Here are the promos for this week's Saturday Night Live where Scandal star Kerry Washington will take the stage and ideally gladiator the fuck out of it. If these short bits with the goofballish darling Taran Killam are any indication of how things'll go, we have no need to worry at all. (Is now the time to put in a request for a Save the Last Dance sketch? I'd like to put in a request for the Save the Last Dance sketch.)
While we're on the topic of Kerry Washington and Saturday Night Live, The New York Times — always the first news source to cover what the rest of us have been talking about for years — points out that Washington's presence on the show will be only one of a small handful of appearances by black female actresses in Studio 8H since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007. It's a fact made even more ridiculous when you consider that we're living in a culture where many of the most famous people — the ones who Saturday Night Live should be referencing if they want to stay at all relevant — are black women.
From Jason Zinoman at the Times:
When Kerry Washington hosts this week, the show will have someone who can credibly play Beyoncé for the first time this season. There hasn’t been a cast member to portray Michelle Obama for her husband’s entire presidency. That matters. The show, which, to be fair, has a range of talents, including a blossoming star in Kate McKinnon, benefits from diversity that tries to match the breadth of the mainstream popular culture it covers.
Kenan Thompson, the male sketch actor who in the past has played black women ranging from Whoopi Goldberg to Jennifer Hudson, has recently said that he's no longer willing to do drag on Saturday Night Live. We can support that (though little else of what he has to say). Perhaps his fair unwillingness will lead to some new, exciting casting choices. Fellow SNL actor Jay Pharoah has recommended comedic actress Darmirra Brunson (who can do spot-on impressions of both Beyoncé and Rihanna) and there are plenty other black female comedians who could bring a lot to the show.
Until then, we'll just have to support the hell out of hosts like Kerry Washington and who knows? Maybe Olivia Pope will use her crisis management skills to clean up SNL's act.