Saturday Night Live Season 41 is expanding its cast by adding a new featured player. As exciting as that is, the latest addition shines another light on the series’ diversity issue.
On Monday, it was announced that SNL added Jon Rudnitsky as a Season 41 featured player. First and foremost, congratulations to the 25-year-old, who is a stand-up comedian known for winning Laugh Factory’s 2012 Laugh Bowl college comedy contest, for his accomplishment. That’s huge. However, the fact that the late-night sketch series is adding another white male to its lineup, well, it’s sad.
By no means do I want or am I trying to take away from Rudnitsky’s news, because I’m sure he deserves it and is very excited, and rightfully so, but SNL‘s announcement is once again proving it has a diversity issue. It isn’t a secret that the famous comedy show known for making a lot of talents famous, including Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, among many others, has been scrutinized time and time again for its not-so-diverse cast.
For over 40 years, 59 percent of the hosts have been white men, with only 29 percent of white women hosting. As disconcerting as it is to see that women, once again, are the minority here, did you know that only around 50 black hosts have hosted SNL? Sadly, there have been more black men than black women serving as hosts, too.
Thankfully, in 2014 Sasheer Zamata joined SNL as a full-time cast member, becoming the first African-American female on the show since Maya Rudolph left. Then, again in 2014, SNL added Leslie Jones as a regular. Clearly, these were great choices in more ways than one.
So, seeing another white male joining SNL is disappointing, but let’s hope SNL moves in the right direction and becomes even more diverse.
SNL premieres Saturday, Oct. 3, with Miley Cyrus as host.