Does ‘SNL’ Need More Black Friends? Video Clips Reveal the Show May Have Writers’ Block on One Subject

Nov 5, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Kerry Washington’s recent appearance as guest host on NBC’s "Saturday Night Live" gave the show a chance to poke fun at itself over its diversity issues, as we reported previously. But it didn’t make those issues disappear.

In fact, the latest ‘SNL" may have added some fuel to the fire. In a piece for TheWrap.com, Mekeisha Madden Toby writes that Washington’s material — which is strongly reminiscent of material seen not too long ago when Maya Rudolph guest-hosted — displays what might be described as a lack of insight into black women on the part of "SNL" … unless it’s just a case of writers’ block on the subject.

"While Washington joked about the late-night series’ lack of black women cast members in the opening sketch, it is telling that the two black women who’ve hosted the show most recently were pigeonholed," Madden Toby writes, adding: "As guest hosts, both women played Michelle Obama and appeared in the Barack Obama-themed sketch ‘How’s He Doing?’”

Rudolph, a longtime "SNL" cast member, guest-hosted in February 2012.

Regarding the two "How’s He Doing?" sketches, Madden Toby writes: "The only difference is Rudolph played a professor from the historically black college Howard University and Washington’s character was from Spellman College — another historically black college. Making matters worse, both Rudolph and Washington played FLOTUS Michelle Obama. Washington also doubled as Winfrey while Rudolph lampooned her countless times as a cast member. Apparently, when it comes to black women in pop culture, the writers behind ‘Saturday Night Live’ are rather limited in their references."

The report supports its point with four video clips, which we’ve included below. The report says the clips illustrate that "not only are African-American women a scarcity on the show but when they do appear, writers apparently have two token sketches. Make that three if you count Oprah Winfrey."

The clips show both Washington and Rudolph in sketches as Michelle Obama, and both in "How’s He Doing?" bits. See for yourself … but not all of the video clips will work on all browsers and devices:

Kerry Washington as Michelle Obama, November 2013:

Maya Rudolph as Michelle Obama, February 2012:

Kerry Washington on "How’s He Doing?," November 2013:

Maya Rudolph on "How’s He Doing?," February 2012:


  1. My thoughts exactly! While watching SNL on Saturday, I wondered if the writers were stuck on their idea of Black women in America. It was obvious that no thought was given to the sketches.

  2. I generally agree with the statement that SNL needs to do better in regards to diversity. However, it is difficult to point to sketches about the Obamas as the proof. They are the most visible people in the country, no matter race. Also, they are in the jobs that have historically been the focal point for SNL humor and satire. It is interesting that this issue is being raised at this point in time when the Obamas are falling to their lowest points of popularity. How much of this is about the diversity issue, and how much is an attempt to get the Obamas out of the focus of the weekly comedy and satire?

  3. Self-satire is a sure sign of trouble.
    When does the jester get to be the king?
    The show is full of itself, and in desperate need of a pin-prick.
    See my full comments at:

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)