'Saturday Night Live' Didn't Solve Everything: We Grade TV's Hottest Comedies on Diversity
Saturday Night Live has FINALLY cast its first black female cast member in the five years since Maya Rudolph left the show. After months of controversy and weeks of semi-secret auditions, the hilarious and most-deserving Sasheer Zamata will now join Studio 8H. Amen. Amen. A-FREAKIN-MEN! Seriously, I am so excited to see Sasheer shake things up at the all-to-often-rocky terrain of SNL. I mean c’mon guys, it’s live from NEW YORK. In a city of that many millions of people you really oughta showcase, y’know, all of them. Not just six new white people every year.
In any case, really, I am thrilled for Zamata. And as much as I’d all like us to throw our hands up in the air and celebrate, “Hooray! Diversity on television is fixed!” that’s sorely not the case. It’s not even the case for comedy. Zamata’s casting is a push in the right direction — one in which people can stand up to execs and demand change, and then see it happen. That is indeed, a victory.
However, before we all rush to be like, “Okay great Tina Fey made sure everyone knew women were funny and now Sasheer Zamata can make sure everyone knows black women are funny,” we need to take a look at what’s happening in terms of diversity elsewhere on television. It’s not a stretch to say shows like Duck Dynasty and the multitudes of brain-melters all over reality television and inexplicably successful groaners like Two and a Half Men are bad for women, minorities, and well, pretty much most people.
Rather, let’s take a look at the critical darlings, the shows that are supposedly pushing the envelope, and dig a little deeper into diversity of our favorite comedies. We might be seeing more women and actors of color, but Hollywood is still sorely lacking in body and ability types. Or how about the racial and gender exclusivity of showrunners? Let's keep moving forward, shall we?