Kenan Thompson Addresses ‘SNL’s Diversity Issue


After SNL added six new cast members — all of them white — in August, the show has received criticism from Salon and others for its lack of diversity. One of the show’s three actors of color (along with Jay Pharoah and Nasim Pedrad), Kenan Thompson, spoke about the issue in an interview with TV Guide. When asked what the show will do when there are black female public figures to make fun of, Thompson responded, “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.”

“It’s just a tough part of the business,” Thompson said when asked by TV Guide about the complete lack of black female cast members. “Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.” Thompson did have nice things to say about the show’s six new additions: “They’re all contributing in different ways I think. They’ve been doing great job so far. They’re all very, very smart and talented, so that’s how it is. That’s the kind of people I guess that get the job.”

Cast member Jay Pharoah also addressed the diversity issue in an interview earlier this month, suggesting that the show hire black female comedian Darmirra Brunson as a cast member.