Posts tagged as race

The Problem with Poehler and Fey's Golden Globes Cosby Joke

In what is perhaps the most French thing to ever happen, a handsome, stubble-faced marcher wearing a manscarf at the Charlie Hebdo rally was photographed holding a sign that said: “I’m marching, but I’m aware of the confusion and hypocrisy of the situation.” I love this guy because this is precisely how I feel about a great many political and social things and most recently, the 2015 Golden Globes.

By now we’ve all heard that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler went in on Bill Cosby in their opening monologue (dialogue?). This is a good thing for anyone who is generally against people being raped and their attackers being shielded [...]

'SNL's Leslie Jones and the Problem with Misplaced Outrage

Forty years ago, Saturday Night Live aired a sketch wherein Chevy Chase interviewed Richard Pryor for a job. It became instantly infamous because of a word association game the two comedians engaged in that culminated with Richard Pryor calling Chase a "dead honkey" after Chase offered up the word "nigger." Paul Mooney, the legendary comedian who penned the sketch, said he based it on his experience being overly interviewed by network executives as to whether or not he was qualified to be one of Pryor's writers for the episode. Forty years later, it is arguably one of the greatest sketches the show has ever aired.

This past Saturday, newcomer Leslie [...]

Today in Lena Dunham: Race, Letterheads, and Directing

Speaking at Fortune magazine’s annual Most Powerful Women conference yesterday, Girls star/creator/producer/director/writer Lena Dunham addressed the criticism her HBO series received during its first season for its lack of minority characters. Dunham said she experienced “heartbreak at the idea that the show would make anyone feel isolated” and promised the second season would include "a multitude of new characters in the show. There are some of color. Some are not. Some are Caucasian.” It’s already been reported that Donald Glover will be appearing in the new season, but Dunham seems to have some female minority characters planned, saying she’s reacting to people "who are women of color [...]

Comedian Kevin Avery Presents Thugs, The Musical Not the Musical Thugs

While we're talking about race in Hollywood, here is a funny trailer from comedian Kevin Avery. The mockumentary starring Avery, Margaret Cho, and David Alan Grier examines the nature of how race is portrayed on television and also what that means to the actors who play those parts, even when they are so far removed from that culture. Also, it has the very funny American comedian Baron Vaughn playing a British actor trying his best to do an effective American accent. Seriously, seriously, Americans playing British people trying to play American people is the best. Remember in Ocean's 13 when Don Cheadle's British character pretended to be the [...]

Let's Do Something Different with Comedy Crowdfunding

By this point you’ve read a billion think-pieces on crowdfunding. Is it saving art? Is it the worst thing to happen to art? You’ve seen Veronica Mars and Reading Rainbow come back through it. And whether you like it or hate it, there’s no denying that crowdfunding is a major force in the creative world today and it’s going to be a tool that artists of all mediums utilize for the foreseeable future. Here’s the thing: there are so many weird and cool and thought-provoking ideas out there, but somehow the vast majority of the comedy projects out there have been the variations on the same theme: “Help me make [...]

Key & Peele React to 'SNL's Diversity Issue

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of Comedy Central's sketch show Key and Peele, did an interview with THR in which they discussed SNL's recent diversity issue:

PEELE: I think everyone sees what's going on, which is Lorne Michaels has a history of relating to white men, and it is a field where there are a disproportionate amount of whacky white guys. But the truth of the matter is, we have so many friends who are African-American women who are straight-up ready that it doesn't really hold water to us.

KEY: That would be our opinion. But we run in different circles than Lorne Michaels does, if you can [...]

Black Ops: 'Post-Racial' Comedy in the Age of Obama

In 2010, former troupe-mates Donald Glover and DC Pierson returned from Los Angeles to perform at The Creek and The Cave, in New York City. Glover was tossed a question from an audience member: What's it like working with Chevy Chase? In response, he described how Chase had delivered a 40-minute lecture to Saturday Night Live cast member Bobby Moynihan laying out the case for why Glover has to be homosexual, which he is not. "That's the only way a guy like Chevy Chase has of processing a black guy who looks like me, talks like me, dresses like me," said Glover on stage that night. "That's how alien [...]

Girls is the Whitest Show on Television, Other Than Every Other Show

The New York Times used the race-based Girls backlash (opposed to the class and nepotism based backlash) to look at how race is represented on television, or, more appropriately, it isn’t. The author writes:

"Television is nowhere near diverse enough — not in its actors, its writers or its show runners. The problems identified by critics of Girls are systemic, traceable to network executives who greenlight shows and shoot down plenty of others. It’s at that level that diversity stands or falls."

He points to vastly more popular shows like Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother that are equally as monochromatic, if not [...]

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 [...]

'The Daily Show's Larry Wilmore Has Advice for Republicans on Minority Outreach

Here's The Daily Show's Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore talking about a recent push by Republicans to appeal to minority voters, and, in true Daily Show fashion, digging up some pretty appalling clips that he then makes fun of.

Lena Dunham Addresses Girls Racial Criticism Like A Good Liberal Arts Grad

When the Girls backlash was at its peak (all the way back in April), it was hard for Lena Dunham, the show's creator/writer/director/star, to address the show's controversies with the level of sincerity and thoroughness the issue demanded. Instead, we got this eventually deleted tweet from Girls writer Lesley Arfin:

“What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME”

Which was glib and made the problem worse. Now that things have cooled down, and her show has gotten picked up for another season, Lena, herself, was able to address the issue directly, in a conversation with NPR's Fresh Air:

How to Build the Ultimate Black Comedian

You can’t get through life as a black person without a sense of humor. The setup and premises of life all too often leave you the butt of the joke. That’s why most contemporary black folk have a little “Comedy BlackPack” in them. A little Richard Pryor, a little Eddie Murphy, a little Chris Rock, and finally some Dave Chappelle: This is the Mount Rushmore of contemporary black comedy. And the future of black comedy, the ideal up-and-comer — the Black Comedian 3000, if you will — takes a little from each to form his own shtick.