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TV: New Black Comedienne to Join SNL (Finally)

TV: New Black Comedienne to Join SNL (Finally)

Public protests from castmembers, widespread media scrutiny, and the existence of many talented black comediennes have finally convinced longtime SNL producer Lorne Michaels to add an African-American funnywoman to the show. 

The New York Times reports that Michaels has held auditions in Los Angeles and New York to search for the next “player,” as SNL castmembers are known, to join the iconic sketch-comedy series. Only four black women have ever been hired by the show; the last, Maya Rudolph, left in 2007. 

Michaels told the Times, “All told we’ve seen about 25 people. A lot of the people we saw are really good. Hopefully we’ll come out of the process well.” He added that it would be “100 percent good for the show to have an African-American woman.” 

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I know I'm in the minority on this, but I hate this. It's tokenism at its worse, and it will stigmatize whatever comedian gets hired as a result. The real issue isn't why isn't there a black comedienne on SNL– it's why aren't there more sketch shows, featuring more diverse casts on TV? In Living Color, House Of Buggin', and even MadTV all proved to be training grounds for any number of great minority comedians. I understand that SNL is the standard bearer, but it shouldn't be the end-all be-all.

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