The Trouble With Kenan Thompson's Comments On 'SNL' Not Casting Women-Of-Color

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by Emmanuel Akitobi
October 15, 2013 7:16 PM
101 Comments
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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.

It's funny that Thompson would mention women-of-color not being "ready" in auditions for SNL.  Just last month Thompson had this to say to Parade about his own audition:

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 HarveyAl 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.




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101 Comments

  • Hooper | March 22, 2014 4:38 AMReply

    You seem to be mistaken about the nature of show business. Keenan is a decent sketch comedian. He isn't brilliant, but he doesn't suck either. However, and this is why Keenan is still on SNL, he is extremely likeable. In showbiz, that can buy you a mansion in the Hollywood hills. Add to that Keenan's high recognition with the prime demographic that grew up watching him on television. Success in the entertainment industry isn't determined by merit as you interpret it. Hell, Ryan Seacrest (whatever) has zero talent, and he's the king of the world. I don't hear you crying about that.

    Find a likeable black female comedic actress, and she might succeed on SNL. Although, and I preface this by saying that I am black, I have NEVER seen a likeable black female comic, period. I've seen some who were funny, but they weren't likeable in the way that Keenan or Chris Rock or (back in the day) Bill Cosby. Why? I don't know. I'm just calling it like I see it.

  • bluecrush | February 17, 2014 1:24 AMReply

    Am I one of the only one's who has NEVER found SNL funny...I am a 90s kid...I have grazed upon SNL over the years when there was absolutely nothing to watch. Those of you over 10 in the 90s with all know what I am talking about. I will give SNL that every once in while they would have a funny skit here or there but to me it was like the Jay Leno show...the audience is laughing but I can't tell what they found so funny. I actually gave SNL a try after seeing Kenan was on the show....his performances were lacking and never funny. He, like the rest of them could not even conjure up a giggle in my throat. Maybe it is me....I don't like stupid funny...I prefer clever humor...not impressed with SNL. But I understand why Kenan got the job...he is not hot enough or funny enough to steal the show. They need a token below average looking dude to fill the diversity spot for men and women. Plus black America should STOP looking for representation in white cinema. It is a losing battle...SMH. Just give up black PEOPLE...this is why we are ALWAYS left so unsatisfied. We need to create of own cinema completely independent of Hollywood.

  • dmoney52 | February 8, 2014 3:17 PMReply

    What did he say all that bad?" they are not ready" that's it? doesn't seem too be all that bad. the way the authors coming at him you would think he put a black women on blast and he didn't. This author is mad about nothing and outright hating on Keenan unfairly.

  • SanDane | March 15, 2014 9:38 PM

    I agree. He stated a judgment. And after being on the show so long and seeing all those auditions that failed, I bet he has the experience to say who will make it and who won't. His What's Up With That? skit is very funny and spoofed elsewhere. He is talented enough to have a steady job in front of millions of people. Obviously the producers think he has value otherwise his contract would not be renewed (or no one has come along to out perform him!).

  • SanDane | March 15, 2014 9:38 PM

    I agree. He stated a judgment. And after being on the show so long and seeing all those auditions that failed, I bet he has the experience to say who will make it and who won't. His What's Up With That? skit is very funny and spoofed elsewhere. He is talented enough to have a steady job in front of millions of people. Obviously the producers think he has value otherwise his contract would not be renewed (or no one has come along to out perform him!).

  • CP | January 26, 2014 12:26 AMReply

    Thank you so much for writing this I just cant believe Kenan is still on SNL ...most of the guest hosts are funnier than him...geez pls get him out of there and put a truly talented comic on!

  • Shut Up | January 12, 2014 6:42 AMReply

    Please kill yourself idiot who doesn't know how to submit to the blog. plus Kenan is a jackass LIKE YOU!! IDIOT.

  • Bpfussmuckerbpfuss | January 9, 2014 8:36 AMReply

    Funny is funny. The funniest female black comedian of all time was flip Wilson. Black women have to raise the kids black men abandon to them leaving by death or grazing the greener side of the fence. So black women are by Darwin's selection serious.their life is hard. Black men throw on a dress to make us laugh. God luv EM for it. Cuz black women are just bitter they can't make us laugh cuz black men won't let 'EM.

  • Stanley234 | November 25, 2013 6:32 PMReply

    Whenever someone confronts Black folks with the truth they immediately dismiss them by calling them "racist" or and Uncle Tom. It's actually beginning to get comical.

  • CJ60610 | December 18, 2013 11:33 AM

    What truth? He is one of the least funny SNL performers of all time. Jay Pharoah is at least 100 times more talented, but is rarely featured. Kenan is clearly speaking out of his behind about women of color (any color, really) not being ready, when he wasn't ready himself.

  • Augy | November 14, 2013 4:07 AMReply

    I think Kenan is funny. The problem is that he's not
    The funniest person in the room. He's definetly funny though. I look
    For snl skits with him in it. The author of this whatever is clearly an amateur.

  • Augy | November 14, 2013 4:07 AMReply

    I think Kenan is funny. The problem is that he's not
    The funniest person in the room. He's definetly funny though. I look
    For snl skits with him in it. The author of this whatever is clearly an amateur.

  • Augy | November 14, 2013 4:07 AMReply

    I think Kenan is funny. The problem is that he's not
    The funniest person in the room. He's definetly funny though. I look
    For snl skits with him in it. The author of this whatever is clearly an amateur.

  • KommonZentz | November 13, 2013 10:46 AMReply

    The problem with Kenan Thompson isn't that he's not funny. He just can't deliver. He needed way more time getting his timing together back at whatever comedy factory they pulled him from, and lets face it, Lorne and his crony writers have consistently written him in as the token black man AND woman. If they had paired him up with Andy Samberg he might have had a fighting chance. But instead they are writing white comedy for a token black guy. And if you also think that Michaels isn't a racist, you have never listened to Chris Rock talk about his SNL years. You've never heard Eddie Murphy talk about his SNL years. Michaels is the spokesman for white supremacy. This is also why the Wayans developed In Living Color, and Quincy Jones produced MADtv. To actually get African American comedians on the air. SNL is a white mans world, and say what you want about Maya Rudolph, she was just cream enough to Michaels and NBC Universal. Fine, lets also play devils advocate and say Michaels wasn't a bigot, just an egotist. NBC's got a habit of being a white boys club to begin with. We are so past the age of lets laugh at the fat black woman or man, that the joke has gotten stale. And just for good measure, because this bigot street goes both ways, I'm also looking at you Tyler 'I need to make another Madea movie to fund my other movies' Perry.

    Thompson isn't wrong. It's just that he didn't go FAR enough. More than likely he wants out of his contract, and I agree. He might not make as much money, but he's not funny because he's not written that way in the bullpens. Every comedian that has come out of there agrees that it's a meat grinder where your ideas go to be destroyed, and you're at the mercy of Lorne Michaels. And he's dead right about there not being enough women of color cast. You cannot tell me that there aren't enough black female comedians. There are hundreds.

  • KommonZentz | November 13, 2013 10:45 AMReply

    The problem with Kenan Thompson isn't that he's not funny. He just can't deliver. He needed way more time getting his timing together back at whatever comedy factory they pulled him from, and lets face it, Lorne and his crony writers have consistently written him in as the token black man AND woman. If they had paired him up with Andy Samberg he might have had a fighting chance. But instead they are writing white comedy for a token black guy. And if you also think that Michaels isn't a racist, you have never listened to Chris Rock talk about his SNL years. You've never heard Eddie Murphy talk about his SNL years. Michaels is the spokesman for white supremacy. This is also why the Wayans developed In Living Color, and Quincy Jones produced MADtv. To actually get African American comedians on the air. SNL is a white mans world, and say what you want about Maya Rudolph, she was just cream enough to Michaels and NBC Universal. Fine, lets also play devils advocate and say Michaels wasn't a bigot, just an egotist. NBC's got a habit of being a white boys club to begin with. We are so past the age of lets laugh at the fat black woman or man, that the joke has gotten stale. And just for good measure, because this bigot street goes both ways, I'm also looking at you Tyler 'I need to make another Madea movie to fund my other movies' Perry.

    Thompson isn't wrong. It's just that he didn't go FAR enough. More than likely he wants out of his contract, and I agree. He might not make as much money, but he's not funny because he's not written that way in the bullpens. Every comedian that has come out of there agrees that it's a meat grinder where your ideas go to be destroyed, and you're at the mercy of Lorne Michaels. And he's dead right about there not being enough women of color cast. You cannot tell me that there aren't enough black female comedians. There are hundreds.

  • Lyndsay Rini | November 3, 2013 8:10 PMReply

    This article is very obnoxiously written. Don't talk about actors and their take on the audition process until you've gone through it yourself. He's correct. A lot of it is out of your control, and there may not be a rhyme or reason; it just works out the way it works out.

  • Melissa | November 3, 2013 7:24 PMReply

    Kenan is not funny at all. I am not sure how he made it. His skits are more stupid than anything. I have never liked him.... Did not even know he was still trying to act..LOL

  • Um | October 21, 2013 9:42 PMReply

    I like Kenan, and I think he's funny. Maybe you don't, But i'm sure lots of others do. I dislike when people say something and expect everyone else to agree.

  • Kalu K. | October 21, 2013 10:18 PM

    Hey, look everybody . . . Kenan is on here pretending to be someone called "UM"! lol

  • Iamhe | October 17, 2013 4:18 PMReply

    The thing I hate about this article is that attack Thompson for not being funny (Half of the cast isnt funny), which might be true but it doesnt discredit his original point. The four African-American women in its entire 39-year history: Yvonne Hudson (1980-81), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95) and Rudolph (2000-2007), (with the exception of Rudolph with her fair skin and the changing of the time) were usually giving the most stereotypical roles i.e Queen Shaniqua. I dont think it just an SNL problem but a media problem as a whole. Although black actors and actresses have come to be recognized significantly more recently; I mean it's took until 2001 for a black person to win a Best Actor Oscar when most would agree that it was deserved decades earlier. But to my original point I just dont think SNL knows how to properly use or scout black comedians unless the said comedian is of superstar potential.

  • Poop | October 17, 2013 4:29 PM

    Now, if you were referring to the Best ACTRESS Oscar, then you would've been closer. Halle Berry won during the 2002 ceremony, not 2001.

  • Poop | October 17, 2013 4:27 PM

    The thing I hate about this comment is the lack of research. Sidney Poitier won a Best Actor Oscar during the 1964 ceremony for "Lilies of The Field."

    Yes, the fact that it took another 38 years for another black actor to win is staggering, but still, get your facts straight.

  • Kimmie | October 17, 2013 1:42 PMReply

    The only way Kenan will leave SNL by his own volition is if someone leaves a trail of Good Burgers out of 30 Rock.

  • fruborgdy | October 17, 2013 1:02 AMReply

    Here's a parallel question. How many black actresses/actors have hosted the show? I haven't watched in ages but I think Rihanna was on 3 yrs ago. Since then? Kerry? Nicole Beharie? A well trained actress knows how to do sketch comedy she doesn't have to be a yuck, yuck stand-up. In all these years SNL never thought to grow their own. I mean that's what they've done with Keenan. He didn't grow very well but they've given him a chance to improve. If he didn't cross-dress he'd never get a part. His time is up and we need to press on them to try harder - like Mitt Romney they need to get some folders of black women. In fact it would make a great reality show- as sisters prepare to audition for SNL.

  • artbizzy | October 17, 2013 1:13 PM

    Sounds a little too " auction block" and another way to exploit black actresses who want to work. Not so sure why we so many care so much about this show. It's too corporate and bland. I guess I kind of get it. It's like wanting to win an oscar although deep down inside we know how meaningless an oscar is. SNL has become meaningless and about as edgy as a trip to IKEA.

  • Monique A Williams | October 17, 2013 9:23 AM

    Now that's an interesting idea. SNL prep show for sisters. SNL could use the boost and perhaps it will make stars out of the non-winners as well. #iLikeIt

  • Anthony Rayner | October 16, 2013 11:33 PMReply

    If he has lasted so long on the show without being funny then why is he still there? Could it be that the creators and cast don't want to have a talented African American comedy actor on the show that might become the center of attention?

  • gussie | October 16, 2013 6:48 PMReply

    Whether he's funny or not there still are no women of color on SNL.

  • Michiline | October 16, 2013 6:41 PMReply

    Which Black females do we wanna see on SNL? Amanda Diva auditioned. She overacts like hell and is notoriously bratty on set. That probably cost her the job. Maybe Chescaleigh should try out.

  • Monie | October 16, 2013 6:07 PMReply

    I concur! Kenan Thompson is not funny (never has been). Apparently, he's just in the "right place at the right time" .......if you are a man who's willing to play the buffoon as he has for so long.

  • Um | October 21, 2013 9:41 PM

    I laugh at him all the time. I think most of the cast members are funny. Except some of the new ones.

  • Audun Bettum | October 17, 2013 8:43 AM

    Kenan Thompson NOT funny?!?!?! What's up with that?
    P.S: I "concur"... Really?

  • Marsh | October 16, 2013 5:06 PMReply

    The truth is Kenan could not answer the question honestly because he would lose his job. The real answer to the question posed is because he plays all the women parts in drag so they don't need women of color for the roles. Similar to the model industry. Instead of hiring black models, they instead put white models in black face. There is no need to hire a black woman comedian when Keenan serves that role. And that is just the truth of the matter. So instead of him being honest, he throws his black women comedian counterparts under the bus because that is easier than admitting he is the black male and black female comedian.... two for the price of one.

  • Brian | October 16, 2013 3:37 PMReply

    Why did you write this article? Also, why the hell did I just read it? You don't like Thompson or his opinion, I get it, but who are you that we should care about your opinion? If SNL doesn't want to put black women in their sketches right now than that's on them. They shouldn't have to put someone on there just because of their race or sex. I agree Thompson isn't great, but you don't have to watch the show if you don't want to.

  • Lonnie | October 16, 2013 3:50 PM

    GTFOH Brian! And please STOP commenting under different names. I'm so sick of people doing that and thinking folks don't know. *sigh*

  • Bob G | October 16, 2013 3:37 PMReply

    Yeahhh.......someone's got an irrational dislike for Kenan. The guy has delivered over and over, and is often the funniest person on various episodes. Reading this article makes me feel like never clicking on your link again, as subjectivity is wayyy out the door.

  • Audun Bettum | October 17, 2013 8:46 AM

    Agreed! First off all; Kenan Thompson i hillarious! Second; I think that Lorne knows what he is doing.

  • Simple TRUTH | October 16, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    weeell... he's on there. no matter how unfunny or stupid you think he is... simple as that.

  • Um | October 21, 2013 9:42 PM

    @ME You can't say one thing and expect others to agree, everyone has their opinions, damn it.

  • Me | October 17, 2013 11:51 AM

    Well you two the only people on planet Earth, who thinks he is funny. You must be the socially awkward weirdo's at work.

  • Tell It Like It Is | October 16, 2013 2:23 PMReply

    While I agree that there needs to be more diversity on SNL, I must say that Kenan is a hell a lot more funny than Tracy Morgan. Now, Tracy Morgan, is someone to question how he lasted so long, if you want to go there.

  • Shar | October 16, 2013 1:30 PMReply

    This country would be a better place if we drop the black and white issues.
    It's really getting tired. If you don't what he brings to the table you don't have to watch it. Hey why not petition to bring In Loving Color back. I would love that!!!! I'm not a fan of SNL, although I've watched many episodes with Eddie Murphy and Tracy Morgan. It take a special person period to do sketch comedy. I've seen so many funny women of color on you-tube. Maybe just maybe women of color have no interest in auditioning for this show. Just a thought. I don't know a lot of women of color that watch this show. I feel this show is dated and should be taken out back and shot. lol #sorry. This show doesn't have the same impact as it had it in the pass when I was growing up.

  • Sharon J. | October 16, 2013 11:55 PM

    Kenan states in the article that black women have auditioned for SNL, but they weren't hired. I do agree with you that SNL hasn't been good for a long time. I haven't watched an entire show since Clinton was president. Some of its current stars, including Kenan, are a bit overrated.

  • Yalanda Lattimore, DryerBuzz | October 16, 2013 11:53 AMReply

    @officialkenan and @nbcsnl GTFOHWTBS #mediaapartheid #HairSheBuzz #NuffSaid ain't nobody got ish to prove!!!!

    #Blackwomen entertained this BS of a country and others for centuries. It's 20mofo13! if you don't want to make billions #somofobeit!

    American media not about to convince me to prove nada. I don't break ceilings already BROKEN nor knock on doors already OPEN #GTFOHWTBS

  • KC | October 16, 2013 10:58 AMReply

    Did we miss the part of the original article where Kenan said he didn't want to play any more women in drag on the show?

    I'd love for one of these angry, raving black-media-site articles about Kenan Thompson's comments to spend as much vitriol on Lorne Michaels and whoever else has actual casting and producing power over at NBC.

  • BluTopaz | October 16, 2013 12:06 PM

    "I'd love for one of these angry, raving black-media-site articles about Kenan Thompson's comments to spend as much vitriol on Lorne Michaels "

    There were articles re: Lorne Michael and the persistent lack of color of SNL almost 2 months ago. Try to keep up.

  • ChgoSista | October 16, 2013 10:41 AMReply

    Whew! WhatEVA brown or black sista that ever lands [back] on SNL is gonna SHO NUFF be under some pressha!!!!

  • ojie | October 16, 2013 10:06 AMReply

    I'm confused. I was uner the assumption that this blog was create to celebrate black actors? This blog often complains that black actors aren't cast in mainstream stuff. You have one in the biggest comedy show, arguably in the world and you're dissing him? I'm confused

  • ojie | October 16, 2013 5:34 PM

    I watch SNL. he is alright

  • Lazlo | October 16, 2013 10:41 AM

    If you're confused, you must not watch SNL. Maybe Kenan will be celebrated when he starts producing laughs.

  • Nichole Carter | October 16, 2013 9:33 AMReply

    I stopped reading this article after the "life is unfair" comment. Kenan Thompson is there because he worked his way there. Don't demean this young man's accomplishments because Kel Mitchell didn't do what Kel Mitchell needed to do. If Kel Mitchell isn't the bigger success, then guess whose fault it is?

    I'm so sick of African Americans whining about this, that and the third. Hard work pays off, not token endorsements or "approvals" from the Black community.

  • Laffinlam | October 16, 2013 11:42 AM

    And I get so sick and tired of people whining about African Americans whining! As if one can't offer their own opinion or a critical analysis of a person's body of work.

    The writer didn't question whether or not Thompson worked hard to get his part. No doubt he's worked hard just to keep it. But working hard does not always result in "good work."

  • bcw98 | October 16, 2013 9:16 AMReply

    So you are essentially bashing him for stating an opinion. Lets look at "In Living Color" as an example. That show launched a ton of careers, but I'd say the only woman (aside from the Fly Girls) to go on to do much after was Kim Coles with Living Single, and thats faint praise at best. They had her, the white woman, and Kim Wayans (and lets be real, she was on there because of her last name, not because of immense talent). So if the sketch comedy show that had the biggest black cast ever couldn't find many women of color who were ready for sketch comedy, and you know they tried, I don't think the viable pool is nearly as big as people are thinking. Now I'm not saying there aren't plenty of funny black women comics, but SNL isn't stand up. While Eddie Murphy and a couple others are good at both, I don't necessarily know that the overlap is the same. I think Tina Fey is hilarious. Would I want to see her do stand up? Probably not. But you bashing Keenan is no better than him saying that he didn't think the black women who auditioned were ready.

  • Donella | October 17, 2013 12:08 PM

    You must never have seen Debra Wilson on MAD-TV or Wanda Sykes on the Chris Rock Show.

    Or Maya Rudolf on SNL.

  • bcw98 | October 16, 2013 10:06 AM

    Look at my face now? Are you in 4th grade with that comeback? If you could read, you would see I specifically mentioned Kim Coles. I'll give you Ann Marie Johnson because I forgot about her, since she only did one season, but she has gone on to be successful. Even her though I associated more with "What's Happening Now" for getting her started. T'Keyah Crystal Keymah, well I had to look her up to see who she was. I looked her up on IMDB and to say she has had a "successful" career since the show would be a stretch. She has had bit parts in a bunch of shows I haven't heard of. Apparently though she was on "That's So Raven", which I never watched, so ok, if you are a 10 year old, thats great. Point being even with those 2 you name, its not a ton of women. For a show that was on for 5 years, we came up with a combined 4 women, one of which was only on for a year. I'm just saying when a show is TRYING to find black women to feature, and only does less than an average of 1 per seasons, that says something

  • Winston | October 16, 2013 9:34 AM

    What about Anne-Marie Johnson? Now compare the number of women ILC had to SNL, and compare the amount of years they were both on the air. That's a hell of a ratio.

  • Winston | October 16, 2013 9:30 AM

    What would you call Kim Coles and T'Keyah "Crystal" Keymah? Look at your face now.

  • Pete | October 16, 2013 9:06 AMReply

    While I will not dispute that Kenan's comments are a bit worrisome, I have to admit that it seems like the author has very little working knowledge of what a show like SNL entails. Regardless of race and sex, SNL looks for individuals they feel are "ready" (as Kenan put it) to deal with the stresses of a weekly, well known, high-output sketch--them's some big boots to fill. They look for writers. While Kenan may not be that funny on the show, you have no idea what he's actually contributing behind the scenes. To America he may be a minor, useless bit character, but to the SNL higher-ups, he could be fundamental to the composition of some of these sketches.

    And, as a side note, 1 sketch a week on a show like SNL might not seem like much, but I'm sure that's more than most of their team of writers gets.

    Now, I'm not saying that the (growing) disparity in the industry needs to change: it does. Women and minorities are woefully under, and mis-, represented in Film and TV. I just think attacking 1 black actor for trying to speak candidly about his personal observations isn't the best way to go about it.

    Cheers, and thanks for the editorial.

  • Harley Pounds | October 16, 2013 2:07 PM

    *yawn* Are you his agent? Do you run Kenans fanclub? You're defending him pretttty hard. Why you can't you just admit that he's not funny? I'm glad someone finally said it. He bores me with his big-eyed stares and faux "urban" accent that he uses for every sketch. Lets get more Jay Pharaoh and less Kenan.

  • Shar Blades | October 16, 2013 1:17 PM

    Well Said!!!!

  • Pete | October 16, 2013 9:07 AM

    Correction: ***doesn't need to change

  • Aaron | October 16, 2013 7:45 AMReply

    I just think he was saying things to not rock the boat and keep his checks coming in because if there was a black female to join then the black female characters would go to them unless they are adamment about putting a black man in a dress.

  • artdmainman | October 16, 2013 6:11 AMReply

    His sketches and that entire SNL program just plain sucks. And I'm surprised that him and that effen show is still on the air. The show is not funny at all.

  • Lulu2497 | October 16, 2013 4:54 AMReply

    Unnecessary article. I mean really? This is not that serious. Why is this article just digging at him. Congratulations to him funny or not.

  • JayMcgeeO6 | October 16, 2013 2:53 AMReply

    I agree with the article in regards to the comments made my by Kenan Thompson. I feel as though when African American's get to a certain point of success, they talk and act as if they are no longer a part of the demographic, that could quite possibly be the reason they made it where they are now. Once in a while shows and films throw in the "token", to basically keep the ethnics subdued by saying "hey here's one, we're all about diversity, see...". I truly think this is the case for Kenan. Now i didn't come here to dog that man out exactly, but i feel that ethnics, particularly African Americans, are too hard on their own when they reach a certain pedestal of success ( Bill Cosby ). Some might say that Kennan is moving backwards by dressing up as women, but i digress. The fact is that TV/Films need more ethnic faces in order to accurately persuade this country's inhabitants that we are who we say we are.

  • David Bloom | October 16, 2013 2:44 AMReply

    KEL LOOOOOOOVES ORANGE SODA!!!

    While i dont agree w/ kenan's statements about women of color not being "ready" for the SNL bigtime, i dont know how you can say Kel's exact same tenure on All That and Kenan and Kel plus Mystery Men as being absolutely funnier than Kenan.

    Clearly Kenan has some staying power within SNL, whether or not thats b/c he plays into Lorne's racist/sexist(?) profiling of cast members is unknown. Granted Kenan has never really found a recurring/popular character to really hang his hat on, hes been funny enough to stay bit player and happily filled in for Black roles. I think Kenan is a capable sketch performer and through luck/skill/ethnicity/ and the strong performances of those around him, he has found staying power.

    Why people take his remarks as the gospel truth of the auditioning process and producers wants and the show's needs is beyond me. Certainly there are funny non-white-women out there (jessica williams on the daily show cracks me up) but cmon people lets not get too worked up about this.

  • Jillian | October 16, 2013 1:17 AMReply

    Watch Kenan Thompson's apology here:

    http://youtu.be/psiAIrFF6qQ

  • dancelover51 | October 16, 2013 1:13 AMReply

    This is Gospel! I see some of Kenan's family came on here to comment. Give it up, you all know that fat boy ain't funny.

  • Andrea | October 16, 2013 12:58 AMReply

    I understand the whole "he's-not-reeeally-funny" thing but I don't think we have to take his comments so seriously. I don't think he's exactly casting anyone, anyway. Congrats to him, though. The producers, on the other hand, should have something to say. [Also Kel Mitchell isn't totally MIA..he hosted a cypher at Rock The Bells this year, actually..so he's been up to some stuff :)]

  • Dana | October 16, 2013 12:19 AMReply

    A black woman was on the SNL cast for seven years, but most of America doesn't know it. People assumed she was white. Maya Rudolph is the daughter of the famous African-American singer Minnie Riperton best known for singing "Loving You" with her amazing 5-octive voice. Maya's dad was a Jewish producer. I guess even Keenan didn't even know that he was working with a black woman to make his strange comments on black woman not being ready for SNL auditions. It would have been the perfect opportunity for him to give Maya her props and show SNL has had black female representation over an extended period of time. This kind of reminds me of how most people don't know Linda Carter of the "Wonder Woman" TV show is Latino. They too made the assumption she is white. As much intermixing is going on, a generation from now it will be much harder to tell what race some people are.

    Here are some links for more info on Maya and her mom:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_Rudolph
    http://www.vulture.com/2012/02/maya-rudolph-pays-tribute-to-minnie-riperton.html

  • dancelover51 | October 16, 2013 1:14 AM

    Maya Rudolph was mentioned as the last Black Woman on SNL in an earlier article on S&A. However, she left years ago.

  • Miles Ellison | October 15, 2013 11:05 PMReply

    Judging from the quality of SNL over the years, they auditioned a lot of people who "weren't ready."

  • o | October 16, 2013 2:21 AM

    @ Dana's Comment

  • O | October 16, 2013 2:21 AM

    Black & White doesn't equal Black. #KillOneDropRule.

  • Lorenz | October 15, 2013 10:56 PMReply

    He's just saying what Lorne coached him to say. As for his talent, I think he's adequate. Sometimes funny. Predictable. I give him kudos for surviving so long. The skits are not very funny overall, and the performers are all reading from prompters and cue cards. It looks so stupid when they're supposed to be having a back-and-forth conversation but they're all looking straight ahead into the camera --- reading cue cards. Lame show. Lame guests. Waste of time. Just right for Keenan Thompson.

  • FactChecker | October 16, 2013 12:32 AM

    @Lorenz ... Why would you give him kudos for surviving so long? His longevity has nothing to do with his talent. He, clearly, knows where his bread is buttered and although he's showed a lack of judgement in his recent comments, he's obviously smart enough to know that he's NEVER going to get another gig as good as this one. No one with any talent aspires to STAY on SNL for any extended length of time -- certainly not a decade.

    And from a business standpoint the fact that he's stayed there so long is as much in his best interest as it is for Michaels. His pay, probably, hasn't increased a lot over the years and it's one less archetype (black guy that can also accommodate our need to play black women when we need one in a skit) that they have to audition for when other cast members leave.

  • kang | October 15, 2013 10:53 PMReply

    Man to whoever wrote the article just shut the hell up...if the dude wasn't funny to somoene he wouldn't have a job simple. As far as his comments someone asked his opinion and he gave it...what a asshole how dare he answer a question

  • Waz | October 15, 2013 10:23 PMReply

    Why are we worried about what Kenan Thompson says, he's a comedian with an opinion, not Nelson Mandela or Barack Obama. I personally disagree with his comment, but then i've never been in the business, and don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Leave the man alone, and focus on placing pressure on the producers, they have the first and final say anyway, not Kenan.

  • scripttease | October 15, 2013 9:47 PMReply

    I know his Mitt Romney & Bain Capital skit was funny as hell.

  • Onaje | October 15, 2013 9:30 PMReply

    Sounds like he said that they aren't doing a good job of recruiting women of color to me...Is it that impossible to believe of the women of color (which I assume we are talking darker complected Black women as the show has had mixed and Indian women)....that the women they auditioned just didn't have it? What women out there of color do anyone upset suggest they hire? You have to be funny and different...I'm sure they would have loved to do a better Michelle Obama at some point, but who would do it? I'd like to get more info on who auditions before jumping the gun on what feels a lot like nothing. Seth Myers and Tina Fey don't strike me as having prejudice toward women of color, but give info on who was denied that was deserving of an audition or a spot after an audition?

    Oh and who cares what Kenan has to say...he ha two good sketches a year...maybe

  • Not worth a name | October 15, 2013 9:20 PMReply

    Thompson made some stupid comments and I hope his comments aren't reflective of SNL brass feelings on woman (although I guess their hiring practices are reflective enough though). But I like how y'all said in the beginning y'all weren't going to shit on Thompson..... then preceded to shit all over his career.

    I found that funny.

  • Piotr | October 15, 2013 9:01 PMReply

    Wow. Disagree big time. I think Kenan is one of the consistently most funny people on the show. If you think otherwise, you're just biased.

  • Martin | October 15, 2013 8:58 PMReply

    I'm pretty sure he was just relaying facts that SNL of what he's seen from auditions and assuming it's because of the points he mentioned. He and Jay would probably love to have a funny, intelligent black woman to play off of. And I'm sure he already takes a lot of flack for wearing a dress. Clearly his experience in All That and Kenan and Kel more than compensated for his lack of stand up. It's not like they're giving weekend update to a black man. You chose to attack Kenan rather than the producers, writers, and casting directors which have much more influence on the situation and Kenan's career. And say he's lying or ignoring the truth, what would happen if he did come out and say SNL discriminates against black women? I haven't seen a Kenan movie since Good Burger. You really think a comedic actor who can't write or do stand up has jobs lining up after SNL? He didn't say black women aren't funny. It was simply an observation. If you have a problem with what he said provide evidence of discrimination in SNL casting not evidence Kenan being unfunny.

  • Martin | October 15, 2013 10:30 PM

    C'mon. "No ones attacking him." The whole point of this article is to discredit his opinion by calling him and sexist sell out unfunny token black crossdresser with less talent than Kel instead of providing facts. I would assume he'd take an interest in the casting process just to find his new colleagues/competition especially if she's black. And there's plenty of great sports coaches who were mediocre to terrible in the sport they played. Just because you aren't talented doesn't make you oblivious to it.

  • Carlos | October 15, 2013 9:05 PM

    Kenan's observation is bullshit. How does he know what happens at these auditions? Is he present at every audition? Is he the one making the decision on who passes or fails? I don't think anyone's attacking him. But it's true that there are some things he needs to hear. He's like a running back who keeps fumbling the ball, because his technique sucks. If no one says "your technique sucks, and here's what you're doing wrong", he'll continue to fumble the ball. But that same running back can't think it's okay to criticize other players, when he keeps fumbling.

  • D | October 15, 2013 8:24 PMReply

    this is a stupid article. The dude paid his dues. He's allowed to have an opinion.

  • Jenn | October 17, 2013 5:11 PM

    Pointing out that he's not funny is making the point that: if he's not funny, how can he judge funny?

  • Martin | October 16, 2013 7:44 AM

    But you're not voicing your opinion on Kenan's opinion or pointing out his opinion as BS. You are providing evidence of him being unfunny which has little if anything to do with his opinion.

  • Bforreal | October 16, 2013 12:00 AM

    Yup, what Mike said. If Keenan has a right to voice his silly opinion, I and this author have a right to voice our opinions about Keenan's opinion. End of story.

  • Miles Ellison | October 15, 2013 11:40 PM

    Other people are also allowed to point out that his "opinion" is BS.

  • Ghost In The Machine | October 15, 2013 8:20 PMReply

    shh.

    Lorne likes to sample the talent. You play - you get to stay!

  • Cammie | October 15, 2013 8:11 PMReply

    Does he have email? Do the producers? Because someone needs to send both of them a link to this.

  • lilkunta | October 15, 2013 8:04 PMReply

    kenan shutup. if no 1 has told you you are on SNL not bc you are god but bc lorne wants to be able to reference you when he is called out for SNL being all milky.

  • Monique a Williams | October 15, 2013 7:57 PMReply

    Hilarious and right on!

  • HypnotiqOne | October 15, 2013 7:56 PMReply

    Can somebody write an article about the "readiness" for an SNL audition? Like how many Black women are in sketch troupes/circuit? Who has auditioned and lived to tell their experience? Do Black comediennes even look to SNL as a viable option? I'm interested in that rather than sh*tting on Kenan. Critiques can, and do, go both ways...

  • NO BRAINER | October 15, 2013 9:03 PM

    I don't even have to comment on this ridiculous article, thanks to you HYPNOTIQONE. You said what I was going to say, saving me the hassle of speaking to half these assholes. Well said.

  • Anya @ Blallywood | October 15, 2013 8:39 PM

    Exactly HYPNOTIQONE, check out my article, I totally disagree with this article. http://tinyurl.com/n7p97bz He'd done sketch shows in the past and had a ton of acting experience and a good name. There are lots of ways you can be "Ready." There are about 5 pro male comedians to 1 female, even fewer Black females, then you have to sift out those that are good fits, then they have to actually audition.

  • Winston | October 15, 2013 8:27 PM

    LMBAO! @Dc_JOE , sounding like president of Kenan's fan club.

  • DC_JOE | October 15, 2013 8:19 PM

    Exactly...Kenan only said what is a fact...if they saw someone in the auditions, you best believe they would hire her and use her for all they could, like they do all other comedians!! He didn't diss anyone specifically, he just said no one is coming through the auditions!! Why all the hate for Kenan!! And talent is only one part of the equation for a sketch comedy show like SNL, where chemistry and TEAMWORK is mandatory. Many comedians male and female cannot work in a team environment.

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