who cares! Black people stop complaining about white folks excluding us! Stop going out of your way to include yourselves when THEY don't want you around! Thats the problem with black Americans, always crying, marching , whining but never ever take what they want and putting in work! You want to see more black female comedians stop depending on WHITE people and their programs to include you, and develop and create your own. FYI Tyler perry is a coon!

  • kwan | September 23, 2013 11:20 AM

    Oh you're forgetting something the networks are owned by white people so please tell me when are you not gonna need some type of acceptance in TV land don't worry I'll wait? You can say just do a web series which is all well and good but that means most of the money would be coming from your pocket, with no backing and will not reach as large as an audience as television. I love when people claiming speaking about issues that deserve to be discussed is whining or "being sensitive". Maybe I don't want to be represented by a man in a dress. It's common sense just hire a black woman but the show sucks anyway.

  • Tia | September 19, 2013 1:38 AMReply

    SNL is like that senior citizen on your block that has that same old ritual or routine they do every single day and they will never change. 38 years of the same formula gets old. And I'm sure its been a topic of debate since the show first aired, but back then, it didn't hurt as much because the actors (Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, , John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, etc) were actually funny. Damon Wayans was a cast member and was always dissatisfied with his parts or lack there of and ended up getting fired. Chris Rock left SNL and headed over to In Living Color because of the same thing. The culture around us is forever changing and SNL needs to find a way to change with the times. The show just isn't consistently funny anymore. This is why shows like In Living Color and Mad TV had as much success as they did...Because their casts were not only talented, but diverse. Which brought in a more diverse viewing audience who could relate more to the characters being played. I think an SNL insider summed up the lack of diversity best when talking about how they chose Eddie Murphy instead of Robert Townsend-"...She [Jean Doumanian] only wanted to hire one black actor, and Townsend hadn't signed his contract yet, so she signed Eddie."
    Why they couldn't have room for 2 talented black actors is beyond me, but that seems to be the way it's always been over at SNL. There are a great deal of talented and funny sketch comics, both black and white, who have been rejected from SNL and have gone on to great success. Jim Carey especially. I would love to not only see more black actors on SNL, but also actors of various other ethnic backgrounds and genders. Because out of the six newbies they picked there is only one female. And to try and say that there aren't any funny and talented Black, Latino, Asian, Indian, etc, actors out there is purely an ignorant cop out to the HUGE problem plaguing this show. With diversity comes power, strength, and limitless potential.

  • C. Kay | September 18, 2013 6:05 PMReply

    I'm probably the only Black around who disapproves of Tyler Perry movies. I've stopped going to see them. We always talk about how there are not enough intelligent, articulate black folks on TV and in movies. As a retired English teacher, I found it difficult enough to teach English grammar, enunciation, pronunciation, etc. to children. Almost all of Perry's characters slaughter the English language just for laughs. Can't his material be funny enough without this? Can't there be a morale or a lesson somewhere within his story line without his choice of words? He is in a position now to do some good. We need to demand more of Perry! If white directors created the same characters on screen now, as they did years ago, (and some still do) we would be outraged. Perry could be just as funny without slaughtering the English language. Why do we give him a pass? It's time he retires or at least cleans up the "granny" character and others. Someone of note said years ago, "We are judged by the way we speak". These words are just as true today, especially for minorities. Thank goodness for CNN and MSNBC. These black anchors/guests make us proud. Most sweet boy- meets- girl, made/for/ TV movies love stories we see on television and in movie theaters could very well star all black casts. All movies starring black actors don't have to be about the black experience. Why can't they just be about normal everyday black couples with or without normal everyday problems with or without happy endings. Surely, I'm not alone with these thoughts. We complain all the time about white directors whose star characters have one black friend who is always giving advice but never has an onscreen home life of his or her own. Why do we give Tyler a break? Black folks have made him rich. He's in a position now to truly make a difference. He can be just as funny, and most importantly, his audience will not desert him... Surely, I am not alone here... P.S., I"ve even limited my purchases of Hallmark cards, favorites of almost everyone, because the Hallmark TV movie channel NEVER, EVER casts Black actors! Not even as best friends! We need Tyler Perry!!!

  • Nadia | September 18, 2013 6:53 PM

    @Akimbo & @Miles - Lolololol! Even if C. Kay didn't read S&A, I mean, seriously, how can anyone with an internet connection (which C. Kay clearly has) make a comment like that? And this whole rant, SMH. What year is this?

  • Miles Ellison | September 18, 2013 6:47 PM

    Welcome to the world outside of the sand in which your head has been buried. What does this have to do with SNL?

  • Akimbo | September 18, 2013 6:36 PM

    "I'm probably the only Black around who disapproves of Tyler Perry movies."
    You're really, really not and must be new to S&A. I see that the rest of your post continues in the same vein, so I encourage you to explore the site and see what the contributors and the commenters discuss here.

  • chris | September 18, 2013 1:18 PMReply

    every one of them is white... as you can see by judging them instantly on their skin color???? I mean WTF is that? How can you assume anything about a person based on a picture you've seen - especially they're cultural/ethnic/socioeconomic background. That's just blatant racism and isn't helpful in our society. I think if you want to judge people, let's dig a little deeper than skin the color of their skin, shall we??? You may be surprised about the diversity you might find.

  • Rrrrobertttt | September 18, 2013 4:44 PM

    Upon further reflection, we've discovered that Mike O'Brien is, in fact, an African-American woman.

    Thanks for having us look deeper, Chris.

  • Hugh | September 18, 2013 4:30 PM

    Are you high?

  • Brandi | September 18, 2013 10:53 AMReply

    I think that SNL is awful. It isn't funny. The sketches are bland. There's no edge to it so that it can accommodate the broadest audience. Unfortunately, in catering to the mainstream the show cancels out any chance of entertaining those favoring newer fresher levels of comedic sophistication that doesn't include making fun of celebrity shenanigans. It basically is a function now. It's an institution so it can be used to attract advertisers, promote celebrities and give rise to new comedy stars that are too good for it to begin with. It's basically like Undergrad. You don't need it and most of it is pointless, but it takes you to where you want to be so I guess it's a necessary evil.

    As for there not being any black women on the show, well frankly I'm more concerned that there isn't anything funny on the show. That's a bigger concern for me and I am a black woman.

  • Marcus | September 18, 2013 7:24 AMReply

    I don't think it's helpful to have a "black woman comic" just to have a black woman comic. There has to be a fit/a flow with the entire cast. Sketch comedy (if you will) is a very specific genre that few can master. Perhaps the question should be why are we not exposing or encouraging our Black youth to get into the arts? These ARE trained professionals, you know

    M
    twttter.com/theoffiicalmrw

  • Donella | September 18, 2013 11:30 AM

    I don't believe it's helpful for a Black woman to be on SNL. That would be doing SNL a favor they don't deserve.

    As Debra Wilson, Wanda Sykes, Kim Wayans, Kim Coles, T'Keyah Crystal, and others (Adele Givens, Sommore, Monique, Jackee, Kim Whitley, Chocolate) have shown, there are better avenues for success.

  • Susie | September 17, 2013 10:11 PMReply

    People, they are called "sketches," not "skits." A skit is something you performed at camp as a kid. A sketch is a scene written and rewritten and hopefully performed by professional sketch comedy actors.

  • E.S. | September 18, 2013 3:11 PM

    Amen, Susie.

  • BluTopaz | September 18, 2013 12:32 PM

    @ Donella:

    OH SNAP!

  • Donella | September 18, 2013 11:32 AM

    Which is likely why the performances on SNL are referred to as "skits."

  • Mark | September 17, 2013 10:03 PMReply

    Maybe they're depending on these guys to do funny ethnic impersonations. I'm kind of kidding. But kind of not.

  • Sharon | September 17, 2013 8:06 PMReply

    While counting the disparity of white to black, you might also see the disparity of male to female, which has been true on SNL more often than not.

  • Marty | September 17, 2013 5:56 PMReply

    While as a person of color I understand your sentiment I have to say I disagree with some portions of your article. You started out saying that you haven't watched it in years and also stated that you haven't found it funny in years. Think of it like Friends or The Big Bang Theory. Not all shows are made for us so they don't write for us or cast for us. They have their few people of color to fill certain roles and that's it. Not going to change anytime soon.

  • Dave | September 17, 2013 5:03 PMReply

    Well, if you look at the cast photo for the first few years of SNL, (Radner, Belushi, Murray, Ackroyd, etc), those guys together LOOK funny.

    Again, look at a cast photo for the 90's SNL, (Farley, Sandler, Myers, Rock, Hartman), those guys LOOK funny together. It's not something you can exactly put your finger on, but when you see these guys together, you know something hilarious is about to jump off.

    But THOSE NEW GUYS in the pictures above? Together they look like the staff at the Apple Store in San Fransisco. I don't know, maybe Scruffy Red-T-Shirt Guy might bring it. And Gay-Porn-Stache-Dude looks like he might bring a little funny to the table. The rest of those kids should really hang on to their jobs at the Old Navy.

    And what the hell is wrong with Cool-Hipster-Kid-With Glasses? He couldn't work up a smile for the camera? Maybe he's upset about African genocide. But I doubt it.

  • Mike Blaumanski | September 17, 2013 4:23 PMReply

    Why is the solution to a show not being funny the addition of a negro woman? Just more whining and complaining from the never satisfied black side.

  • angela | September 26, 2013 4:11 PM

    That is not a solution to make the show funnier, its the fact that every black female character or celebrity should not be played by a black man. Why is that so hard to comprehend? That is absurd.

  • Lawrence | September 17, 2013 3:44 PMReply

    Formulaic and uninventive. The skits all fall in to predictable categories including phony quiz, weird family grouping, and silly shopping experiences. SNL isn't living up to its greatest traditions. It's running on fumes. They really fall short in situations where characters are supposed to be interacting with one another and delivering lines of dialogue. EVERYBODY is looking straight ahead at the cue cards. And I don't get the sense that the material goes through so many last minute clever changes that the actors don't have time to memorize their lines. It's a boring-ass show with only occasional glimpses of its comedic brilliance of yesteryear.

  • Pick your battles, do your research, watch the show you are targeting. | September 17, 2013 3:28 PMReply

    While yes, the new additions are all white and only one woman, this is actually one of the most diverse casts they have ever had. Of the 16 total players, there are 6 women (2 Iranian-Americans- Cecily Strong & Nasim Pedrad and 1 LGBT- Kate and yes networks consider LGBT diversity) and 2 African-American men. (Yes, it's half of the cast!) Also, of the departing cast members you named 2 white men and 1 men of varied ethnic makeup (1/2 Venezuelen, 1/4 Japanese, 1/4 German Fred Armisen) and failed to mention another white male leaving the show- Andy Samberg.

    There are 7 main cast members, and now 11 featured players (has not been announced who is getting bumped up, this is coming off the actual NBC website). Of those 7 main cast members, 5 are ethnically diverse and/or women: there are 2 African American men and 3 women (1 woman of color). Cecily (again, a woman of color) will be the new co-anchor to Seth Meyers for Weekend Update so let's for arguing sake say there are now 8 main cast members, 6 of which are ethnically diverse and/or women and 10 featured players who are mainly white.

    While perhaps the ethnic diversity of SNL is in theory lacking, calling out THIS cast as if it is the least diverse is incorrect. And singling out SNL as compared to the ethnic make up of most network shows is misguided. Half of this show is ethnically diverse and/or women. And the majority of the main cast members are also ethnically diverse and/or women. I will take a sketch show with this make-up as opposed to most other shows who almost always feature people of color as side-kicks or only mean as the leads and women only as love interests to those men.

    It is also curious that you say you haven't watched the show in a long time and have somehow managed to not find it funny. Despite that, you don't even know the new cast members so how would you know if they bring edge and danger to the show? Is that a comedic trait exclusive to people of color? And how would you even know if there was a lack of danger or edge on a show you haven't watched?

    Pick your battles.
    Do your research.
    Watch the show you are targeting before you rant.

  • Lawrence | September 17, 2013 4:12 PM

    Thanks for this great ethnic breakdown. It confirms what the writer said --- SNL has NO African-American women on the cast. And that's nothing new in the show's long history of rarely casting black women. It seems like Lorne Michaels' casts are incomplete without a funny-fat-man. Well why can't he send his scouts out to find a funny African-American woman? He should put a recruiting committee together to find them ---- Byron Allen, Kennen Ivory Wayans, and Robert Townsend to name a few would be a good team of scouts. They seem to find funny flexible African American women when they need them. But it could be that Lorne Michaels simply doesn't think his roster of women is suffering for lack of black. They are off his radar --- perhaps --- and not an accident.

  • PICK YOUR BATTLES, DO YOUR RESEARCH, WATCH THE SHOW YOU ARE TARGETING. | September 17, 2013 3:39 PM

    UPDATE: Noel Wells is also Latino. More than half of the show is ethnically diverse and/or women.

  • Coolio Julio | September 17, 2013 3:08 PMReply

    Yawn....... All of this equal rights nonsense is beyond boring. Everybody in North America no matter what race, creed, or culture you were born into have equal opportunity to be successful. It's all about how you present yourself.... How badly do you want it?? Showing tons of initiative goes a long way when pursuing a career. Taking the stupid person's approach of crying racism, is pathetic and actually reveals who the racist truly is. To conclude my miniature rant I would like to say when I turn on my television all I see is ethnic diversity on commercials, sitcoms, news casts, and movies and I think it's a great thing!! From what I've read on this blog it seems like it's not only white people with racist tendencies. As human beings we ALL need to work on our issues and come together as one people......bottom line.

  • Cristalexia | November 2, 2013 2:47 AM

    If you think "Everybody in North America no matter what race, creed, or culture you were born into have equal opportunity to be successful" you are clearly living in an ivory tower. I work in a big well-known organisation where 95% percent of people in the higher jobs are white but about 50% of people in the lower jobs are black. This clearly shows discrimatory practices. I live in an area that has a 50/50 black/white ratio, so the lower jobs are correctly represented but what's with only employing white people for the higher jobs?

    Your rant is misplace because people on here have already said there have been lots of SUCCESSFUL talented black female comedians that have made it in other shows. So the problem isn't a lack of black female talent, the problen is the show chooses not to have any black women on it.

    Finally, the reason why you see lots of ethnic diversity on commercials is because these companies are SELLING products, so they want to target as many people as they can. You have clearly pointed out that companies have no problem getting the appropriate black talent when it benefits them.

  • Lynnra | September 17, 2013 3:01 PMReply

    It's important to remember that sketch comedy shows do not simply hire comedians. They hire SKETCH comedians. It is not enough to simply be a great comedian, it requires you to be a decent if not great character actor Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, both great comedians but Eddie Murphy is also a character actor (Chris Rock and Lorne Michaels both admit that Chris wasn't right for the show..but Lorne thought Chris was smart and funny and he wanted people to know who he was). The audition process starts with you coming into a room with your top three original characters...and then when you get called back they ask you to bring in 3 more.These performers often come from sketch comedy schools...the Groundlings and Second City. Those places are the breeding ground for shows like SNL's next generation. Are there minority women in these programs where they can get the exposure necessary to get in the running for these gigs? Are the writers stuck in an antiquated mindset when it comes to writing sketches featuring minorities...do they only think of minority talent when it's culturally or specifically called for? When writing a funny sketch about the weird lady with all the cats who lives next door to the 3 dudes in college, do they think that having a minority woman in that role demands that they write ethnically specific humor...and say the writers don't want to make it a "race" thing, do they just immediately toss out the idea of having a minority in the role? That's lazy and pretty narrow minded, if that's the case. The crazy cat lady is funny because she's the crazy cat lady..not because she's the crazy black (Asian, Latina..) cat lady.
    p.s.
    For the record there has never been, at least not to my knowledge, a sketch on SNL about a crazy cat lady living next door to three college dudes.

  • roberto lopez | September 17, 2013 1:42 PMReply

    you have to be funny to get in...

  • StarkyLuv | September 17, 2013 12:45 PMReply

    The cast should be at least half female with a MINIMUM of 4 or 5 blacks and 4 or 5 latinos. It absolutely sad that this show refuses to draw on the goldmine of minority comedy talent that's out there that can accurately reflect what's happening in our world.

  • Sam Pecky | September 17, 2013 4:25 PM

    NO, the cast should be talented and funny.

  • Mcgee06 | September 17, 2013 12:21 PMReply

    I can you exactly what is wrong with this picture even before i read this article. In a country that screams "we are in a post racial" country, there still seems to be a trend of misrepresentation or non at all of minorities. You say we have a black president huh? That's all well and good, but i think it's about time TV/movies more closer to a vision that is shoved down our throats. What i do find interesting comedy is one of the few roles that minorities have a major part of. There are no asian, hispanic, or black action heroes, so we are left making fools of ourselves. I feel as though SNL didn't even throw the "token minority" in simply because they were being lazy. You telling me that within the huge country of ours, they couldn't find one funny hispanic, asian, or black comedian to fill that space? Though we have made large strides as a country, this is a perfect example of how minorities are still overlooked in the entertainment industry.

  • chris | September 18, 2013 1:22 PM

    Wow... I think a post racial America would dig a little deeper than judging comedy talent by what they look like and the color of their skin. It's like, we have to go to a paint store and get a swatch of colors, and if they don't tick off the box for a certain amount of each, we're failing as Americans??? The cast has a lot of diversity on it currently - they are replacing two white guys and a guy with a diverse ethnic background. Noelle Wells is half mexican. I mean - isn't that was a post racial America is all about anyway? BEING A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING?

  • TS | September 17, 2013 11:43 AMReply

    "I should first note that I haven't watched an episode of Saturday Night Live in a long time"
    "A series that I haven't found funny at all in a very long time"

    How could you find it funny if you haven't watched an episode? Without giving it a chance, or even watching an episode - how can you possible stand by your statement that you don't find it funny.

  • BluTopaz | September 17, 2013 9:44 AMReply

    As others have noted SNL has been on life support for decades. The slightly amusing Sarah Palin/Tina Fey skits are long gone, and even on "White" message boards viewers are saying how lame the show is regarding opening monologues and skits that go on for too long. Plus Lorne Michaels is the typical racist liberal, if I was a Black comedienne cast on that show I would brace myself for being racially humiliated on a weekly basis.

    MAD TV filled the void for Saturday late night comedy for years (Debra Wilson, Aries Spears and the tall White dude were funny as hell), I don't even know if that show is still on the air. A smart person with resources should tap into this market for a different type of humor than SNL.

  • Donella | September 17, 2013 2:49 PM

    How could I have forgotten Debra Wilson. Her MAD TV skits are classic. I think she was on for 8 years and the show wasn't the same when she left.

  • mtrain65 | September 17, 2013 4:46 AMReply

    Black women have had it great. There have been 2 Latino, Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisten, cast members in the entire history of SNL and only 1 gay male, Terry Sweeney, and as far as I know one gay woman, current cast member Kate McKinnon. So sounds to me like black women have done pretty well for themselves.

  • LJ Matthew | September 17, 2013 2:43 AMReply

    It's nice to see SNL embracing diversity in their cast members. Oh wait...what?

  • Alex | September 17, 2013 12:03 AMReply

    I don't care that they're all white. But why FIVE men and only ONE woman added?

  • Reve | September 17, 2013 4:20 PM

    Why does one issue bother you more than the other?

  • specialT | September 16, 2013 11:21 PMReply

    No new black female or male.SNL is going to be boring this season anyway. All of the good performers jumped ship.

  • FactChecker | September 16, 2013 9:30 PMReply

    They should rename the show: Saturday WHITE Live!
    ooh, LeonRaymond beat me to the punch! ... Just goes to show, Great minds think alike!
    of course, what do you expect from NBC, the NO BLACKS allowed CHANNEL?

    NBC should have fired Greenblatt long ago. They really need to bring back Grant Tinker -- or someone cloned after him -- as he was responsible for the great era of diversity that included the Cosby Show, A Different World, The Golden Girls, and Hill Street Blues, to name a few -- that made NBC the once "must see TV" network of the 80s and 90s.

    It's amazing, really, that the shareholders don't see what everybody else does when it comes to all of the mishandlings, poor programming, and other bad decisions that have been made between Greenblatt and Jeff Zucker, who ran the network into the ground. And Greenblatt is trying to ensure it's complete obliteration.

  • BluTopaz | September 16, 2013 8:48 PMReply

    ...which is why you can't wait to go home tonight and masturbate to your favorite porn genre, My Fat White Trailer Cave Ho Luvs her Some Mandingo Meat!

  • Name this movie | September 16, 2013 8:38 PMReply

    "You're white in America, what more do you need, hmm?"
    "What?"
    "I said you're white in America, what more do you need, let's have a good time...alright?

  • brutony | September 16, 2013 8:14 PMReply

    Maybe because black women ARENT funny!

  • Donella | September 17, 2013 12:43 AM

    Said Rush Limbaugh to Wanda Sykes with tears in his eyes.

  • LeonRaymond | September 16, 2013 8:00 PMReply

    That's why it's called Saturday White Live for a reason!

  • Miffy | September 16, 2013 7:59 PMReply

    You wrote: "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"

    How does the color of one's skin make someone funnier? And are you implying that the only people who can bring "edge" and "danger" (whatever the hell that means) to a series are non-white performers? And why are only black people mentioned? What about Latinos? Or Asians? At least there have been black performers on SNL.

    Your article is the only thing laughable here.

  • Nadia | September 16, 2013 7:41 PMReply

    How many of the people commenting here are actually reading the damn post? From some of your comments many of you are just reading the headline and looking at the picture. So let me summarize in simple terms:

    1. On SNL skits, white male characters are played by white male comedians
    2. On SNL skits, white female characters are played by white women comedians
    3. On SNL skits, black male characters are played by black male comedians
    4. On SNL skits, black women characters are played by everybody else except black women comedians.

    If that's not clear enough for you, then you're an idiot.

  • angela | September 26, 2013 4:14 PM

    Exactly! Its not hard to get at all. Diverting the topic into completely off topic things like "well they shouldn't cast people based on their race" is nonsensical.

  • E Dawg | September 16, 2013 7:17 PMReply

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that picture. I'm sick of this whining. So is the majority of America.

  • BluTopaz | September 16, 2013 8:40 PM

    The majority of America is rapidly becoming the minority.

  • Donella | September 16, 2013 7:02 PMReply

    Comedy sometimes involves a lot of cultural references. The cultural environment at SNL is favorable first and foremost to White males. Then Black males. Then White females. Then Black females. Maya Rudolf was able to transcend a lot of pigeon-holing to fit into the work environment which is likely why she lasted longer than Ellen Cleghorn.

    Eddie Murphy lasted longer than Chris Rock on sheer talent. But Rock built closer ties to his White male colleagues than Eddie Murphy and continues on with them beyond SNL in film.

    In front of the camera and behind the camera.

    Sole exception... musical performances.

    There have been plenty of Black female comedic writers and stand-ups through the years. I've seen them on HBO's Def Comedy Jam, BET's Comic View, Fox's In Living Color, and various Black-oriented sit-coms over the years.

    For instance, Wanda Sykes found a home on Chris Rock's show. Monique found an outlet on Queens of Comedy, BET, and film roles. Sheryl Underwood and Aisha Tyler do standup, write books, and are on The Talk. Chocolate moved into faith-based comedy. Adele Givens did guest appearances on various sit-coms.

    Talented Black female comics (performers and writers) exist and do find work.

    But not at SNL.

    Thankfully, SNL is not the only game in town.

  • dssdfsdfalsadlsdf | September 16, 2013 6:39 PMReply

    They are replacing white Seth Myers, Bill Hader, Andy Samburg, Fred Armisen, Tim Robinson, and Jason Sudeikis with these other white comedians. I don't get your point. It isn't In Living Color

  • Kevin D. Williams | September 16, 2013 6:28 PMReply

    I am a stand up comedian (20 years) and comedy writer. With networks like BET, TV One and Aspire why not create our own show like SNL? NBC has money. They can do whatever they want with that show. It is so many talented black comedy writers out there. But we don't have shows to writer for.

  • Reggie E. | September 17, 2013 3:08 AM

    Good points. But if you're a writer then I've got to call you out on one thing, bruh:

    "THERE ARE so many black comedy writers..."

  • brutony | September 16, 2013 8:16 PM

    Cause they aint funny, brotha!

  • ernest | September 16, 2013 6:27 PMReply

    who cares the show is god awful....hasn't been any good in at least 25 years. i'm kind of tired of us whining about not being included in projects. we need to do our own shows and the black execs for the black oriented tv networks need to be bold and green light the stuff.

  • Jilly | September 16, 2013 6:26 PMReply

    They already have two black cast members in a cast of about 15. That's over 13% which is how many are in America. So it's perfectly representative. If there is something wrong with a picture of white people you can always go to Africa and stare at as many of your own kind as you wish.

  • angela | September 26, 2013 4:16 PM

    There are tons of black FEMALE celebrities in pop culture (this is about black women, not black people in general) that are always impersonated by MEN (Thompson). This isn't about the overall American population. Some of you cannot be this clueless.

  • Reggie E. | September 17, 2013 3:13 AM

    And, Jill, you can go back to England, France, Germany, Poland, Sweden or Russia so you too can stare at as many of YOUR "own kind" then the Native Americans can have THEIR country back.

  • Ava | September 16, 2013 5:44 PMReply

    When I read about this in the NYT this morning, I knew that S&A would blog about it (lol). And I'm glad, if only to give me the opportunity to say:

    Where are the Black women on this show??
    I guess there will be no skits featuring Michelle Obama (unless they try to drag Maya Rudolph out there for a one-off) standing alongside Pharoah's BO.
    Can't say I'm surprised, Black talent is pretty much an afterthought on this show.
    Really cannot fault Eddie Murphy for not wanting to make a return to SNL. And he was one of the relatively positive stories...

  • justathought11 | September 16, 2013 4:31 PMReply

    SNL is in desperate need of writers of color moreso than cast. The lack of diversity in cast does not need to be addressed untill they do some soul searching as a writing staff.

  • brutony | September 16, 2013 8:17 PM

    "Soul" searching? How original, lol!

  • Jeni | September 16, 2013 3:59 PMReply

    SNL hasn't been watchable on a regular basis since Chris Rock and Adam Sandler left the show in the 90s. The writing sucks, and it seems that there's also a lack of diversity where writers are concerned (according to some of the behind-the-scenes books and articles, they tend to hire white guys from Harvard). Although it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for an actor of color, who really wants to cope with the constant stream of corniness and the crazy schedules just to entertain college students too drunk/high/broke to go out on a Sat night? Black actors can do better.

  • KXB | September 16, 2013 5:00 PM

    ADAM SANDLER LEAVING was your tipping point? WTF?????? And honestly, Rock wasn't all that great on SNL, even by his own admission...

  • jeni | September 16, 2013 4:06 PM

    And forgot to mention that the route to SNL for actors these days seems to be via high-visibility improv (UCB and Second City touring companies), so I would be interested to know who are the rising black stars in that field.

  • Liza Dye | September 16, 2013 3:54 PMReply

    https://vine.co/v/hemPexvWVda

  • EP | September 16, 2013 3:49 PMReply

    SNL/Hollywood does not care about Black Folks, we should know that by now.

  • John b | September 16, 2013 3:35 PMReply

    It's probably a similar ratio to the amount of white people on BET, Tyler perry movies, or in black people magazines. If the talent isn't there, then they won't be hired. If you doubt the shows ability to pick the right cast, then start your own tv show and remember that it's not about the talent, but instead, it's all about the color of the skin. Ridiculous.

  • Curtis | September 16, 2013 3:45 PM

    When matters of race are brought up, you can be sure the ignoramuses of the world will come trolling. I could take apart each of your "claims" one at a time with ease, but the one that is the most ridiculous is where you say "if the talent isn't there, then they won't be hired." So you actually believe that there are no talented black women comedians who are good enough to appear is a stale-ass series like SNL? That's what you're saying, right? There are no talented black female comedians good enough for SNL. If you believe that, you're as dumb as rocks. Get your head out of the sand.

  • Giggity | September 16, 2013 3:14 PMReply

    There's an audition process. Do the ones, if there are, that audition get turned down? Do they suck? Are there attempts to place black females in the cast but the talent isn't there? You're asking the wrong questions.

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