Following the news that Saturday Night Live held a special audition for African American female comedians at the Groundlings in LA last week, the New York Times has confirmed with Lorne Michaels that the show will indeed add a black woman to their cast by the beginning of January.
"All told we've seen about 25 people," Michaels told the paper. "A lot of the people we saw are really good. Hopefully we'll come out of the process well."
He even said he's be open to the possibility casting two black female performers, but the chances of that actually happening seem highly unlikely. Saturday Night Live already kicked off its most recent season with a conscious push to find a male breakout performer and a reluctance to spotlight more women. (Don't get too offended — it's basically because all of the women on the show for the past 10 years have been killing it and becoming way more famous and successful than their male cast mates. This is just an attempt to balance things out — but if the public's positive response to Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant is any indication, the efforts might be fruitless.)
Of course, Michaels couldn't come out of the interview without digging up that old bullshit about waiting to find a black female performer who was "ready" for SNL:
"We're all about talent. It doesn't help if somebody's not ready — and 'ready' is one of the charged words. But you want to be sure you give people the best possible shot."
Mr. Michaels said he had seen two black women performers in Chicago when he was hiring for the show this fall, but "it just wasn't there in the studio" when they were brought to New York for the final audition. "Then when the deck got reshuffled and as we premiered we realized, it looks a different way."
Look, I can believe the possibility that the two women he saw in Chicago were legitimately not ready. What I can't believe — and I think what a lot of other people have a hard time believing — is that no other black woman was. If they couldn't find a single black woman who was ready, then chances are that they weren't looking hard enough.
Michaels also told the New York Times that he doesn't understand a lot of the criticism that the show has gotten over the past few months:
Mr. Michaels said there had been too much focus on how the show had no one to play Mrs. Obama or Beyoncé. "That's a weird sort of way at looking at it because you don't judge comedy that way," Mr. Michaels said. "Versatility is what we look for."
No, you don't judge comedy in general that way, but you do judge topical humor that way.
ANYWAY, let's focus on the positive. Michaels also stated that it was "100 percent good for the show to have an African-American woman." Duh, and yes.
Image via Gabrielle Dennis.