Can’t Stop Watching: Diversity Not ‘SNL’s’ Biggest Issue, T.D. Jakes Rebukes ‘Preachers of L.A.’ & More

by | October 18, 2013 at 5:51 PM | Black Entertainment, Can't Stop Watching, Preachers of LA, Saturday Night Live

Tina Fey and Kenan Thompson on "Saturday Night Live." (Photo: NBC)

I love to laugh. And for quite some time, I’ve been hankering for the likes of “In Living Color” and “The Chris Rock Show.”  This desire usually arises when I come across a news item and imagine how it would make a funny skit. It’s obvious that there are others like me; look at the abundance of hilarious videos online, especially coming from black folks. My close friends insisted I watch Issa Rae’s ”The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”  and Franchesca Ramsey’s “Sh-t White Girls Say…to Black Girls” still garners laughs since it debuted in January 2012. They are just a few of the sisters who have created their own comedic platforms. And they’re good.  If you’ve been keeping up with current headlines, then you know where I’m going with this: Kenan Thompson’s comments on why there aren’t any black women on “Saturday Night Live.” Something about the “SNL” cast member’s comments struck me as … wack. “It’s just a tough part of the business,” Thompson told “TV Guide” when asked about the show only ever having four black female cast members. “Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.” It’s unclear exactly what he means by “ready,” but his words read like a cop-out for “SNL” (I know, a brother has bills to pay) and even worse, leaves the impression that there aren’t any talented, funny black women. (As I type this, it seems utterly ridiculous that this is even a topic of discussion). The ladies of “The View” and “The Talk” — shows each with two black female comedic co-hosts — addressed this topic on their shows this week.  ”That really insults me,” “The Views” Sherri Shepherd said. And last month, Thompson’s castmate Jay Pharoah, who believes talented black funnywomen exist, said of “SNL,” “They need to pay attention.” Pharoah recommends an “amazing” talent named Darmirra Brunson. “SNL’s” last black female cast member was Maya Rudolph, who left in 2007. The show hasn’t had an Asian or Hispanic female cast member, noted “The Talk’s” Julie Chen. I admit, I’m unaware of “SNL’s” auditioning process and don’t claim it or working on the show are cakewalks. It just seems if the show wanted to have a more multicultural cast, then it would. The talent is out there. But this isn’t the biggest turnoff many people have with “SNL.” The skits could use more wit and humor, in my opinion. Sometimes when I watch the show I feel underwhelmed. Several sketches seem like missed opportunities. Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with not “getting it” content wise; I do. But, I want to get it and laugh.

 ”The View’s” Sherri Shepherd  and Whoopi Goldberg sound off on “SNL” diversity

Speaking of funny brown chicks… As if I didn’t already have a habit of confusing the name of Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer with that of the late, gifted sci-fi author Octavia Butler, the former has decided to become a novelist, too. Spencer recently published her first book, “Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit.”  She talked about her pre-teen novel series on “The View” and her new movie “Paradise,” which also stars Russell Brand and opens today. Butler Spencer seems very sweet and humble, even with her slimmed down body, LOL. Take a look here. In other sepia sisters news, this week is turning out to be an extraordinary one for “Scandal’s” Kerry Washington. We learned she’s hosting the Nov. 2 episode of “SNL” and was named creative consultant and celebrity brand ambassador for Neutrogena. The lovely lady appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last night, where she dished on growing up in a family of educators, childhood blerd — black nerd — activities and reviewed next week’s “Scandal” episode. She sure makes gladiators proud! Watch it here. Not everyone is a fan of “Preachers of L.A.”. It may have debuted with high numbers on Oxygen last week but Bishop T.D. Jakes is rebuking “that junk on TV” (his words, not mine). The Dallas-based pastor told congregants Sunday that he’s not “bling-blinging” like the pastors on the flamboyant reality show.  ”You did not buy what I got. I had it when I came here,” said Jakes, who even denounced the “slimy suit” he was wearing. Is this a case of pot meet kettle, as some believe, or does Jakes have a point? Watch the first two episodes here. On another note, NBC has pulled the plug on Blair Underwood’s “Ironside.” I watched the first two episodes and thought the show was cool. I will watch them all, including the fourth and final episode airing next week,and will be able to give a better assessment. Underwood is an NBC and fan favorite, I’m sure the network will come up with another show for him (Remember “L.A. Law” and “The Event”?). Read more here.

On my watchlist this weekend? What I’m tuning in to see …
“Dancing on the Edge”: Chiwetel Ejiofor’s BBC series comes to Starz. It premieres at 11:05 p.m. EST Saturday on Starz. [Watch here]
“Oprah’s Next Chapter”: Arsenio Hall will sit down with Oprah. Tune in at 9 p.m. EST Sunday on OWN. [Watch Here]
“The Walking Dead”: There’s no question about this one. It airs at 9 p.m. EST Sundays on AMC. [Watch here]

The Hot List: Who/What’s Hot, Not
HOT: Kenan Thompson’s decision to stop playing female roles on “Saturday Night Live” (Better late than never!).
NOT: The teen found with a dead fetus in a bag while shopping at Victoria’s Secret (There are no words!).

HOT: The government shutdown has ended!
NOT: That the government shutdown even happened and that it took more than two weeks to end?!

HOT: Octavia Spencer (She’s funny, an Oscar winner and was courageous enough to venture into novel writing.).
NOT: This legal tussle between the estate of Martin Luther King Jr. and Harry Belafonte, who was a close friend to Dr. and Mrs. King (Seems like there’s always dust stirring around this estate… and the King children).

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.