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Kenan Thompson says 'Saturday Night Live' can't find any talented black female comedians

Published Oct. 16, 2013

Despite a promising crop of new cast members, Saturday Night Live's lack of diversity is causing major snags, thanks to a notable absence of black female cast members. Kenan Thompson, for one, is tired of dressing in drag, but says a lack of good black female comedians is a problem.

"It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson tells TV Guide. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."

Thompson told the magazine he's done portraying black women like Maya Angelou and Jennifer Hudson. What will they do now, considering the only other minorities on the show are Jay Pharoah and Nasim Pedrad (who is Iranian)?

"I don't know. We just haven't done them," Thompson says. "That's what I'm saying. Maybe (Pharaoh) will do it or something, but even he doesn't really want to do it."

Pharoah told last month he thought Love Thy Neighbor's Darmirra Brunson should be added to the cast "because she's black first of all, and she's really talented." SNL hasn't had a black woman on the cast since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007, and has only had three others in its 38-year history: Ellen Cleghorne, Danitra Vance and Yvonne Hudson, who was fired halfway through the 1980-81 season.

Her pilot I Hate LA Dudes didn't pan out at ABC, so perhaps YouTube sensation Issa Rae could give Lorne Michaels a call. New Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams would be good, too. The necessity to do impressions may be a big problem. Yvette Nicole Brown from Community does a mean Oprah Winfrey.