NPR Story
3:35 am
Mon December 16, 2013

'SNL' Looks To Add Black Woman To Comedy Show's Cast

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:47 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Comedy is a rough, cutthroat kind of business, makes no claims to be fair. But in recent months, the cry for better representation of black women on "Saturday Night Live" has grown louder.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In its 37 years on air, NBC's flagship sketch comedy show has had just four black female cast members, and there have been none for six years now. Pop-culture watchers argue that this matters because SNL is important springboard for young comedians.

WERTHEIMER: Now, when SNL lampoons, for instance, the all woman panel show "The View," Whoopi Goldberg sounds like this.

KENAN THOMPSON: (as Whoopi Goldberg) We're talking about hot topics. And don't worry, we've all made up during the commercial break.

(LAUGHTER)

WERTHEIMER: Now, that's SNL's Kenan Thompson and he is a male actor in drag.

GREENE: Even though the lack of black women on the show has come up before, it was Thompson who started the latest flare-up this fall. He told TV Guide that he was tired of playing women, but that the black women who auditioned for the show weren't, quote, "ready."

WERTHEIMER: Now, executive producer Loren Michaels is responding to the furor. "Saturday Night Live" has reportedly held auditions for black women. Yesterday, Michaels told The New York Times that will be hired and will join the show in the New Year.

GREENE: Who exactly is in the running is under wraps. But the Internet has its guesses. And you can watch clips of some of the actresses rumored to be possible picks at NPR's Code Switch blog. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.