After months of controversy bombarding Saturday Night Live and its blatant lack of diversity, executive producer Lorne Michaels has made a better attempt to address the lack of black females on the show than just having Kerry Washington absolve Michaels by playing Michelle Obama, Beyonce, and Oprah all in one sketch.
Gothamist picked up an interview between comedian Bresha Webb and the blog The Jasmine BRAND, in which Webb revealed that Saturday Night Live held impromptu auditions for black female cast members in early December. According to Webb,
"The audition came about from an inside source from SNL. I don't think any of us had a clue about the showcase until two days prior. It was an awesome opportunity even though it was such a short notice but, if you stay ready you ain't gotta get ready and we were READY! Lol But we were all honored to be selected."
Webb's comments hit particularly close to home in light of comments SNL castmember Kenan Thompson made in October, about the black female comedians who were found to audition for the show not being ready enough. In addition to Webb, a few of the eleven comedians who auditioned included Tiffany Haddish, Simone Shepherd, and Darmirra Brunson—the latter who was namechecked by Jay Pharoah in a September interview with The Grio about the lack of diversity on the show, and who he felt should be a cast member.
While the idea of quietly held auditions that were so secretive even participants weren't made aware of them until just two days prior seems slightly icky, Michaels has been forced into somewhat of a catch-22 in terms of how to proceed. By not trying to find talented diverse female castmembers, he would continue to stoke the flames of racial outcry, but the first move he made—in this case, the Los Angeles auditions—are likely to be immediately decried as a bandaid attempting to cover a bullethole. While it remains a fact that it shouldn't take national rebuke for a producer like Michaels to realize the inherent benefits of having a diversified cast, even the first highly scrutinized step forward is ultimately a step in the right direction.
UPDATE: New York Times television reporter Bill Carter tweets that Lorne Michaels has told him he will be adding a black female cast member in January, and that final auditions will be taking place at the Saturday Night Live stages in New York on Monday night.