'SNL's December Hosts Are 3 White Men: Will The Show Ever Heed Calls for Diversity?
On Thursday, SNL released the hosts for the rest of 2013, and, individually, Paul Rudd, John Goodman, and Jimmy Fallon are all wonderful people. But when combined with the rest of the hosts of this season, they look, well, like a bunch of white guys. So far in Season 39, SNL has had three white men, three white women, and Kerry Washington. After the allegations of a lack of diversity and that cringe-worthy cold open, it seems almost an aggressive maneuver to choose three more white men to round out the season.
And before anyone gives the "there were no good people ready" excuse, let's think about the movie that took box offices by storm and surprised many white people: Best Man Holiday. In case Lorne Michaels does not know, Best Man Holiday counts Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Monica Calhoun, and Regina Hall in it's star-studded ensemble cast. Taye was also recently on New Girl , and Regina is shooting Think Like a Man Too , another star-studded ensemble rom-com that follows the ever-popular Think Like a Man. Given the success of Best Man Holiday, I don't know why none of these talented entertainers was even considered for a hosting spot.
On the small screen, there are also plenty of funny, talented actors that would love to host SNL. Maybe one of the amazing people that join in Andy Samberg's antics on Brooklyne Nine-Nine would like a shot. I can guarantee Terry Crews would be hilarious. Also, if Lorne and the crew would like to rely on "veterans," they could easily back Kevin Hart, Charles Barkley, Jennifer Lopez, or Mariah Carey. And honestly, all of them would be funnier than Miley.
Speaking of Miley, she and Lady Gaga were both allowed to play both the musical act and the host this year, and both have been on the show multiple times. Yet the charming and clearly theatrical Janelle Monae was only the musical guest this year. Janelle's latest album debuted at number five on the Billboard charts, making it her most successful album yet. Yet, somehow, this is not good enough for the straight-and-pale SNL to consider her as a host.
As many commentators have pointed out, this is not a new phenomenon. It also extends far beyond the cast and the hosts, into the writer's room, where stereotypes are churned out in an almost mechanized fashion. And SNL has been this way for years, only employing four women of African American descent in its entire 39-year run. In the last three years, there have only been seven people of color out of 49 episodes. Bruno Mars has been the only person with any Asian ancestry, despite the fact that actors like Mindy Kaling are just as successful, and probably even more hilarious. So, after so much discussion and criticism, I have to wonder why they refuse to change.
If SNL refuses to join other great comedies like Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the creation of a diverse cast, then maybe we all should think of other things to do with our Saturday nights.