After coming under fire for the lack of minorities in this season’s new cast, “Saturday Night Live” will add an African American woman to the sketch comedy by next month.
The long-running NBC sketch comedy show held auditions Monday night exclusively for African-American women, according to the New York Times. The show also had a showcase in Los Angeles at the beginning of the month and another in New York the following day on Dec. 2.
Comedienne Gabrielle Dennis tweeted a picture from the Dec. 1 audition at L.A.’s Groundlings Theatre.
“SNL” creator-exec producer Lorne Michaels told the Times that he’s intended to hire the show’s first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph’s departure in 2007.
“All told we’ve seen about 25 people,” Michaels told the Times. “A lot of the people we saw are really good. Hopefully we’ll come out of the process well.”
The auditions are reportedly the first in the show’s history to focus entirely on minority females. The cast is already a female powerhouse with five ladies, one of whom, Cecily Strong, will host “Weekend Update” upon Seth Meyers’ sign-off. Of the 16 cast members, there are only a handful of minorities: Noel Wells is Hispanic-Tunisian and Nasim Pedrad is Iranian-American.
The show’s two African American actors, Jay Pharaoh and Kenan Thompson, have publicly said it’s high time for the addition of a black woman. Pedrad’s role in the show next year remains uncertain as she’s set to co-star in John Mulaney’s Fox comedy series.
Other shows have faced similar criticism. HBO’s “Girls” recently came under fire and cast “Orange Is The New Black” trouper Danielle Brooks to appear in the show next season.
(Pictured: ‘Scandal’ star Kerry Washington recently hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ amid controversy over the dearth of minority females on the show.)