Jay Pharoah (www.jaypharoah.com)

Jay Pharoah and I are on the same page when it comes to the cast of Saturday Night Live. I have religiously watched the show since I was 9 years old and I can count on one hand how many black actresses have been featured on SNL. SNL has never been known for its diversity and you can probably thank Lorne Michaels for that. Pharoah and Kenan Thompson are the only black cast members, but even a quick glance at the writing staff this season only reveals one black person out of twenty-three writers.

Over the last couple of seasons, SNL has had its fair share of hits and misses. With many of the funnier cast members leaving for (sometimes) greener pastures, one can only guess why the 6 newest cast members included 5 white men and 1 white woman.

So who would Jay Pharoah pick to hold the title of “SNL’s Black Woman”? In a recent interview with The Grio, Pharoah revealed his choice. 

“They need to pay attention,” Pharoah tells theGrio. “Her name is Darmirra Brunson…Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she’s black first of all, and she’s really talented. She’s amazing. She needs to be on SNL. I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year.”

Take a look at a few of Brunson’s YouTube videos:

Brunson may have her hands full right now considering she’s an actress on Tyler Perry’s Love Thy Neighbor

When asked why the cast isn’t diverse, Pharoah blamed it on people burning bridges or just choking up during auditions.

“It’s one of those things that’s hard,” he recognizes. “Some people choke up. Some people burn their bridges by saying things they shouldn’t say either. You just have to be very political about your delivery, what you say, and your performance. You’ve got to be on point. Everybody has to like you and want you to win. If they don’t like you, it’s a wrap.”

Pharoah also thinks this year is his time to shine since the departure of many of the heavy weights from last season.

“There’s a big gap and void to fill,” he explains. “I believe that I will get more air time this year. It’s a very competitive environment, however I know only the strongest survive and I’m still here so that oughta say something.”

Maybe one season there will be a new black woman cast member, to go along with his President Obama skits, until then, I guess the other black guy will have to put on a dress.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    I agree with him from the few times I have watch SNL. I always wonder why they never had a steady black female cast mate. The show not as funny to me as it was before.

  • Anthony

    I am in my fifties and SNL has been on the air since I was in high school or college. In that time I have seen stuff as raggedy as Garrett Morris French kissing OJ Simpson during a Mandingo sketch because there was no black woman among the cast. The only sort of sister who was on the show for any length of time was Maya Rudolph. Common sense would dictate at least two black women among the cast to recognize the diversity in the community.

  • tina

    When I saw the lineup of new castmates, I had a WTF moment. Were they serious?

    I can’t be bothered with the show given its commitment to not even trying to be diverse. The only woman I remember from SNL looked like Chris Rock. For a long time I thought she was Chris Rock in drag.

  • Steppa

    And it’s probably never going to get better with that writing staff. Most people (including black men) do not know how to write roles for black women; they can’t even envision us as any thing other than something stereotypical, which is why they so frequently have one of the black actors on the show dressed up in a wig in place of a black woman.

    I was actually shocked when they had the new lineup appear during Tina Fey’s monologue. You should watch it at NBC.com. They looked liked a Mormon family. You would think they were all related, that’s how much they looked alike.

    I think Lorne Michaels, like many white men, have some deep-rooted issues with black women, which is why he’ll probably never have one on the show for an extended period of time.

  • lea

    snl’s most diverse seasons were in the 90s…maya rudolph, finesse mitchell, tim meadows (hilarious) , tracy morgan was only because mad tv was on in that era and had a diverse cast with aaries spears, debra morgan, bobby lee. snl is too dry

  • Phillygurl

    This is exactly why I preferred Mad TV and In Living Color. I haven’t watched SNL in probably over 20 years. I don’t think we’re part of their target audience and I don’t want to be, it’s not funny.

  • Bree

    @Anthony, I would agree with you about Maya Rudolph being the longest running Black woman on the show, but even she doesn’t consider herself black. So, I’m still waiting for SNL to do something different.

  • Knowledge

    Has more to do with the audience, when black films were popular among black people- there was no stereotypical role for bw, because we black people(including black men) know, black women are dynamic none being equally alike, but thats not what white people want to see.

    Did shonda rhimes portray Kerry Washington in a non-stereotypical way? Not really, She’s a single, mid 30′s, career oriented women who is a girlfriend, sex kitten to a married man. Shonda’s a BW but that role is pretty much stereotypical of how many people think of educated success driven BW are.

    Has little to do with what writers cast actors (as a you shade black black male writers) has more to do with what white people want to see. Put a black woman writer in the midst of 20 white majority male, she’ll most likely write a role thats stereotypical- sexy educated single, or funny loud unattractive, or angry black woman.

  • Ms. Write

    Well, Ellen Cleghorne was on SNL from 91-95. But that was over 20 years ago! I agree that SNL is long overdue for Black female representation. I feel like they don’t know what to do with us. IIssa Rae was right. There could be a Black Liz Lemon but I guess that would just blow Hollywood’s mind a little too much or make them uncomfortable because they are so used to only viewing us as one or two things.

  • http://musedmagonline.com Drew-Shane

    He isn’t funny either though

  • snl is lame

    black men don’t know what to do with us either! so I am not sure if a black man ran the show, if we would be better off. in living color did a good job with us – sort of.

  • snl is lame

    SNL is not funny at all and that doesn’t even have to do with lack of diversity. Just terrible. I was done with Tina Fey when she did that “B I T C H is the new black” skit when Barack was running for President. I always though her jokes (and Amy Poehler’s) verged on racist.

  • snl is lame

    Maya Rudolph was light enough to play Donatella. They did not stretch that much. Come on.

  • Anthony

    @ Bree, that is why I said she was the only “sort of sister” to ever be on the show a long time. I don’t remember Ms. Cleghorne.

  • Shelly

    There are quite a few funny black women on youtube that I would like to see on shows like SNL. There’s a woman who is a singer but she also does impressions of Beyoncé and calls herself Beyonca Bowels or something like that. And another lady names PattyLahell who does impressions of R&B singers.

  • Wreck

    He wants more than zero, greedy.

  • NY’s Finest

    Thank you!! Thought I was the only one. He just tries too damn hard for me.

  • Ms. Write

    On another note that Ri Ri vs Ci Ci video above has officially made my morning. Good stuff!

  • Mr. Man

    Its pretty obvious who the target audience is with SNL so for me its kinda redundant to ask why the show lacks diversity. Its kinda like asking why Hocky teams don’t have more black coaches.
    To be honest what we need is a another “In Living Color”.
    How come we don’t have one? ILC was a huge success and a show like this today I feel would be just as successful. Looking at youtube theirs more than enough real and truly funny, talent people i.e. Fancesca, Issa, Darmirra and thats just naming a few. NO, I don’t want to see Darmirra dumbed down and made relatible to the white audiences of SNL. I want to see her on a new variety show thats diverse with a few more BW, a few more BM, a few more Hispanics and a few more Asians if possible. Until then I’ll be on youtube for my laughs.

  • http://gravatar.com/wendywednesday WendyWednesday

    I know Darmirra personally, and he’s SPOT ON with naming her! She’s funny, witty, and super talented! I hope SNL is listening, so continue to share this piece!

  • Ms. Write

    I hear what you are saying. Let’s always have our shows and own media and own writers that are a balanced representation of who we are. That’s something that seems to be lacking that I saw a prevelence of on network television when I was growing up in the 90s. But at the same time, I think it’s fair to advocate for inclulsion. Shows like SNL are supposed to be representative of American culture and we are a part of that culture. It really bothers me when people try to push white as the norm and everyone else as other. We are not “other.”

  • Ms. Write

    And really? I notice they call Maya Rudolph back every time they are missing a Black woman from a skit. Dang, just hire a Black woman or two!

  • lola289

    Or they got the men in drag…smdh

  • http://dodreamaisha.wordpress.com Malaika

    I am sure I disturbed my neighbors in the library during that grocery scene. I. was. dyyying.

    I’ve loved Darmirra since the first RiRi skit. Love that Jay Pharoah knows about her and gave her a shout out! #clapback

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