SNL Addresses Its Diversity Problem with Kerry Washington

Saturday Night Live has come under fire recently for its notable lack of women of color on its cast. Having had no black, female cast-members since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007, insult was added to injury this season when the show hired six new featured players, all white. The show addressed that problem head-on with host Kerry Washington at the helm in this cold open sketch.

The sketch sets up a Scandal parody with Barack Obama and Press Secretary Jay Carney in the Oval Office, but Washington soon enters as Michelle Obama. The sketch addresses the show’s lack of diversity, forcing Washington to repeatedly run off-stage to re-enter as another famous black woman. Finally, it ends with a special appearance by Rev. Al Sharpton. It was a clever, funny way for the show’s producers to acknowledge a serious problem they have. Washington, by the way, has apparently had a great Oprah impression up her sleeve this whole time.

The rest of the episode was unusually strong. Washington herself was game for almost anything and appeared in nearly every single sketch, somewhat of a rarity for SNL hosts. A personal highlight was a new character by Nasim Pedrad, Heshy, an incredibly enthusiastic motivational speaker. You can watch it here:

In addition to Washington, Eminem played musical host, performing “Berzerk” and “Survival” off his new album. As many on the internet have pointed out, it appears he was lip-syncing.