‘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

Lots to see in Upper Skagit, even if the eagles are elusive

A guided hike through a mossy old-growth forest more than makes up for a lack of raptor sightings.

Shopping cart showdown: Which stores have best food prices?

Jennifer Bardsley compares Fred Meyer, PCC, QFC, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, WinCo and Whole Foods offers.

Take a closer look: Winter gardens share gifts in subtle way

Go on a neighborhood walk this month to enjoy the seasonal beauty offered by a variety of gardens.

Lucasfilm
                                Daisy Ridley stars as Rey in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend of all-time

The Disney blockbuster became just the fourth film to open above $200 million domestically.

Samish Flats in Skagit County prime turf for winter birders

This spot is great for birdwatching because of the mostly flat land, marshy areas and open water.

Outdoor classes and activities in and around Snohomish County

GET OUT Christmas bird count: Volunteers are needed for the Everett-Marysville Christmas… Continue reading

Relationship do’s and don’ts: Lessons from 40 years of marriage

Paul Schoenfeld reflects on what he’s learned about relationships after four decades with his wife.

Making it through the holidays on 4 legs and 4 wheels

1. Driving safety Here are some travel tips from the Red Cross… Continue reading

The top 10 albums of 2017: From Jay-Z to St. Vincent

This year saw an upward trend in music industry revenue due to the popularity of streaming services.

Most Read