'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.