Following intense criticism in the last few months for its absence of black female comedians, “Saturday Night Live” is now taking steps to address the controversy.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the sketch comedy show held secret auditions at L.A.'s Groundlings Theater several weeks ago for black women. A few of the comedians invited to the auditions took to social media about their experience.
"Omg I am at the Groundlings theater about to audition for #SNL please pray for me yall!" comedian Tiffany Haddish tweeted on Dec. 2.
And in an interview with the blog Jasmine Brand, comedic actress Bresha Webb opened up about the details of the auditions and the women involved.
There is no official number of how many women auditioned. But comedian Simone Shepherd posted a photo to her Instagram account from the audition that showed her pictured with 10 other actresses. In her interview with Jasmine Brand, Webb said that the ladies were contacted by "SNL" directly to attend the auditions.
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The last black actress on the SNL cast was Maya Rudolph, who left in 2007. The diversity controversy fired back up a few months ago after current cast member Kenan Thompson said that show hadn't been able to find black female comedians who were "ready" for the gig.
The news has stirred excitement among "SNL" viewers concerned about the limited diversity on the show. But many are equally skeptical that the auditions for the black female comedians was driven more by business-related motivations rather than the show truly being concerned about its ethnic composition.