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Kenan Thompson Doesn’t Want To Keep Playing Black Females

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Kenan Thompson caught some heat earlier this week when an interview with TV Guide came out that focused on the fact that there are no women of color on “Saturday Night Live”, which Thompson has been a cast member on for the past ten years. For many of those years, Thompson–who got his start as a child actor on the Nickelodeon variety show “All That”–has been given little choice but to play the role of any black woman needed for a sketch, from Mo’Nique to Maya Angelou and Jennifer Hudson. Now, he says he doesn’t want to do it anymore, and that the show needs to open its doors to the talented women he knows are out there.

As far as finding someone of color who can hold up to the pressure of the show, Thompson says it’s been a hard reality that none have made it past an audition.

“It’s just a tough part of the business,” Thompson says. “Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.” And as for the new additions to the cast, who are all white? “They’re all contributing in different ways I think. They’ve been doing great job so far. They’re all very, very smart and talented, so that’s how it is. That’s the kind of people I guess that get the job.”

While it’s true that sometimes a man stepping into a pair of pumps for a sketch can add an element of comedy that would be lacking if an actual woman took the role–think Chris Farley as the Lunch Lady, or Will Ferrell as Janet Reno–the sad fact is, there have only been four black women on SNL during the 38 years it’s been on the air: Yvonne Hudson (1980-81), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95) and Maya Rudolph (2000-2007).

“There is a long and proud tradition of black women in standup comedy specifically, dating back to and before Moms Mabley, so women of color have long had at least a few notable women to model themselves after in the standup world,” said actress and comedian Aisha Tyler. “Not so much so in sketch and improv.” Still, she says, ” “Maybe they [SNL] could be doing a better job of recruiting women of color, which might feed the system in a more robust way. But honestly, if SNL isn’t finding funny women of color, they’re just not looking hard enough. It smacks of laziness.”

Kenan Thompson Doesn’t Want To Keep Playing Black Females
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  • John mckenna

    Who cares ? Look you are a minority, which means there are less black people available, and besides, you play the women part so well! When you play the part of a guy, its not so funny, so what is your problem ? If you don’t want to be part of the team, why don’t you just quit. I do agree, it should be easy to get other black or brown actors who can be funny also, and I hope other minorities appear, not just black or brown. How about Chinese, East Indian, Native Indian, Metis, French or other minorities ? Would be good to see fresh faces, but don’t stick around and complain. If your not happy, leave already !,!

  • John mckenna

    Get over yourself. You play a great women, but as a guy you are just not funny. I hope they do find other minority players, but why only black or brown ? Don’t forget we have a much larger minority in Latinos, and hey, what about Chinese, East Indian, Native American, Metis, or even a french person ? Anyway if you want to quit go ahead, but stop complaining and move on with your life and give someone else a chance. Too bad though, you sure made us laugh as a woman a guynot so much ….

    • Kali Norcott

      Keenan shouldn’t have to keep playing a woman. I’m glad he stood up for himself. There are plenty of minority actors/ actresses who are ready, willing, and able to act especially on SNL.