Tag Archives: Jay Pharoah

Open Thread: Kerry Washington hosts Saturday Night Live

Image via Vibe.com

By Kendra James

With the combined fire power of a few cute empire waists, boxy tops, and racial stereotypes, Kerry Washington became one of a handful of Black women to host Saturday Night Live in its 30+ year history. Given the recent controversy surrounding the lack of color in the SNL cast, its understandable that the show would be eager to face the topic head on. Asking Washington to host was a nice first step, but they seem content to stop there.

Kerry Washington Cold Open 1

Kerry Washington Cold Open 2

Kerry Washington Cold Open 3

Scrolling text in Kerry Washington’s SNL cold open, via Mashable

Sure, SNL addressed their lack of Black women directly in the cold open, but joking about the glaring absence really loses all effectiveness if you don’t take steps to fix it immediately after. Addressing your own racist casting practices as a joke makes you seem less like a writer’s room full of subversive humourist savants than it does a room full of white privileged writers. The screen caps above represent a joke that could only retain legs if at the end of the show they’d announced the addition of a full time Black female cast member.

Of course, after seeing the sketches Washington was thrown into –especially in the first half of the show– it’s probably worth wondering how well a Black woman would fare in this era of SNL. With a sketches that included a mouthy, angry Black girlfriend, a BAPs style Black ghetto girl, an Ugandan beauty queen who reeked of Eddie Murphy’s “what have you done for me lately” bit from Raw, and the best Angela Davis impression she could muster, Washington and the SNL writers were one weave joke away from a stereotypical Black woman full sweep.

Washington put her all into everything she was given (as did Jay Pharoah, who was in all but 2 sketches on Saturday night, “because,” said the writer’s room, “if they want Black people then, goddamnit, we are going to give them black people! Take that, critics.”) but surely there have been several other hosts from popular breakout television shows who’ve knocked their hosting nights out of the park without relying on racial humour to take them through. Jon Hamm comes to mind. Unfortunately, where someone like Jon Hamm seems to inspire new, original material, the SNL writers room looked at Kerry Washington and clearly decided that with the plethora of jokes people have been making about Black women for years, they already had all they needed.

The only sketch that seemed as if it had any input from a non white writer included the Angela Davis impression mentioned above. I really do wish my white friends would stop telling me to watch The Wire. But for the most part, I still have to disagree with Kenan Thompson’s recent comments about there being no Black female comedians who are ready for SNL. It’s the SNL writers who aren’t ready for Black women.

The rest of Saturday night’s sketches are underneath the cut. What do you think, readers?

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The Racialicious TV Roundup: 2.26-3.3

By Arturo R. García and Kendra James

Kevin Hart greets the crowd before his opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live.”

Kevin Hart hosts SNL: Not only did Kevin Hart get to host a funnier than usual Saturday Night Live this week, he got NBC to play an ad for his BET parody show, Real Husbands of Hollywood, during the broadcast. Miracles really do happen.

The gems of the evening included Hart’s opening monologue (these are always better when the show’s writers have nothing to do with them), “The Z Shirt” (90s nostalgia rarely fails), and Really? With Seth and Kevin (commentary on the Voting Rights Act debate stuck between some less funny “Weekend Update” material).
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Entertainment Roundup 1.18-24.13

by Arturo Garcia and Joseph Lamour

(Note: NSFW language in the clip above)

R.I.P. Robert F. Chew: Just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of Mr. Chew, best known for playing Proposition Joe on The Wire. But in the wake of his passing, his work off-camera training young actors in Baltimore is also coming to light:

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Chew graduated from Patterson High School and attended Morgan State University where he sang in the school’s world-renown choir. He was working full time in Baltimore area theater since the early 1980s. He continued to teach in the Arena Players Youth Theatre after “The Wire” ended production here in 2007.

“He was a triple threat,” said Catherine Orange, director of Baltimore’s Arena Players youth theater. “He could act, he could dance and he could sing. He was an extraordinary teacher and director for us. He believed in our kids and was a task master.”

In 2006, Mr. Chew helped 22 of his students land parts in Simon’s landmark series.

“Whenever I had to dig deep and find kids who not only had the talent but the reality and the belief, kids who didn’t look like the ones in a Jell-O commercial, I called Robert,” Moran said Friday.

Also recommended is Kevin Van Valkenburg’s tribute to Chew:

He was a teacher who worked really hard to give kids growing up in the inner city exposure to the arts, which no an easy task, especially when you consider that art is always first on the chopping block when people criticize the school system and insist we need to trim the budget to get rid of “waste.”

–AG

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The Racialicious Entertainment Roundup: Nov. 10-22

By Arturo R. García, Joseph Lamour, and Kendra James

You might notice a slight title change this week as we change the format of the weekly roundup ever so slightly. Instead of just television, we’ll expanding into the broader definition of entertainment–music, movies, theatre, and TV. Because sometimes you just need a place to devote a paragraph or two to Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Or maybe that’s just Kendra.)

Psy, Hammer Style: At some point you had to wonder not only when the “Gangnam Style” craze would be put to bed, but whether Psy himself, who accidentally horsey-stepped his way into YouTube history, would get the last word on his meme like Rick Astley did three Thanksgiving Day Parades ago. And then this happened at the American Music Awards last Sunday:


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The Racialicious TV Roundup: Sept. 10-14

By Guest Contributor Kendra James

“Kicking Television,” by Daniel Horacio Agostini, via Creative Commons.

Ah, Fall. Colorful leaves, riding boots, pumpkin spice lattes, and a brand-new season of television. After a summer break, the Racialicious Weekly TV Roundup is back!

A quick review: The Weekly TV Roundup exists because there are stories we want to share with you each week that we don’t necessarily have time to write about in length,. The three of us don’t watch everything, but this is where you’re likely to hear about shows from Dance Moms to Arrow to Downton Abbey. Think of it as your digest-sized compilation of race and pop culture on television.

This week the world is blessed with the premiere of two Ryan Murphy shows (oh joy), and we have a few newsbites to catch up with from the summer months, so without further ado …
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Introducing The Racialicious TV Roundup

Courtesy Los Angeles Times

By Guest Contributors Kendra James and Jordan St. John and Managing Editor Arturo R. García

In case you hadn’t guessed, the TV Correspondents here at The R watch a lot of television. Unfortunately, not everything of interest makes it into article form and, with that in mind we present the weekly TV Roundup: a catch all of televised pop culture tidbits that might not warrant a full column, but you still want to know about. Big SPOILER ALERT in place for the items under the cut.

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