The sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live” has been on the air longer than many of the current cast members have been alive. However, in the 38 years “SNL” has been broadcast, there have only been four black women to be a part of the cast. In a recent interview with TV Guide, actor/comedian Kenan Thompson blamed the lack of black female comedians on the show on black female comedians rather than his boss Lorne Michaels.
In the interview Thompson expressed his distaste for having to put on a dress and play female characters. He has impersonated a wide range of black women in the entertainment business such as Jennifer Hudson, Mo’Nique, and Maya Angelou. Now that he’s hanging up his dress for good, TV Guide asked who would play black female celebrities and Kenan Thompson responded, “I don’t know. We just haven’t done them. That’s what I’m saying. Maybe [Jay Pharaoh] will do it or something, but even he doesn’t really want to do it.”
Thompson went on to say that there are never any quality black female comedians that audition so that’s why there are no black women part of the cast. “It’s just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”
While Keenan Thompson’s statement may ring true for some people actually in the sketch comedy business, it doesn’t negate the fact that in 38 years there have only been four black women as cast members. Maya Rudolph was the only black woman to stay on “SNL” longer than any others. She was a part of the cast for seven years while Yvonne Hudson and Danitra Vance were only on for a single season each. Let’s not forget Ellen Cleghorn, who was on the show from 1991 to 1995.
While Kenan Thompson doesn’t want to bite the hand that feeds him, Jay Pharaoh is taking a stand. Pharaoh stated in the same interview, “They need to pay attention. I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year.”
How do you think Lorne Michaels will react to this?
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