Thursday, January 16, 2014

About Time SNL You Addressed The Lack Of Diversity

This weekend I'm going to get a chance to see for the first time since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007 something I've only seen four other times in SNL's 39 year history, and my watching the show goes back to its inaugural season in 1975.  

A Black woman as a cast member.

Sasheer Zamata will be joining the NBC Saturday Night Live cast this weekend in a long overdue move and congratulations to her for getting the nod after that secret audition they held last month to address their lack of diversity problem in the onscreen cast. 

What is even more important were the other hires made immediately after Zamata's. 

They addressed a problem that I made mention of at the end of my December 12 post.

By the way, may also help immensely if you diversify your team of SNL writers while you're at it.

LaKendra Tookes Leslie Jones - H 2013Guess somebody was paying attention to the end of my post discussing the December audition.  Two African-American women, LeKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones were hired as part of the SNL writing team and started on Monday.

Tookes and Jones were also part of the December audition and caught the eye of SNL's producers.

They are starting as writers, but don't be surprised if you don't see them in front of the camera one day.   Tina Fey got her start as an SNL writer.  

And yeah, the white menz are hatin' already and flinging the affirmative action hire shade.   Hey, if comedy writing wasn't an exclusively white male dominated province, wouldn't be necessary for us to point that inconvenient for you fact out.  As far as I'm concerned, the more diverse the writing team, the better and anything that changes that vanillacentric dynamic is a good thing.  

One of the major reasons I stopped watching the show was the lack of cast diversity and it ceased being funny to me.  The November SNL show that Kerry Washington hosted was the first time since Maya Rudolph left I've even bothered to flip the TV to NBC to watch it. 

SNL shouldn't stop with just Black talent and writers.  There is a need to have more diversity reflected onscreen and behind the cameras.  Latinos are the largest minority group in this country, but there has never been a Latina cast member on Saturday Night Live in the nearly 40 year history of the program.  We could also use Asian cast members as well, because they are also woefully underrepresented in the show's cast.

So yes, time to get busy making that happen.  

Diversity will make SNL better, and hopefully return this iconic show to the glory days as America's preeminent comedic satire show and improve its ratings at the same time.

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