UPDATE, FRIDAY 3 PM: The pool of Saturday Night Live finalists is expanding. I’ve learned that Erica Ash, who co-stars on SNL alum Tracy Morgan’s FX pilot Death Pact, also is set to test for the NBC late-night show Monday. She joins the other nine women I reported on last night. I’ve found out that they all have been invited to test, though some of them are currently tied to other projects, so it is unclear how many of them would be available.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, THURSDAY PM: One of these women could follow in the footsteps of Maya Rudolph and become the first black female Saturday Night Livecast member in five years. No one is talking, but I have compiled the names of nine young performers rumored to take the SNL stage on Monday to vie for a featured player spot on the venerable NBC sketch comedy show. SNL chief Lorne Michaels told The New York Times today that he plans to audition 7-8 women. The in-studio test follows auditions, including one held in Los Angeles, where some 25 hopefuls we seen. preliminary Here are the names I’m hearing as being on the short list for the Monday test: Bresha Webb, whose photo from the Los Angeles audition posted online brought to light SNL‘s casting plans; improv player Tanisha Long, cast member of MTV’s Girl Code; Misty Monroe, who comes out of Groundlings; Gabrielle Dennis, who recurred on BET’s The Game; and Amber Ruffin, member of Boom Chicago, an Amsterdam-based sketch group; actress-comedian Leslie Jones. Also said to be testing are UCB Theatre performers Sasheer Zamata, whose name had been floated as a suitable SNL candidate before, and Natasha Rothwell, who previously won an NBC Universal Diversity Scholarship; as well as Briana KC.
Michaels also told NYT that the show plans to add one black female cast member in January, with a slight chance of a second one.