Saturday Night Live (SNL) "veteran" Kenan Thompson's recent comments on the lack of women-of-color on that TV show are very troubling.
They're troubling because it means that the man is truly out of touch with reality (or a very good actor), if he thinks he's in any position to say someone else is not good enough to get work on SNL.
And I don't mean to pile on Thompson, following Sergio's report earlier today regarding the comments he made. I just think it's time for us to have a talk; a "come to Jesus meeting"; an intervention, or whatever one would call it. Some things need to be said aloud because maybe Thompson is just unaware; unaware of just how unfunny he is.
Thompson's decade-long run on SNL is really some kind of miracle. He should be extremely grateful, and say 10 prayers of thanks every single day for lasting so long as an SNL cast member. He's a very lucky man.
Thompson is lucky because despite the fact that he hasn't done anything remotely funny on SNL in 10 years, he's still cashing their checks.
In reality, whenever most people hear the name Kenan Thompson, the very next thing that pops into their minds is, "Hey, whatever happened to Kel Mitchell?"
Thompson's true claim to fame is his body of work for kid's network Nickelodeon. I'm talking All That, Kenan & Kel, and the Good Burger movie.
Yes, Kenan Thompson paired with Kel Mitchell was, at times, comedic genius. Mitchell, however, was the bigger talent of the two child-stars, and few will argue that point.
The fact that Thompson has managed to maintain such a high-profile gig, while Mitchell has seemingly faded into obscurity, is all the evidence we need to prove that life is, indeed, unfair.
It's also unfair that Thompson would blame women-of-color for their underrepresentation on the popular sketch-show's set.
"It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson says. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."-- Kenan Thompson, as told to TV Guide.
On his original SNL audition.
"I had to do stand-up, and I had never done stand-up before. I had to do five minutes of the 'I just flew into town and my arms are tired' type stuff! I was more of a sketch performer, so I didn't do any of that traditional stand-up stuff. I started with a phone call between Al Sharpton and Arnold Schwarzenegger talking about budgets in Harlem. And then I did some other characters, but I never got around to the telling jokes part."
So, SNL wanted Thompson to tell jokes, but he couldn't deliver; all he could do was the same lame impressions he's now known for. Sounds like he wasn't "ready". But he got the job anyway. Lucky man.
Maybe those women who auditioned for SNL shouldn't have even bothered to waste their time. Thompson has increasingly made a habit of hogging female roles, that could be played by women-of-color, for himself.
Back in 2009, New York magazine did a piece on Thompson, calling his first seven lackluster years on SNL a "slow start".
“Everybody has their moments, you know? I like that I’ve been here for as long as I have, because it’s given me time to be on the ground floor, and I’ve gradually gotten to the point where I’m hopefully getting a sketch a week—that’s everyone’s ambition,” he says.
After seven years on SNL, Thompson's ambition was to hopefully get one sketch a week?
If that's the way he sees things, it's no surprise that Thompson isn't pushing for the hiring of women-of-color on SNL. What would be his purpose on the show if an actual woman-of-color played the female roles for which Thompson has become known?
All that would be left for him to do are bad impressions of Steve Harvey, Al Sharpton and Charles Barkley. And that annoying "What's Up With That?" character. And I'm sure no one will miss those depictions, since they're pretty much all the same character, just with different wigs.
So when it comes to Kenan Thompson's opinion on why SNL hasn't given many opportunities to women-of-color, don't look for logic in his reasoning. Don't look for any semblance of fact in his comments. Don't even, for the sake of optimism, attempt to see humor in his words. Because there's nothing funny about Kenan Thompson.