As of right now, “Saturday Night Live” has three minority cast members in Kenan Thompson, Jay Pharoah, and Nasim Pedrad; however, they also recently brought in six new featured players, and of the group, they are all white (five guys and one woman). So is there a serious diversity problem with the show? Some recent comments to TV Guide by Kenan Thompson about black comediennes auditioning for the show have waged a debate, and it’s one that is hard to take a position on based on the amount of knowledge that we have.
From Kenan’s standpoint, it is not an issue of the show not wanting black female cast members, but instead he says that the lack of diversity is “just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”
One thing that we’ll say that is pretty awful to see is Kenan being bashed publicly for giving his opinion on a touchy subject. He’s not saying that there are no funny comics out there of this specified demographic, but that the ones who have tried out ever since the days of Maya Rudolph have been off the mark. We can’t say whether or not he is right; while we would love more diversity on the show, we haven’t been in the audition room. Lorne Michaels has also kept this show on for nearly four decades, so he obviously seems to know what he is doing.
What is a little more interesting is a comment that Pharoah made recently to theGrio, where he takes a more hardline stance on wanting to see a black female comic in the cast soon. He even names one in 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.”
Pharoah has also since come out with a statement on Facebook saying that he “loves” his job on the show, just in case anyone wants to take his comments here as him lashing out or demanding the show cast some more minorities to even out the balance.
While it may be hard here to differentiate right and wrong, what do you think about the comments made here by Kenan and Jay? Share below, and click here if you want to read our most-recent “SNL” episode review.