'Saturday Night Live' to Add a Black Female Cast Member After Criticism


Kerry Washington on SNL

'Saturday Night Live' executive producer Lorne Michaels has confirmed that 'SNL' will be adding at least one black female cast member in January, with the possibly of a second one.

'SNL' recently held two showcase auditions consisting entirely of African-American women, and Michaels has confirmed that they will be seeing 7-8 women for in-studio tests. The last black woman to grace the stage at Studio 8H was Maya Rudolph, who left the show in 2007.

With Seth Meyer's departure from the show to take over for Jimmy Fallon at the 'Late Night' desk, plans had already been in place to add a new cast member mid-season, but it looks like selection process has shifted to just African-American women comediennes.

The long-running sketch comedy show faced criticism earlier this year, when it added six new cast members, all but one of whom were white males. The 'SNL' cast is not completely without diversity: Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah are currently the only African-Americans, and Nasim Pedrad is Iranian-American. However, in a show overwhelmingly dominated by white males, it will be nice to see a more diversified cast.

The show made fun of itself in a recent episode hosted by Kerry Washington, in which the African-American actress ran herself ragged in the opening sketch, playing everyone from Michelle Obama, to Oprah, to Beyonce.

Among the names being thrown around as potential new cast members: Bresha Webb, Misty Monroe, Tanisha Long, Gabrielle Dennis, and Amber Ruffin.

- Saturday Night Live
- Lorne Michaels

Written by: Colleenhaha
Dec 13th, 2013, 5:07 pm

Image courtesy of NBC


Message Posted On Dec 16th, 2013, 12:01 pm
why must everything always be about skin colour or cultural heritage in america? whatever happened to all those values they're always going on about viz. equality? the US is clearly a nation that thrives on creating cultural and ethnic divisions; 'fear of the other' and scapegoating always serve as an excellent method of control, no? this SNL debacle, much as many other ethnocentric debates in the States, is only relevant in a society that does not hold equality as an aspiration, but rather a commodity.

Message Posted On Dec 15th, 2013, 8:18 am
Only Gays should play Gay characters, and those Dwarves/Hobbits should only be played by Little People. Anything else will be out of character because people just can not act anymore.

Message Posted On Dec 15th, 2013, 6:03 am
"Obama didn't get the Nobel because he was black, he got it because he wasn't George W Bush." So McCain would have been a shooin for the Nobel?

Message Posted On Dec 15th, 2013, 6:02 am
"You wouldn't cast a talented teenager for the role of a grandfather, right?" You just destroyed the entire concept of ACTING. By your reasoning you would not cast a White guy as a "Native American" or a nondisabled person as someone in a wheelchair. For years Garret Morris was the ONLY black on SNL. How much funnier was the show way back then? It is about QUALITY of talent, both on screen and behind the screen.

Message Posted On Dec 14th, 2013, 4:19 pm
Obama didn't get the Nobel because he was black, he got it because he wasn't George W Bush. People don't get cast in the entertainment industry on merit alone, that's just naive. You wouldn't cast a talented teenager for the role of a grandfather, right?

Message Posted On Dec 14th, 2013, 4:12 pm
A depth of ethnicity in characters allows for a larger spectrum of sketches, which SNL has lacked for quite some time now. The show hasn't been funny for quite a while, at least not as funny as it used to be. Anything they can do to make it fresh is worth the effort. As far as the new cast member feeling "forced into the job" that's just ridiculous, if they don't want it, they won't take it... I don't think there's a comedian out there that wouldn't regardless of their genetic make-up.

Message Posted On Dec 14th, 2013, 2:51 pm
Frankly, I don't care about their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, height, weight, eye color, hair color, shoe size, ear shape, right handed or left handed, vegetarian, omnivore, age, astrology sign, criminal background, color preference, handicapped, non-handicapped, national origin, veterans status, ethnicity, annual income, political preference, operating system preference, favorite car, marital status, dating status, drug habit or any of the thousand other things that people seem to care about. The only thing I care about is ... are they funny! Worrying about anything else is immaterial, petty, small minded, moronic, demeaning, a waste of time....

Message Posted On Dec 14th, 2013, 7:33 am
Gone are the days when people get things based on talent. I'm a gay, black, transsexual, jewish, midget. I demand a spot now!!!

Level 9 (5%)
Points: 1534.7
Since: 11/Oct/12
Message Posted On Dec 13th, 2013, 8:05 pm

Well said, Anonymous.


Message Posted On Dec 13th, 2013, 7:31 pm
"However, in a show overwhelmingly dominated by white males, it will be nice to see a more diversified cast." Hhow many cast members are Jewish? Singling out a single group, Whites/Males/Jews, looks to be a bit of Liberal kneejerk over-reaction. Isn't it a more insulting to have a TOKEN Black woman, than have to have NO Black woman? Won't she feel forced into the job not because of talent,but simply to meet a quota. Much like Obama's "Peace" prize handed to him for just being Black. How many Native Americans of either gender are on SNL? Asians? Maybe one of each sex, race and religion should be hired so we can all feel good. Toss in some cross dressers like Eddie Izzard, and Transsexuals just to cover all bases. Anyone left out of the mix? Oh yeah, REAL handicapped people, those in wheel chairs and with Downs syndrome. Talk about being under represented. Dwarves too. May as well go whole hog and add as many groups to the mix as money can buy.
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