Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Media Moment 2 - Lack of Diversity on SNL

Recently, SNL has been criticized for its lack of diversity since the announcement of its six new cast members who are "five white men and one fair-skinned woman of mixed descent (a high-profile addition to the writing staff is black stand-up comic Michael Che)." And in the show's whole history, they have only had 4 black female cast members on the sketch comedy show and there has never been an Asian or Hispanic comedian in the cast. The only 2 black cast members of this season, Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah (who plays the president) spoke out about the controversy which you can read about here:

I would like to focus on Kenan Thompson's remarks. He said, “It’s just a tough part of the business,” Thompson says. “Like in auditions, they (producers) just never find ones that are ready.” While I am a fan of Kenan Thompson and SNL, this statement is so misguided. If SNL's producers can't find comedians who are women of color, they are not looking hard enough. From Jessica Williams on The Daily Show to Issa Rae on The Mis-Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl to Mindy Kaling on The Mindy Project, there are absolutely hilarious women of color in the media and I am sure there are more women of color out there that need to be discovered. Women of color are already lacking in the media, more so in comedy, and producers need to make more of an effort to bring women of color into the show. Logically, it would make sense. Kenan Thompson already said he will not be playing women on the show anymore, which is understandable. Chris Rock has said, "The black community doesn’t have that many movies, so if there’s only four black movies in a year and two of them star black men in dresses, I could see how that would upset some people." SNL needs funny women to play celebrities like Michelle Obama, Oprah, and Beyonce. They can be an asset to the show.

What do you think? Do you think producers are at fault? Or do you think that women of color are not getting the chances to be prepared to be “ready” for something like SNL? How much of an effect do you think stereotypes of women of color play into the casting in comedy shows?

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