Lorne Michaels & Co. went for the elephant in the room with Kerry Washington hosting amidst Saturday Night Live‘s recent diversity firestorm. Giving the Scandal actress a workout playing Michelle Obama, Oprah, and (offstage) Beyonce in her cold open, the show skewered the fact that when it comes to black female characters SNL‘s limitations are self-imposed (“Kenan won’t…?” Washington asks in one of many meta moments). It acknowledged what castmates Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah have criticized in interviews: “[SNL] does not have a black woman in the cast… we agree this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it… unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first.” So the SNL gang is listening to critics even if Michaels has yet to put his money where his mouth is. Did it help to have a cameoing Reverend Al Sharpton on their side?
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