Kenan Thompson: SNL diversity problem down to lack of black comediennes

The longtime "Saturday Night Live" comedian says the show is having trouble finding talented black women ready to join the cast.
Posted By Gabrielle Levy  |  Oct. 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM
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(UPI) -- "Saturday Night Live" has come under fire for a lack of diversity as, for the sixth season in a row, there are no black women in the cast.

Kenan Thompson, who has done imitations of a host of black women, including Jennifer Hudson, Maya Angelou, and Mo'Nique, says he's not going to do the cross-dressing thing anymore. But he also doesn't blame the show's producers for failing to diversify.

"It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson said of black women in comedy. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."

Thompson is one of three people of color -- he is joined by Jay Pharaoh and Iranian Nasim Pedrad -- out of a cast of 16. And in 38 years of SNL, only four women have been a part of the regular cast.

For his part, Pharaoh disagrees with Thompson's explanation that the talented black women aren't out there. In fact, he's got one in mind.

“They need to pay attention,” Pharoah said. “Her name is Darmirra Brunson."

Brunson is currently employed by OWN and a regular on Tyler Perry's "Love Thy Neighbor," but Pharaoh said he's been on the SNL producers to bring her over to the long-running sketch show.

"She’s amazing," he said. "She needs to be on SNL. I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year.”

SNL did add six new cast members this season -- all of them white.

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