(UPI) -- "I feel like it's been years since I've seen you," Jay Pharoah's Barack Obama said when Kerry Washington showed up as Michele Obama during Saturday Night Live's cold open this week. He meant that the show hasn't had a black actress to play the first lady since Maya Rudolph guest-hosted in February of last year.
Lorne Michael's iconic sketch show has been the subject of controversy in recent weeks, since Pharoah said in a September interview that SNL's cast was "too white." Kenan Thompson said last month that he had no interest in dressing in drag to play black women in the news.
"I don't know. We just haven't done them. That's what I'm saying. Maybe [Jay Pharaoh] will do it or something, but even he doesn't really want to do it," Thompson said.
SNL was frank about their own lack of diversity in the cold open, throwing this written message on to the screen while Washington changed into her Oprah Winfrey and Beyonce costumes:
The producers of Saturday Night Live would like to apologize to Kerry Washington for the number of black women she will be asked to play tonight. We made these requests both because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent and also because SNL does not currently have a black woman in the cast. As for the latter reason, we agree this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the near future…unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first.