We were slightly disappointed when Amy Poehler refused to answer a question about SNL's diversity issues during a Golden Globes interview conducted in December, but thankfully, that moment of doubt has passed. During the TCA winter press tour panel for her Comedy Central series Broad City , Poehler was confronted once more with the question of SNL and the recent debate surrounding its largely homogeneous cast. And her response was better than we could have hoped.
Rather than speaking about the issue, which has largely become the over-arching narrative of Sasheer Zamata, LaKendra Tookes, and Leslie Jones being hired by the classic sketch series, Poehler instead focused on the talented women who've benefited from the raging debate.
"I have not gotten a chance to say congratulations officially to [Zamata]," she told reporters. Poehler then went onto to praise the actress and comedian for her talent, referring to Zamata's time at Upright Citizens Brigade, the famed comedy school Poehler founded with Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts.
"We all know Sasheer and her work. UCB is really proud to be associated with her. She was part of our diversity program many years ago. She's an awesome performer and so congratulations to her." While the concept of SNL's ability to learn from the recent push for women of color in the cast and the writers' room is a relevant and important question in the comedy world, it has a way of dwarfing the fact that the ladies the series has enlisted are major talents.
Poehler's comments, which stay completely out of the fray — likely her aim by responding to earlier inquiries about the diversity issue with "Ugh. I don't want to talk about this. Pass." — discuss the issue by completely ignoring it. Yes, there seems to be a lack of diversity among women in mainstream comedy, but rather than highlighting that fact, Poehler has simply highlighted the talent that's present in the industry, despite the fact that folks like Kenan Thompson might overlook it.
With that, Poehler takes the path of least resistance and thus provided what might be the best comment an SNL alum could make on the subject.
How right you are, Ms. Poehler.
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