Hot on the heels of the news that “Saturday Night Live” will hire their first Black comedienne in 5 years, the sketch comedy show announced that it will also add two Black women to their writer’s room, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
LaKendra Tookes (left) and Leslie Jones, were discovered during the show’s recent secret auditions in New York and Los Angeles, held specifically to cast Black women, after the show drew criticism that it’s cast lacked diversity (because, really, that was enough of Kenan Thompson playing every. single. Black. woman in sketches). While Tookes and Jones were passed over for the acting role that eventually went to Sasheer Zamata, their new appointments are undeniably just as important. The show seriously needed a shakeup in point of view in that writer’s room or else the sketches would’ve been more of the same anyway. Even the funniest actor or comedian can only do so much with dry material (Exhibit A: Kevin Hart’s widely panned appearance on the show back in March 2013)!
Actress-comedian Tookes, is a former news reporter from Florida who has performed at iOWest (watch her character reel here). While Jones is an actress (“The League” and “Sullivan & Son”) and stand-up comedian who has performed at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles as well as written for and appeared on “Def Comedy Jam” and “1st Amendment Stand Up.” In 2010 she starred in a comedy special “Problem Child” was broadcast on Showtime.
I’m always excited to see more Black women representing in the entertainment industry, especially on a show that’s known for launching huge and lasting careers in the past. But to be honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about SNL’s antics. The fact that it took a national outcry for them to go through binders full of Black women and fit these limited spots…five years after having a Black woman on the show? Hmm….
But there’s more incentive than ever to tune into the show this month. Tookes and Jones start work next Monday, to write for the first episode that Zamata will also make her appearance in, January 18th. As we previously reported, Drake will host that episode.
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