Female African-American comedians were understandably among those who were most upset after “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson said this week that “SNL” has no black-women cast members because there aren’t enough of them to choose from.
“It’s just a tough part of the business,” said Thompson, who’s African-American, in an interview with TV Guide. “Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”
The subject of diversity — or the lack thereof — in the makeup of “SNL’s” cast arose because of the addition last month of six new cast members, five men and one women.
Many observers noticed that none of them were black or Asian, which led to widespread discussions on the Internet about the show, with many questioning if the current cast accurately reflects the makeup of its audience, or if such a reflection is necessary.
Thompson was apparently reacting to the controversy when he was asked about it by TV Guide.
In the last few days, though, the topic has come up for discussion on various TV talk shows, most notably shows featuring black comediennes and performers such as “The View,” with Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd, and “The Talk,” with standup comic Sheryl Underwood and actress Aisha Tyler.
“That really insults me,” Sherri said on “The View” of Kenan’s comments. “I think they’re not doing the work to find funny women of color,” she said of “SNL,” after noting that the show has had only four African-American women as cast members in its entire 39-year history.
On “The Talk,” Julie Chen brought up the topic when she noted that “SNL” has had no Asian women in its cast in its entire history. Chen is Asian-American.