Kerry Washington to Host Saturday Night Live Amid Racial Casting Controversy

Celebrity News Oct. 16, 2013 AT 1:30PM
Kerry Washington arrives at Variety's 5th Annual Power Of Women Event Kerry Washington will host the Nov. 2 episode of Saturday Night Live, NBC announced on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

What will Kerry do? Kerry Washington is set to host the Nov. 2 episode of Saturday Night Live, NBC announced on Wednesday, Oct. 16 -- just days after cast member Kenan Thompson blamed the lack of show diversity on a lack of talented black female comediennes.

"It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson told TV Guide in a recent interview. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."

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Washington, 36, currently plays up the drama as the President's former crisis management expert (and mistress) Olivia Pope on ABC smash hit Scandal, but will have to bring out her goofy side for the show, which she'll host alongside musical guest Eminem.

This will be SNL's sixth consecutive season without a black female cast member, leaving a noticeable void where sketches about pop culture icons like the First Lady, Beyonce, Oprah, or even Scandal itself could take place. Thompson, 35, previously tackled black female roles like Maya Angelou and Jennifer Hudson, but has since stopped playing those characters.

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"I don't know. We just haven't done them," he told TV Guide of how the show hasn't made up for this lack of representation. "That's what I'm saying. Maybe [Jay Pharaoh] will do it or something, but even he doesn't really want to do it."

Maya Rudolph, who is half black and half Jewish, previously portrayed a wide variety of characters, including Whitney Houston, Justin Guarini, and Beyonce. She left the show in 2007.

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Pharaoh, who joined the cast in 2010, also recently opened up about the show's lack of a black female cast member.

"They need to pay attention," he said of the show's lack of diversity, suggesting Love Thy Neighbor actress Darmirra Brunson as a possible candidate. "Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she's black first of all, and she's really talented. She's amazing. …And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year."

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