‘Saturday Night Live’ pokes fun at its lack of diversity

  • By David Bauder Associated Press
  • Sunday, November 3, 2013 9:29pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

NEW YORK — With Kerry Washington as guest host, “Saturday Night Live” wasted no time poking fun at itself after receiving criticism for having no black women among its 16 regular cast members.

In the opening skit, the “Scandal” actress portrayed First Lady Michelle Obama, talking with her husband about an upcoming state dinner at the White House.

“Michelle, this is such a treat,” said the president, impersonated by Jay Pharoah. “I feel like it’s been years since I’ve seen you.”

An aide came in, saying Oprah Winfrey had arrived for the dinner and wanted to see the president. “Don’t you think you should get changed?” he asked Washington. She wondered whether cast member Kenan Thompson couldn’t play Winfrey; Both Thompson and Pharoah have said recently they will no longer impersonate women on the NBC late-night comedy institution.

Washington left the stage and returned as Winfrey. She was then asked to portray Beyonce — before the show’s executive producer, Lorne Michaels, stepped in.

Michaels said producers would like to apologize to Washington for the number of black women she would be asked to play in the show.

“We make this request both because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent, and also because ‘Saturday Night Live’ does not currently have a black woman in the cast,” he said. “We agree this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the future — unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first.”

The show has had four black women among its regular cast since coming on the air in 1975 with the last one, biracial Maya Rudolph, leaving in 2007. Both Pharoah and Thompson have recently addressed the situation in interviews, with Pharoah even lobbying for a specific comic to be added — Darmirra Brunson of the OWN sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor.”

To drive the point home in the skit, the presidential aide announced that six different Matthew McConaugheys were there to attend the state dinner — and six different white male cast members trooped in dressed as the actor.

Then the Rev. Al Sharpton appeared on the stage.

“What have we learned from this sketch?” Sharpton said. “As usual, nothing.”

He then delivered the show’s traditional opening line of “live from New York, it’s Saturday night.”

During the show, Washington portrayed a gum-chewing assistant to a career counselor, a political science professor discussing her unwavering support for Obama, Miss Uganda in a beauty pageant, a game show host, a teacher at the dunk tank in a school carnival and an 18-year-old contestant in an MTV dating game.

She also joked about “Scandal” co-star Tony Goldwyn, saying that she was “proud to be on a show that has the courage to cast a white man as president” in 2013.

More in Life

The “Hamilton” marquee at The Paramount in Seattle. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
Seattle’s ‘Hamilton’ is everything it’s hyped to be and more

The blockbuster musical at The Paramount in Seattle runs through March 18.

Andrea Rosen, mother of two, quit eating sugar more than 1,000 days ago. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
How kicking her sugar habit changed a Mill Creek mom’s life

Andrea Rosen quit eating sweets 3 years ago, lost weight, felt better and her family also benefited.

Beer of the Week: Hazy IPA, 4-Ways

Four Snohomish breweries decided to brew a single malt hazy IPA made with four different hops.

Tiny book “Tonic” packed with with homeopathic remedies

Tanita de Ruijt’s recipes help support your body’s natural defences and heighten your state of mind.

Exceptional eggplant: 4 recipes with the funny-shaped veggie

By Daniel Neman / St. Louis Post-Dispatch Let’s face it, eggplant is… Continue reading

How to roast Brussels sprouts to crispy goodness

Toss these compact cabbages with toss with homemade sweet and sour vinaigrette.

Ambiguity of ‘The Invisibility Cloak’ by Ge Fei is tantalizing

The story of a man offered to build an incredible sound system delves into odd turns and noir.

These tasty enchiladas take only 5 minutes in the microwave

Serve this Mexican-inspired turkey and refried bean dish with fried corn on the side.

Peanut butter helps West African-style stew find the ‘sweet spot’

This recipe is a colorful medley of sweet potatoes, tomato, bell pepper and collard greens.

Most Read