ABWW Hater of the Day: Kenan Thompson
As a young teen it was a mark of coolness to be known as a person who was allowed to stay up long enough to watch Saturday Night Live. The original Not Ready For Primetime Players were bawdy, political and populated their jokes with drug references. They were not afraid to tackle race either. If you have never seen the Job Interview sketch with Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor, do so right now! By the Eddie Murphy era the sociopolitical commentary had been tamped down but his Undercover White Man skit is still on of the best comedic commentaries of white privilege ever.
I don’t find today’s SNL funny. I figured that I had aged out of the demographic I was also peeved by the fact that show has not kept up with the glacial pace of diversity television casting. There has not been a recognizable black woman on the show since 1995 (In addition to mixed race Maya Rudolph, the only other black women on SNL has been Ellen Cleghorne and Denitra Vance.)
Current cast member Jay Pharaoh has openly questioned SNL’s lack of black women cast members on the show, saying that the producers “need to pay attention.” When a black woman is needed for a skit Kenan Thompson plays them, Tyler Perry Medea style or black up Iranian American (Iranians consider themselves white) Nasim Pedrad. Thompson, the only other black cast member feels differently than Pharaoh and said in a new interview with TV Guide that the diversity problem on SNL is due to the “lack of quality black female comedians.” He states in the interview: “It’s just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.” I know that Kenan has played Herman Cain on SNL but I had no idea he shared his “blacks are lazy” ideology. Kenan may not see black woman as romantic partners (he married the white “Maxim model” Christine Evangeline in 2012) but to open up your mouth to say that there are no hard working, prepared black comedians is some ignorant bunk. I hope the ghost of Mom’s Mabley slaps some common sense into this fool and lest him know that there a plenty of black comedians out there that could run rings around his sad self:
- Aiesha Tyler is on three TV shows (Archer, Whose Line Is It Anyway and The Talk) has a best selling book and a popular podcast.
- Wanda Sykes does stand up, has been in movies and TV and has had her own talk show and still has time to work for LGBT rights.
- Monique has an Oscar and hosted her own talk show
- Debra Willson & Kim Wayans have decades of experience in sketch comedy
- Loni Love is a regular on the Chelsea Handler show
- Sheryl Underwood is on The Talk along with Aisha Tyler
- Rheta is on Parks and Recreation
- Jessica Williams is on The Daily Show
- Yvette Nichole Brown is on Community
- Sommore is the reigning queen of the black comedy circuit, closely followed by Adelle Givens, “Miss” Laura Hayes and Luenell
- Francesca Ramsey went viral with her youtube video “Shit White Girls Say
- Darmirra Brunson from Drew in Tyler Perry’s comedy Love Thy Neighbor, is a talented mimic. Her celebrity impressions include Beyonce, Kerry Washington, Lil’ Kim, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Oprah, Rihanna, and Wendy Williams.
- Issa Rae’ the creator of the award winning youtube comedy Awkward Black Girl has been profiled by Rolling Stone and Carson Daily and has development deals with HBO and Shonda Rhimes.