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Posts tagged as diversity

Standup Guy Branum Wrote a Great Piece About Diversity and Representation on TV

"Isn't that the fascinating irony of being under-represented in media? That when your group is finally represented, your response is a sharp, shocking sense of 'that is not like me.' Black America chaffed at the middle class comfort of The Cosby Show, career women of the 70s winced at the prim perfection of Mary Tyler Moore, and gay men rolled their eyes at the swishy camp of Jack on Will and Grace. But with decades of perspective, we can now see that these were groundbreaking series that did huge work to educate America about issues of race, gender and sexual orientation. The problem wasn't the TV shows; it was us. We didn't know how to be seen."

-Standup [...]

Jerry Seinfeld on Diversity in Comedy: "Who Cares?"

During his Buzzfeed Brews interview with CBS This Morning yesterday, Jerry Seinfeld was asked by Peter Lauria about the predominantly white male list of guests featured on his hit web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Seinfeld's response, which you can watch in the above clip, seemed as tired of the question as it was defensive: People think it's the census or something … who cares? Funny is the world that I live in. You're funny — I'm interested. You're not funny — I'm not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that, but everyone else is kind of with their little calculating [...]

'SNL' Review: Kerry Washington Is Ready

I never thought we would see the day when SNL considered itself newsworthy enough to parody. But it happened — not in the form of a quick joke during the monologue or Weekend Update, or a walk-on by Lorne Michaels, as has happened before — but with a whole cold open sketch, wherein host Kerry Washington was compelled to play numerous black female characters (Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce) because SNL literally had no one else who could do them. The meta-sketch also included a half-apologetic text scroll from the producers promising to fix the situation, unless they "fall in love with another white guy first," and a cameo by [...]

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 [...]

WGA Finds TV Writing Staffs to Lack Age, Gender, and Racial Diversity

The Writers Guild of America West released its "2013 TV Staffing Brief" this week, examining the percentage of female, minority, and older writers staffed on shows during the 2011-12 TV season. While there's been a little bit of progress in the way of diversity, TV writing still seems to be a field dominated by white dudes as you can see in the full report.

How 'SNL' Addressed Race in Season 39, as Shown in 11 Sketches

With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here, we look at the show's shifting tone on race over the arc of this season.

This has not been an easy year for SNL to talk about race. From the moment the show announced its six new cast members — the largest turnover in more than a decade — and viewers noticed that not one of them was a person of color, SNL once again became a target of progressive viewers calling for the cast to [...]

'SNL's Push to Diversify Was Problematic, But the Results Are Worth It

This week, Saturday Night Live hired three African-American women to prominent positions: Sasheer Zamata as a cast member and LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones as writers. Zamata is the show's first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph, who departed in 2007, and Tookes and Jones are the show's first black female writers since Vanessa Middleton, who was briefly on the show's staff from 1992 to 1993. It's great to see SNL making more diverse hires, but it's disappointing that producers were shamed into adding the show's first black female writers/performers in years by the recent wave of criticism that came SNL's way for its lack of diversity. Zamata, Tookes, [...]

Lorne Michaels Responds to the 'SNL' Diversity Issue

Saturday Night Live has been taking some heat in the press for its lack of diversity after adding six new cast members, all of them white and five of them male, this fall. In the wake of a controversial quote from longtime cast member Kenan Thompson two weeks ago about how the show never finds black female comedians who are "ready," SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels has finally weighed in on the matter. When asked about the show not having any black female cast members by The AP, Michaels responded, "It's not like it's not a priority for us. It will happen. I'm sure it will happen." While [...]

Jay Pharoah on 'SNL's Diversity Issue: "They Need to Pay Attention"

With the addition of six new cast members this season, all of whom are white, Saturday Night Live has come under fire for its lack of diversity over the past couple weeks. Jay Pharoah, one of two black members of the 16-person cast, weighed in on the matter during an interview with theGrio:

"They need to pay attention. Her name is 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 [...]

'The New York Times' Says Jerry Seinfeld Is Failing to Pay It Forward

"Mr. Seinfeld, more than most, could use his show to give a platform to comics needing discovery. Instead, he packs it with fellow stars. They reminisce together about the days when they were nobodies and given glorious breaks, and seem almost unaware that there are nobodies today who could benefit from breaks of that very kind."

- The New York Times in a new piece comparing the "everyman scrutiny" of Seinfeld to the comedian's web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which has drawn criticism for its lack of guest diversity.

'SNL' Held an Audition of Exclusively Black Female Performers Last Week

Saturday Night Live is searching for a new black female cast member. The show's producers held a showcase audition at LA's Groundlings Theater last Sunday during SNL's week off, with all black female performers auditioning. Bresha Webb, Nicole Byer, Amber Ruffin, Simone Shepherd, Tiffany Haddish, LaKendra Tookes, Damirra Brunson, Azie Dungey, Beth Payne, Misty Monroe, and Gabrielle Dennis all tried out. Webb posted a photo of the group of auditioners on Instagram last week. "They used our space but ran everything internally," said a rep from Groundlings. SNL  brought in its own list of performers to try out; this was not a showcase of Groundlings performers.

Brunson was [...]

Let's Talk About SNL's Diversity Problem

Kenan Thompson has been taking a lot of heat this week for a comment he made in a TV Guide interview about SNL's lack of a black female cast member, despite the recent hiring of six white performers. Following Jay Pharoah's rather blunt remark to theGrio that "They need to pay attention" and cast a black woman like Darmirra Brunson, Thompson had a more ambiguous response:

Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, Pharaoh and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. "It's just a tough part of [...]

Why 'SNL' Should Work On Its Lack of Diversity

With the new season of Saturday Night Live kicking off this weekend, Salon has an interesting look at the show's ongoing race problem. Notably, all six of the show's new cast members this year are white, though the show's lack of diversity has been true for much of its run. Most people theorize that, given SNL's history of pulling cast members from Second City and the Upright Citizens Brigade, they are simply seeing more white comics than minorities who fit the established sensibility of the the show.

But people who complain that the pool of minority comedians in America is too small are “looking at the country club pool. They’re [...]