i don’t watch saturday night live. i remember being in high school, and when my mostly white classmates would reenact scenes from the show i’d be totally lost and slightly bored. however, it’s not that i’m not a fan of sketch comedy, but i don’t typically watch television shows that, as a black woman, i find unrelatable.
recently, snl has faced lots of scrutiny for its lack of diversity and kenan thompson’s comments that the black actresses who auditioned “weren’t ready.” black folx thought thompson’s comments were insane and the show was simply failing to meet the responsibility of creating a diverse cast. writing for slate, tanner colby’s analysis of the show’s not only mostly white cast, but racially homogenous writers, staff and work environment is the perfect description of the difference between diversity and inclusion:
maya rudolph, for instance, has no shortage of talent, but her success on the show probably had as much to do with her ability to form relationships with white people as it did her ability to land a joke. because that’s what working at saturday night live is. it’s not performing live on television at 11:30 on saturday night. it’s hanging out with a peer group of mostly white writers, producers, and crew members and forming the relationships necessary to be given the opportunity to perform live on television at 11:30 on saturday night
according to colby, it takes not only a black actor or actress being invited to have a seat at the snl table, but for he or she to have the ability to form relationships with peers aka assimilate into the dominant group. then sasheer zamata happened. she’s 27, has a drama degree from the university of virginia and will be joining the snl cast on january 18th. oh, did i mention she’s black? and hilarious? check out her standup comedy and see for yourself why i’ll be tuning into snl for the first time in my life next saturday night at 11:30.