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'SNL' Holding Special Auditions to Add a Black Female Castmember in January

Saturday Night Live is on the verge of taking the first step to fix its diversity problem. The show will hold a special audition of black female candidates on Monday with plans to hire one person from that group to join the show in January, according to the New York Times.

The show’s creator and executive producer, Lorne Michaels, said in an interview on Thursday that he had committed to that timetable to add the show’s first black woman since Maya Rudolph left the series in 2007. Several casting sessions were held over the last few weeks leading to this week’s audition.

SNL came under fire this season for its lack of minority castmembers. The show added several new castmembers for the new season, with Noel Wells being the only non-white male to join SNL. After both Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson criticized SNL for lacking a black female talent, the show poked fun at the situation when Kerry Washington hosted. During the cold open of her episode, Washington played several black female celebrities, including Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

According to the New York Times' Bill Carter, Lorne Michaels isn't just adding someone who can play Obama.

Mr. Michaels said there had been too much focus on how the show had no one to play Mrs. Obama or Beyoncé. “That’s a weird sort of way at looking at it because you don’t judge comedy that way,” Mr. Michaels said. “Versatility is what we look for.”

The new castmember will join SNL before the show goes on hiatus for the Winter Olympics.

UPDATE: Deadline reports that Bresha Webb, Tanisha Long, Misty Monroe, Gabrielle Dennis and Amber Ruffin will be taking part in Monday's audition. There's a chance that Shasheer Zamata, Natasha Rothwell and Briana KC could also join the audition.
'SNL' Holding Special Auditions to Add a Black Female Castmember in January Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 12/13/2013 Rating: 5

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