We reported last week that SNL is currently holding auditions for at least one black female cast member, and so far eleven women have received callbacks for the spot. According to Deadline and the Daily News, the following list of ladies from both the New York and Los Angeles showcases have been asked to do in-studio tests at 30 Rock today: Bresha Webb (whose Instagram shot leaked the audition news last week), Tanisha Long (MTV’s Girl Code), Misty Monroe (Groundlings), Gabrielle Dennis (BET’s The Game), Erica Ash (Tracy Morgan’s pilot Death Pact), Amber Ruffin (Boom Chicago), Leslie Jones (standup), Sasheer Zamata (UCB), Natasha Rothwell (UCB), Briana KC (UCB), and Kerry Coddett (UCB).
Coddett in particular is an interesting choice on SNL’s part; she’s written at length about the show’s problems with black women at both The Huffington Post and The Atlantic, so her advancement in the auditioning process is an excellent indicator of SNL’s shifting attitude toward its own diversity problems. “In 38 seasons, there have only been four black women on SNL, and they usually play one-dimensional characters that promoted negative stereotypes,” Coddett wrote in November. “A relic of the comedy community, the SNL writers’ room needs to be more diverse for the sake of being true to the art form and the audience.” The in-studio auditions will take place through this evening, so we can probably expect some bigger casting-related announcements soon.