With the new season of Saturday Night Live kicking off this weekend, Salon has an interesting look at the show’s ongoing race problem. Notably, all six of the show’s new cast members this year are white, though the show’s lack of diversity has been true for much of its run. Most people theorize that, given SNL’s history of pulling cast members from Second City and the Upright Citizens Brigade, they are simply seeing more white comics than minorities who fit the established sensibility of the the show.
But people who complain that the pool of minority comedians in America is too small are “looking at the country club pool. They’re not going to the public pool,” said W. Kamau Bell, host of the nightly FX comedy show “Totally Biased,” which tackles politics, current events and race and is produced by “SNL” alumnus Chris Rock.
The piece also argues that “diversity in comedy is essential to honesty, especially in a country that’s more diverse than it’s ever been,” citing a story from Second City in 1992, when six white comedians attempted to an improv set about the race-fueled Los Angeles riots.