Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Kenan Thompson Addresses 'SNL's Diversity Issue

After SNL added six new cast members — all of them white — in August, the show has received criticism from Salon and others for its lack of diversity. One of the show's three actors of color (along with Jay Pharoah and Nasim Pedrad), Kenan Thompson, spoke about the issue in an interview with TV Guide. When asked what the show will do when there are black female public figures to make fun of, Thompson responded, "I don't know. We just haven't done them. That's what I'm saying. Maybe [Jay Pharaoh] will do it or something, but even he doesn't really want to do it."

"It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson said when asked by TV Guide about the complete lack of black female cast members. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready." Thompson did have nice things to say about the show's six new additions: "They're all contributing in different ways I think. They've been doing great job so far. They're all very, very smart and talented, so that's how it is. That's the kind of people I guess that get the job."

Cast member Jay Pharoah also addressed the diversity issue in an interview earlier this month, suggesting that the show hire black female comedian Darmirra Brunson as a cast member.

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  • Will

    Very misleading "interview" by TV Guide in order to make Kenan sound absurd. He said that the black comediennes that have auditioned were not ready, not that there is a lack of black comediennes in the universe. TV Guide: sacrificing black comedians for black comediennes

  • eminemrapgod

    Cecily Strong is Latin. The cast is 25% minority/ethnic. That's in line with America as a whole.

  • eminemrapgod

    Also Kate McKinnon (and I'm pretty sure John Milhiser) are gay. There's a lot more to diversity than skin color.

  • Darling

    Where did you get the fact that Cecily is Latina?! I love Cecily but she's never said she is a Latina. Or by "Latin" you mean "European Latin"? Because that's just absurd. We all know what most TV shows are missing, don't try to give us apples for oranges.

  • Ann

    I apologize for being pedantic, but the term "white" is defined as a person who originates from Europe or the Middle East, meaning the cast only has two "persons of color". http://web.archive.org/web/20111005024244/http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-05.pdf

    But then again, it's Salon and TV Guide, not the New York Times, so I guess it's not worth getting bent out of shape over.

  • Matt

    I like Kenan's comments. I still don't like that this is even an issue. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready" says more than anything. Can we shut up now and stop acting like SNL is even culturally relevant and enjoyable?

  • Wanda

    How many women of color work at Splitsider?