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'SNL' Secret Auditions Held To Find Black Female Comic

By    |   Friday, 13 Dec 2013 11:44 AM

The head honchos at "SNL" held a round of secret auditions earlier this month in hopes of finding a black female comic to plug the noticeable hole in the nearly all-white cast.

The sketch comedy show has faced criticism this season — and even poked fun at itself — for its lack of women of color in the lineup and lack of diversity in general. Out of the 16 current cast members, there are only three comedians that are not white: Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharaoh are black, and Nasim Pedrad is Iranian.

And ever since Thompson, an "SNL" veteran, told TV Guide in October that he refuses to dress up in drag anymore to play black, female characters, executive producers have been scrambling to find the perfect fit.

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In the show's 38-year history, there have only been four black women on the cast — Yvonne Hudson (1980-81), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95), and Maya Rudolph (2000-2007).

"It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson told TV Guide. "Like in auditions, [producers] just never find [black female comedians] that are ready."

Pharaoh has also voiced his opinion on the topic and even nominated Darmirra Brunson, from Tyler Perry's sitcom "Love Thy Neighbor," for the gig.

"Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she's black first of all, and she's really talented," he told theGrio.com in September. "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."

Now it seems producers have taken the next step by holding the secret auditions at the Goundlings Theatre in Los Angeles Dec. 2. Many of the comediennes and actresses tweeted about the "SNL" showcase and posted pictures on Instagram.




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The head honchos at "SNL" held a round of secret auditions earlier this month in hopes of finding a black female comic to plug the noticeable hole in the nearly all-white cast.
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