Folks have been clamoring about the lack of Black cast members on Saturday Night Live for several years now. The show last came under scrutiny for having SNL cast member, Fred Armisen (a comedian of Venezuelan, Japanese and German decent) play Barack Obama in skits during the 2008 elections. But now alongside seven-year SNL veteran Keenan Thompson, a new comedian of color will soon be rounding out the ensemble cast.
Reports are floating that the bigwigs at Saturday Night Live are adding comedian Jay Pharoah as a new featured cast member to kick off its 36th season, which premieres on Sept. 25. Pharoah will be the first new Black cast member added since 2003.
According to a source close to SNL, recently added Jenny Slate has been dropped, while three other featured players are also joining the cast in addition to Pharoah—Taran Killam (Mad TV, Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out, Scrubs), Paul Brittain and Vanessa Bayer, both students of the iO Improv Theater in Chicago.
Check out Pharoah’s Will Smith and Denzel Washington impressions below and tell us if he tickles your funny bone. SNL’s season premiere features host Amy Poehler and musical guest Katy Perry.
What do you think about SNL adding a new Black castmember? Will you be tuning in?