Throughout his career, Kenan Thompson has worked with the best comedy has to offer. Kel Mitchell, Amanda Bynes, and THE Mushmouth. He knows funny when he sees it, especially when that funny speaks nonsense. So we should all take his comments to TV Guide about SNL‘s lack of diversity very seriously.
When asked what the show would do now when confronted with potential black female characters or celebrity spoofs, Thompson told TVGuide.com, “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.”
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 the business,” Thompson says. “Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.” (Via)
Clearly Kenan has never seen The Nutty Professor and Diary of a Mad Black Woman, or else he’d immediately request that Lorne hire the actresses who played Mama Kump and Madea. Such gifted women. (Also, to play devil’s advocate, maybe the black women who are auditioning for SNL aren’t good enough? Kenan doesn’t explicitly say that ALL black females aren’t funny, which obviously isn’t true; just that the ones who have tried out for this particular sketch show aren’t “ready.” It’s not a gender or race issue — it’s about talent, and in this context, “black female” could easily be replaced with “Indian male” or “Eastern European lesbian,” which is also the name of Kate McKinnon’s next character.) (Also to the also, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Williams, and Retta should be on every TV show.)