“Saturday Night Live” found itself in the headlines late last year after longtime cast member Kenan Thompson spoke up about his co-stars…and the lack of diversity on the show.
“It’s just a tough part of the business,” Thompson said. “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.”
Thompson, who said in an interview that he was tired of dressing up like a woman to portray black female characters simply because he was one of the only people of color on the show, seemed to imply that the lack of diversity among the cast was because black women aren’t funny enough. That, of course, stirred up a debate that led the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, to announce that open auditions would be held for a new actress. That was back in early December; now, Sasheer Zamata has been hired, and is the first black woman on the cast since Maya Rudolph left in 2007.
Zamata is a former member of the Upright Citizens Brigade who is rumored to do an incredible Michelle Obama impression. You can watch some of her wonderful work here.
Image via YouTube