Let's Talk About That Cold Open On SNL Last Night

Well, they did it. Saturday Night Live finally addressed "The Issue" that everyone has been talking about. Sort of...

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After weeks of making headlines for the show's longtime failure to hire a permanent black female comedian, (culminating with longtime producer Lorne Michael's statement on Friday that he would 'get around to' hiring a black woman eventually), SNL took the bull by the horns and gave us a skit that featured Kerry Washington scrambling to make costume changes to portray famous black women. Meanwhile, if you ever need to see 70 Matthew McConaugheys in one skit, they've got you covered.

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So, let's talk about it. I want to hear what you think—first of all, was it funny? I was actually surprised that they would start with a sketch like this, and I'll admit, I laughed. As far as dealing with the issue, do you think the producers/writers did a good job addressing the controversy? Do you think they were trying to get themselves off the hook or did they do a good job of admitting they know it's an important issue? Some of the commenters here have already pointed out numerous other things during the show were far more problematic (Foreign women talk funny! The ghetto is hilarious!)

Anyway, let's get the discussion started below! Tell me, commenters, what did you think?

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DISCUSSION

Ugh, I feel like telling the commenters at Gawker that they're only allowed to discuss the subject if:

1) They know the difference between race and nationality

2) They know the difference between Colombian and Columbian (I have no idea why this keeps popping up, but it does.)

I've been thinking a lot about the lack of diversity on SNL, and I'm sure there are a million reasons for it. However, having been part of the Chicago improv community for two years and having decided to take an extended (perhaps even complete) break from improv, I have a couple of ideas. I trained at both iO and Second City, breeding grounds for SNL cast members. The further I moved up the improv levels, the less diverse my classes became. I was usually the only Latino woman or one of two Latino people whether white-Hispanic or non-white Hispanic. The pool kept getting smaller and smaller and I think it was because of a combination of factors. First, a lot of these institutes have internship programs which, in return for free classes, also give performers greater chances and networking opportunities. These were usually taken by people who didn't have full-time jobs, could get by with their barista part-time gig, had parents helping out, etc. A disproportionate amount of them were white.

Two, I started to notice that people were really, really, really sheltered or ignorant of cultures that were not your typical white Midwestern upbringing. To clarify, I'm an Ivy League educated graduate who grew up comfortably middle class and could relate to a lot of things with my white counterparts. However, I once threw in "quinceañera" in a scene and it completely threw off my scene partner because she had no idea what I was talking about. Another time, I mentioned 'favelas' and I got the same deer-in-headlights look from several class members. Honestly, these are things that I expect most adults to know about whatever your ethnic background. However, it seemed strange and foreign and after awhile it seemed like my "multicultural" knowledge was seen less like an asset to those who felt more comfortable making jokes about tailgating or what-have-you.

Three, people would suggest I audition for all-women improv groups or Latino ones which was great and are necessary, etc etc. But why not try to include me in groups that weren't niche-focused? Hmmmm.

Four, as more and more people started forming their own indie groups, it started to become apparent that either consciously or subconsciously people played with other people that looked like them. Talent, of course, is a big part of it and I'm well aware of my limitations as an improviser. But it seemed that for every really, really, really, talented POC there were 5 white guys who were meh. And yet somehow they kept getting invited to play because they were cool, bro or from the same no-name town in Indiana.

I left because I wanted to spend more time writing but also because the community didn't feel very welcoming. I felt like a middle-school kid with headgear on their first day of school. Everyone was perfectly nice, but they kept me at arms-length. I can't help but think that part of it was because 1) I was a POC and 2) I defied their idea of what a POC was. Hence, they couldn't easily place me in the comedy world.

Ok, this is already way too long. Thanks for reading.