“Saturday Night Live” held auditions this week as it seeks to add a black female cast member, with seven or eight candidates participating in an audition Monday night on the "SNL" stage, reports Bill Carter in The New York Times.
The report says one of the women who auditioned Monday will be hired by the show and will begin appearing in January.
Lorne Michaels, the creator and executive producer of the show, told the publication Thursday that he has committed himself to adding a cast member in January. If the addition is a black woman, she would be the first black since Maya Rudolph departed in 2007.
“All told we’ve seen about 25 people,” Michaels said. “A lot of the people we saw are really good. Hopefully we’ll come out of the process well.”
The long-running NBC late-night show has come under criticism recently for its lack of a black female cast member, and has even poked fun of itself over the situation. Jay Pharaoh, one of the show’s black male cast members, said earlier this year that the program needs to “follow up” on the promise of adding a black woman.
The show may bring aboard two new performers, although Michaels said he doesn’t want to add too many women because “SNL” already has five female cast members. According to “SNL’s" website, the show has 10 repertory cast members and six “featured players.” The female cast members include Nasim Pedrad and Vanessa Bayer.
Deadline.com reports that some of the young performers rumored to have auditioned for the show include Bresha Webb, who stars on the TV One sitcom "Love That Girl!"; improv player Tanisha Long, who is also on MTV’s “Girl Code”; Misty Monroe from the Groundlings; “The Game” recurring actress Gabrielle Dennis; Amber Ruffin, a member of an Amsterdam-based sketch group; and actress and comedian Leslie Jones.