Kenan Thompson: Black Comediennes "Not Ready" for SNL

Thompson defends Saturday Night Live's lack of diversity.

Posted: 10/16/2013 08:45 AM EDT

Jay Pharoah made a bold move last week when he called out his employers at Saturday Night Live for their lack of diversity in casting, and now his SNL co-star Kenan Thompson is raising a few eyebrows on the topic as well. 

Unlike Pharoah, who was critical of SNL brass for not including any women of color in their talent pool, Thompson is defending the show's producers. "It's just a tough part of the business," he tells TV Guide. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."

Some are doing a double take at Thompson's insinuation that there are no Black comediennes with the chops to keep up with SNL's rigorous standards. Of the six new castmembers (all white) who were added this season, Thompson says, "They're all contributing in different ways, I think. They've been doing a great job so far. They're all very, very smart and talented, so that's how it is. That's the kind of people I guess that get the job."

Indeed, since SNL has been on the air, the series has only had four black female cast members: Yvonne HudsonDanitra VanceEllen Cleghorne and Maya Rudolph. The trend applies to hosts, too, notes TVLine.com. Of the 90 episodes the show has aired since Season 35, only two Black women (and four women of color in total) have hosted: Gabourey Sidibe and Rudolph.

Pharoah recently told theGrio.com that SNL producers "need to pay attention" to their diversity problem, and even made a suggestion for a Black female comedian to join the cast. 

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(Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

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