SNL to Cast Black Woman —and Soon

Final auditions pegged for Monday

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 13, 2013 8:11 AM CST

(Newser) – It looks like Saturday Night Live's lack of diversity may soon be solved, at least partially: Since ribbing itself for not having a black female cast member, the show has confirmed it will add an African-American woman (possibly even two) to the cast as soon as next month, the AP reports. It's already held two showcase auditions exclusively for black female comedians—the first time that's ever happened, notes the Hollywood Reporter. Seven or eight finalists will hit the SNL stage Monday for a special audition, the AP adds, where they'll be asked to do their best Michelle Obama impression.

"All told we've seen about 25 people," the show's creator Lorne Michaels told the New York Times. "A lot of the people we saw are really good. Hopefully we'll come out of the process well." It's "100% good for the show to have an African-American woman," he added. SNL has seen just four black women in its regular cast since 1975; Maya Rudolph most recently left in 2007. And while the news will likely soothe critics, cast member Kenan Thompson, who announced he was sick of playing black women in drag, might be happiest of all.

This Oct. 5, 2013 photo shows from left, Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, and guest host Miley Cyrus in a scene from the late-night comedy series Saturday Night Live.   (AP Photo/NBC, Dana Edelson)
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