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‘SNL’ and Kerry Washington Confront the Show’s Race Controversy Head On

Recently, ‘SNL‘ came under fire for not having any black actresses in the show’s line-up, a controversy that was only further flamed when veteran cast member Kenan Thompson said that most black comediennes “weren’t ready” for the gig. The show could have just ignored all of this and everything would have just vanished under the carpet, but to the cast and crew’s credit, they confronted the issue in the cold open for this week’s episode, apologizing while making fun of the entire situation.

The sketch finds President Obama (played, as always, by Jay Pharaoh) meeting with Michelle Obama (guest host Kerry Washington) in the Oval Office before a major event. When an aide informs the commander-in-chief that Oprah Winfrey has arrived, the sketch pauses, the actors break character and Washington is forced to make a quick exit so she can change her costume and play Oprah, too (because Thompson won’t do it). Over the awkward silence, scrolling text and voice over apologize for the situation, promising that they’ll rectify the situation soon … unless they fall in love with another white guy first.

Of course, everything concludes with an appearance by Reverend Al Sharpton, who sadly notes that we’ve all learned nothing from this sketch and that “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” It’s a bitter, honest pill, but hey, at least it’s funny.

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