Should Saturday Night Live wish to run a sketch featuring First Lady Michelle Obama they’ll have to hang a Help Wanted shingle outside the NBC studio. The cast lacks a black female comic again this season, and one of the show’s two black performers says he knows why.
Kenan Thompson, a veteran SNL member known for his impression of Rev. Al Sharpton, told an interviewer this week that the show simply can’t find any black comediennes worthy of the iconic show.
It’s just a tough part of the business,” Thompson says. “Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.” Asked how the show plans to handle any spoofs of black female celebrities, or, say, a FLOTUS gag this season, Thompson responded, “I don’t know. We just haven’t done them. That’s what I’m saying. Maybe [Jay Pharoah] will do it or something, but even he doesn’t really want to do it.
Thompson’s explanation is already causing waves on Twitter, with black comic Aisha Tyler of Archer fame dubbing Thompson “dumb” for his comments.
SNL routinely hears it from critics who blast the show for its lack of diversity. This season, the sketch series hired five new performers–all of whom are white. Thompson’s comments will likely inspire an apology–and perhaps force the show to hire more minorities.