Kerry Washington on SNL

I’ve been a fan of Saturday Night Live since Eddie Murphy was screaming, “I’m Gumby, Dammit!” and “It’s too hot in the hot tub!”—count Murphy, Garrett Morris, Will Ferrell and almost every woman who’s ever graced the late night show’s roster, including Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Ellen Cleghorne, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig, as some of the funniest people on the planet. But it’s been a long time since I laughed long, deep and hard at the show’s skits; the disconnect between the jokes on the stalwart show and the humor that speaks to my sensibilities is as long as the Nile. When Scandal’s Kerry Washington hosted Saturday Night Live this past weekend, though, she fixed alla that.

Be clear, Kerry may be the queen of The Gladiators, but that girl is funny as hell, too. She was hysterical as the gum-snapping, leopard-print rocking sistah assistant—no doubt homage to Kerry’s Bronx roots. She killed, too, as the cropped ‘fro professor who made clear that she’d support Barack Obama’s presidency, no matter if he were a Muslim, Jew or a “godless” atheist, and she cut a fine Valley Girl as she, Keenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah made fun of White People Problems. And the video spoof of “What Does the Fox Say” that she and Jay served up—it was called, “What Does My Girl Say”—had me in stitches.

But the skit most talked about yesterday was the one that took on SNL’s lack of diversity—specifically the absence of black women cast members since Maya Rudolph’s departure in 2007, and the massive dustup that ensued a few weeks ago when the show announced a whole new crop of comedians (mostly all white men, nary a black woman) and Kenan Thompson defended the lack of black women on the show by saying there weren’t any qualified candidates. All of which was, and continues to be, a complete travesty and dumb as hell, considering how many quality humor moments the show misses out on without a black woman on the staff. Plus, I’m tired of seeing Kenan in a dress. No more of that, please and thanks. (Shameless plug here: You want funny, SNL? See Luvvie Ajayi of She’s smart as hell, adorable, can write her behind off and is pretty much the funniest black woman on these here innanets. Grab her. Now. You’re welcome.)

Anyway, in the show’s opener: Washington, portraying Michelle Obama, is sitting with Jay Pharoah’s President Obama, when Taran Killam, playing the president’s aide, announces that Oprah Winfrey is in The House, looking to pay the world’s most powerful Black couple a visit. Killam and Pharoah stare down Kerry until she finally gets the hint: won’t be no Oprah if she doesn’t change out of her First Lady outfit and into the Oprah dress and wig. While Kerry darts out to change her wardrobe, this message scrolls the screen:

“The producers at Saturday Night Live would like to apologize to Kerry Washington for the number of black women she will be asked to play tonight. We made these requests both because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent, but also because SNL doesn’t currently have a black woman in the cast. As for the latter, we realize this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the near future…unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first.”

The kicker: Al Sharpton comes out, stares into the camera and says, “What have we learned from this sketch? As usual, nothing.”

Hilarity. And Rev. Al is right: the skit is meaningless if SNL doesn’t put its money where its mouth is and just hire a black girl—or three—already. Hell, if Kerry wasn’t tied up with Scandal, she’d make a fine choice. She served up the funniest SNL skits I’ve seen in years. (And also happens to be one of only eight women to host the show in its 38 years. (O_o).)

Of course, while we were all laughing, we were on baby bump watch, too, as Kerry Washington announced just last week that she’s expecting a baby with husband Nnamdi Asomugha. Typical of Kerry’s insistence on staying tight-lipped about her personal life, she’s not giving any details/insight/intel on how far along she is, when she’s due or even just how excited she is about becoming a mom. But doggonit, we Gladiators don’t need her to say it: if she’s anything like the rest of us moms, we know she must be overjoyed/overwhelmed/excited/scared/anxious and more with the prospect of being somebody’s mama and what that means for her life, her career, her marriage and her womanhood. Know this, Kerry: we’re confident you’re going to be one helluva mom, and we wish you nothing but the best for your motherhood journey. Welcome to the MyBrownBaby crew!

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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