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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

13

There Is No Good Reason for SNL Not to Cast a Black Female Comedian

Saturday Night Live needs a black female cast member. There are exactly zero non-racist excuses for the lack of diversity on network TV in general, but SNL's diversity mandate is uniquely pressing because of the show's explicit goal: to spoof, at large, a pop culture whose mainstream is driven, in part and undeniably, by the work of black women (Oprah, Rihanna, Beyonce, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, more).

But SNL has only ever had four black female cast members in its almost 40 years on the air (in comparison, they added five white male cast members this year alone); as a result, black women in pop culture are avoided whenever possible, and black women in general are most often represented by the black male cast members in embarrassing, retrograde Big Momma drag.

And, whatever the comedian's gender, to be black in mainstream comedy still means fighting against a lot of people who think your skin color makes you part of a monolith. So Kenan Thompson's tossed-off words to TV Guide about black female characters ("I don't know. We just haven't done them") and black female comedians ("They just never find ones that are ready") feel especially lame and indoctrinated, especially in light of the prolific, excellent work of many such comedians (a reminder of Sasheer Zamata's endlessly funny "Tie" video). Below, also, is a video written and directed by Zamata and starring Nicole Byer, who she performs with at UCB: this sketch, "Be Blacker," is a solid, sharp, and cuttingly funny reminder of how deep and wide this problem really goes.



13 Comments / Post A Comment

StandardTuber

This video reminds me of The Hollywood Shuffle.

It would be great to see more than one POC in mainstream (i.e. not labelled "ethnic" or "urban") comedy. Mad TV and In Living Color had such great casts, but it seems like no show can touch the hyper-flame of SNL. Why? Is it just because it's been around the longest?

There are so many "brown" actors/actresses who work in multiple ethnic roles, also. It'd be funny to see that portrayed in this same vain.

Jill_Tata

The funny came at the end. :) The old let me borrow from your culture just enough to make mine a little more interesting. STAY WHITE!!!@k

leonstj

I think the amount of comics I've heard say ridiculous shit like "Comedy comes from a place of pain and suffering" viewed against the number of comedy-people who say things like "It's a meritocracy. If comedy is mostly straight white men, it's because they just happen to be the individuals who are funniest" is a big part of why I've quit following comedy altogether and just focus on getting my kicks from music these days.

supernintendochalmers

Amazing sketch. It made me so uncomfortable but the ending was worth it.

stuffisthings

Let's solve all of society's problems in one go and appoint 12 black female comedians to the Twitter board of directors.

beezus.

I recently discovered Eudora Peterson's YouTube channel and since then have been wishing some place like SNL would hire her.

MrsTeacherFace

I love Nicole Byer so much. I didn't love Girl Code the one time my girl friends had a marathon, but she was definitely the best part it.

iceberg

OUCH that actually hurt to watch. Many blessings and success to that actress, she deserves it so hard!

OhMarie

Agghhhh Keenan why do you have to do this to me?!

SNL just hire one of these ladies right now you're driving me crazy.

MissCellaneous

A) That sketch was hilarious.

B) I hadn't paid too much attention to SNL casting but I watched season opener with Tina Fey where they introduced all the new people. If one of them came up to me, yelled in my face, and stole my purse, I would not be able to pick them out of a line-up made up of all the other new cast members (including the new girl.) I'm sure they're funny enough but they're so generic. There is absolutely no way there isn't a more diverse and interesting pool of people they could have chosen. It's effing ridiculous.

vetinh

may phat dien on freewebsite service,

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