What’s up with this, Kenan?
In a recent TV Guide interview, Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson was asked why SNL currently has no black female cast members — and hasn’t since Maya Rudolph left the show way back in 2007.
“It’s just a tough part of the business,” Thompson replied. “Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”
TV Guide also asked Thompson what the show would do if they needed to spoof an African-American woman. “I don’t know,” the comedian replied. “We just haven’t done them. That’s what I’m saying. Maybe [Jay Pharoah] will do it or something, but even he doesn’t really want to do it.”
His comments didn’t sit right with many readers, who quickly pointed out that there are plenty of black female comedians who would be great on Saturday Night Live — but haven’t been given the opportunity to appear on the show. In fact, SNL has only featured 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).
Thompson has not responded to EW’s request for comment.
For what it’s worth, Jay Pharoah doesn’t seem to agree with his colleague’s statements. Pharoah spoke with theGrio a few weeks ago about the disappointment he felt when Saturday Night Live welcomed six new cast members this season, all of whom are white.
“They need to pay attention,” Pharoah said, before adding his pick for who should join the cast next: “Her name is Darmirra Brunson…Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she’s black first of all, and she’s really talented. She’s amazing. She needs to be on SNL. I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year.”