W. Kamau Bell addresses Saturday Night Live race controversy on Totally Biased (Video)

By | October 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm | 19 comments | Audio/Video, feature slider, TV/Movies | Tags: , , , , ,

You may have noticed that since the 39th season of Saturday Night Live debuted two weeks ago – with six new cast members – there’s been some scuttlebutt over the lack of black women castmembers. Of the new hires, only one is a lady and all of them are white. Addressing said scuttlebutt, veteran SNL castmember Kenan Thompson said, “It’s just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”

Jay Pharoah, who’s in his fourth season on SNL, was a bit less diplomatic. “They need to pay attention,” he said about SNL brass. He even said SNL should cast Darmirra Brunson, who is currently on Tyler Perry’s series Love Thy Neighbor on the OWN network. “Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she’s black first of all, and she’s really talented. She’s amazing. 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.”

And then there’s W. Kamau Bell’s take on the issue, which he addressed on Totally Biased this week.

My question is this: On Nov. 2, Scandal actress Kerry Washington is hosting Saturday Night Live. She’s black. Will the writers address the race controversy during that episode? What do you think about the whole situation? Tell us in the comments section.

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Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • Guest

    “No, I mean he could have given the gig to a sister.”

    What in high hell are you talking about, jack?

  • Dorothy Parker

    race relations in this country are so beyond “black” and “white.”
    let’s change the conversation permanently to a lack of ethnic diversity, in general.
    i believe one of the existing female cast members is Indian, but SNL is not known for their ethnic diversity and that’s disturbing. how about some Latino cast members? Asian? (more) Indian? Middle Eastern? biracial? multiracial?
    it’s time in the US to talk about race in a way that includes ALL people of color, because all of us are together oppressed. experiencing racial discrimination is not a “black” problem, and all the “black” people i know are brown.
    on top of everything, Jay Pharoah is so not funny and is only good at doing impersonations. how he’s lasted 4 seasons is beyond me. he’s not funny. and Fred Armisen’s Barack Obama is ten times better than Jay’s.

  • Jason

    Noel Wells is Tunisian/Hispanic. Reductive to call her “white.”

  • Darnell

    He should hire a black co-host for his crappy show.

  • CKS

    Without knowing who the talent is that’s auditioning, it’s impossible to know if Thompson is right or not. After all, they can solicit entertainers to audition, but those folks have got to walk through the door and impress someone. It’s not inconceivable that this hasn’t happened. Besides, is it possible that talented black comediennes might have a more lucrative and less hectic career if they don’t go for SNL? Everything I’ve read about the show is that it is grueling and nearly impossible to get your sketches approved. Sitcoms and movies, by comparison, are a cakewalk.

  • John W. Ta-Tao Hale

    It’s hard to find black comedians that are unfunny enough for SNL.

  • Milky Way

    4 black women have been on SNL. 0 black women have been on Walter Kamau Bell.

    • Geezus

      Yeeeeea. About that:
      Fifth episode- Issa Rae.
      Twelfth episode – Wanda Sykes
      20th ep – Melissa Harris-Perry
      21st ep – Aisha Tyler

      So as many black women in just one season as SNL has had in 39 seasons.

      Keep Milkin…

      • Ariana

        Also this season he’s had interviews with Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black and author/former MTV host Allison Stewart and stand up performances from Michelle Buteau and Calise Hawkins.

      • Milky Way

        Not talking about his show, putz.

      • Anthony Thompson

        Melissa Harris-Perry was a pretty good one.

  • Walter Kurtz

    If he loves black women so much why didn’t he marry one? BTW he wouldn’t have a show if it wasn’t for SNL (Chris Rock). So, STFU.

    • Marceline

      Really? You’re talking smack about the man’s wife? What year are you posting from?

      And so what if he wouldn’t have a show without Chris Rock? That how the entertainment industry works. Some people produce shows other people star in them. It’s hardly a scandal.

    • Dorothy Parker

      oh, you mean, “why didn’t he stick to his own kind?”

      • Walter Kurtz

        No, I mean he could have given the gig to a sister. And my point is he’s talking sh#t about a show that has done so much for both the audience and those working on it for decades. In fact his own show is directly linked to SNL’s influence. So tired of this Buzzfeed/Huffpo ADHD lazy out of context reporting. Keenan didn’t say anything wrong and all the uber-sensitive people are jumping on this ridiculous bandwagon. Stop trying to turn the entire world into an HR department.

        • Anthony Thompson

          “No, I mean he could have given the gig to a sister.”

          What in high hell are you talking about?

    • dylan

      Kamau was a well respected comedian before this show. he’s been working his ass off for years. he was touring his live show, which is how Chris Rock discovered him. The show wasn’t just handed to him. It’s not his fault you don’t know shit about the comedy world.

    • Maria Quintanilla

      He’s majorly talented you fool. We fall in love without looking at color, religion, sex. You are a moron still living in the dark ages. Good luck to you…trust me, you’ll need it.

    • Anthony Thompson

      You seem to be asserting that SNL is the reason Chris Rock is a name. Yeah, that’s how he got national exposure. He would have blown either way. Either way, it seems a bit farcical to imply that SNL gave W. Kamau Bell a show transitively via Chris Rock circa ’90-’93.

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