Saturday Night Live launched its 39th season last month with six new cast members — five men and one woman, all white — leading to criticism about the iconic comedy sketch show’s lack of diversity.
Since debuting on NBC in October 1975, SNL has featured 137 cast members. However, only four of these were black women, and the most recent, Maya Rudolph, left the show in 2007. Kenan Thompson, part of the show since 2003, told T.V. Guide, “It’s just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”
But Jay Pharoah, a cast member since 2010, had at least one African-American comedienne in mind to help restore balance: Darmirra Brunson, who stars in Tyler Perry’s sitcom Love Thy Neighbor. “Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she’s black first of all, and she’s really talented,” Pharoah told The Grio last month. “She’s amazing. She needs to be on SNL.”