SNL‘s New Cast: Who Will Pass As Which Race This Season

Racist SNL gif(via)

As I hope you’re aware, if you saw the delightfully nip-slippy promos, Saturday Night Live returns tomorrow night with host Tina Fey and musical guest Arcade Fire and we. are. excited. The show lost a bunch of performers last year: Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, and Bill Hader all left the show, Seth Meyers will be leaving early next year to host Late Night, and Tim Robinson is being moved to the writing staff. So that’s five white guys leaving the show, and with all the backlash SNL has been getting lately about its lack of diversity, I just knew that it would be replacing those dudes with some people of color. I just knew it.

But then I started looking through the new roster of players — Mike O’Brien is being added as a performer in addition to writing for the show, and the show has hired new cast members Beck BennetKyle Mooney, Noël Wells, and John Milhiser — and I was like myyyy goodness, what a lot of white humans we’re adding to this situation. It’s almost like diversity isn’t a concern at all! But that simply can’t be, so I decided to take a closer look at each cast member, and really get to the bottom of exactly what we’re working with, here. A full breakdown of who comes from what background and the races they’ll likely be asked to play.

Or, if you’re lazy like me, you can just look at this helpful chart:

WHITE: 11 people
BLACK: 2 people
JEWISH: 1 and 1/4 person
IRANIAN: 1 person
TUNISIAN: 1/2 person
HISPANIC: 1/4 person
‘BOHEMIAN’: 1/4 person

Why you ignorant little kidney beans! With all that complaining you were doing, I bet you didn’t realize that African-Americans were the second most highly-represented demographic in the cast! I bet you feel really silly now, now that you realize there’s an 11:2 ratio of white people to black people on the show, just like in America, as proven by the 2010 Census*. What a lot of egg on your face. Let’s break this down to brass tacks so you can feel even more foolish.



Vanessa Bayer G Shock The World August 8 2013 New York City NY(Photo: WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / Jewish / American
Vanessa may be white, but she is also Jewish, so she is allowed to portray Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy on Weekend Update and can wear just as many prosthetic noses as she wants without offending anyone.


Seth Meyers NBC Upfronts May 13 2013 New York City NY(Photo: Joel Ginsburg/WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: Ashkenazi Jewish from his paternal grandfather, Bohemian from his paternal grandmother, and Swedish, English, and German from his mother.
Another white human being, Seth’s European melting pot background allows him to play…himself, at the Weekend Update desk.


Taran Killam The Worlds End Premiere Los Angeles California August 22 2013(Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
Taran is white, but he also has a youthful face, so he can play kids without kid’s right organizations getting up-in-arms.


Bobby Moynihan Monster's University World Premiere June 17 2013 Hollywood California(Photo: FayesVision/WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
He’s already the fourth white person on the list, but because he’s a bigger guy and has curly hair, Bobby is allowed to expand his repertoire play Italian-Americans. Don’t worry, I checked.


Nasim Pedrad NBC Fall 2013 Launch Party September 16 2013 New York City NY(Photo: Try CW/WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: Iranian / American
Please try to keep your heartbeat to a reasonable level, but we’ve just come across the first person of color on the show. Nasim was born in Iran, ergo she can play any and every ethnicity, from Chinese to Greek. Still advisable not to place this cast member in black face, but you do you, Lorne Michaels.


Jay Pharoah iHeartRadio Music Festival September 22 2013 Las Vegas Nevada(Photo: Judy Eddy/WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: Black / American
His skin tone enables Jay to play Latin American, specifically Dominican, very readily, but he should be asked to play Barack Obama only if Fred Armisen is unavailable.


Kenan Thompson Arrives at NBC Studios February 7 2012 New York City NY(Photo: WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: Black / American
Probably the busiest member of the cast, as he’s the only person on-set (or in the world!!!!) who can play an African-American woman.


Beck Bennet Fresh Perspectives(Photo: Youtube)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
My apologies for not knowing more about Beck, but we haven’t seen him in action yet. I’m assuming he’ll be really great at playing tall, white, Jason Sudeikis businessman types.


Aidy Bryant NBC Fall Launch Party September 16 2013 New York City NY(Photo: Try CW/WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
Excellent at playing marginalized, self-conscious characters, due to her gender and weight. Should never be used for anything else.


Kate McKinnon NBCUniversal Summer Press Day April 22 2013 Los Angeles California(Photo: Brian To/WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
Probably the best-utilized person in the cast, so let’s make sure we keep her as a featured player and lean heavily on the fact that she’s a lesbian even in unrelated sketches.


John Milhiser Impatient Man(Photo: Youtube)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
Again, I apologize for not being able to find out more about the new cast members, but John attended my alma mater, Hofstra, so that’s enough street cred to join Vanessa Bayer in a bar mitzvah sketch, should that become necessary.


Kyle Mooney Roomies Video(Photo: Youtube)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
Please fill me in if you know anything I don’t, but a cursory scan of Kyle suggests that he’s another Caucasian guy joining the cast. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I hope I’m not because I think we’re only at six white dudes so far.


Mike O'Brien 7 Minutes In Heaven Video(Photo: Youtube)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White/American
Phew, seven. What a relief.


Cecily Strong Hands On A Hard Body Opening March 21 2013 New York City NY(Photo: Joseph Marzullo/WENN)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
Okay yes, Cecily is white, but she also has dark hair! So she can officially play any and every character of Latin American descent so the show doesn’t have to hire anyone matching that description.


Noel Wells as Michelle Bachman(Photo: Youtube)

Ethnicity / Nationality: 1/2 Tunisian, 1/4 Hispanic
You guys! We officially have a whole quarter of a Hispanic person on the show, and half of a Tunisian person! Diversity is raining down from the sky like cats and dogs! This will be perfect! I bet Noel can play Asian people so the show doesn’t have to break their streak of not hiring Asian-Americans, and plus she has a fancy ‘e’ in her name, so the world is pretty much her oyster, y’know? This is turning out great!


Brooks Wheelan Guitar Vine(Photo: Twitter)

Ethnicity / Nationality: White / American
Annnnd eight. What a relief. Looks like we get to pioneer a bunch of those Anglo-centric dude scenes that SNL is always taking so much heat for not doing.

See, you guys! Don’t you feel silly for saying there was no diversity on the show! You idiot! There are only eight white guys, four white ladies, and we’re sooooo gravy with a whole two African-Americans and almost an entire Hispanic person! Well played, casting! I was worried we wouldn’t have to have anyone in brown-face this season, but it looks like we still have it covered.

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    • Emily

      While I understand your point – diversity is awesome – they shouldn’t cast people based solely on their race. They do need to be funny/talented… That said, I’m curious to know the racial statistics of people in the field of comedy/the people who audition for SNL; perhaps it’s just overrun with white guys, so the odds are naturally in their favor? Just being the devil’s advocate… I mean, if they need to choose between two people they should choose the funnier more talented person, regardless of skin color/sex/ethnicity/etc.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I think you’re right, that it’s kind of an epidemic throughout comedy, unfortunately. But since that’s the case, I think it becomes our responsibility to combat that trend.

        I know for certain that the show does like to keep a fairly even ratio of men to women in the cast — like they’ll get in touch after an audition and say, “Great job, but we’re not looking for any women that year” — so I don’t understand why that process should be different. “Sorry, we’re not looking for any white dudes right now, but we’ll keep you on the back burner for any future opportunities.”

        I just felt like now would’ve been a great time to focus on diversification instead of pushing it off until the next big casting overhaul.

      • FauxRealFaux

        I would like to see at least one black female on the cast- what happened to Minnie Ripperton’s daughter?

      • MammaSweetpea

        Good point, FauxRealFaux. I stopped watching SNL YEARS ago, but have passed by it from time to time. And I don’t recall seeing any black females. Has there ever been one, in the history of the show?

      • FauxRealFaux

        Maya Rudolph is black and Jewish. Her mother is the lady that song “Loving You” (Minnie Ripperton).

      • Katy Hearne

        There was a black woman from the 80′s or early 90′s but I can’t remember her name & “black lady from SNL” google search is just coming up with pictures of Whoopie Goldberg for some reason?

      • Katy Hearne

        Ellen Cleghorne

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        But the thing is, that name doesn’t even sound remotely familiar to me. How is that possible in 39 years?

      • Caleb G.

        I think that’s very naive on your part. As if there aren’t any funny Black female standup comics who are way funnier than these guys. It’s more likely that the people making the hiring decisions for this show are all a bunch of white guys and therefore they think white guy humor is more appealing. Therefore they feel no need to branch out to a wider audience.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I agree — they should be feeling a need to branch out. Seeking out talent in avenues other than the ones they’ve already determine provide a surplus of white dudes.

    • Katy Hearne

      Beck Bennett is in fact the guy in the suit from the commercial with all the kids, right? Because, based on that, I am expecting to love him because I don’t even know what those are commercials for (I’m thinking Olive Garden?) but I have youtubed them at work on more than one occasion.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Yup, that’s him! He’s that guy! I think they’re for a cell phone company, but I have no idea which one.

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    • Alex

      This is probably the most racist article I have ever read in my life.

    • Pingback: Don't Tell Saturday Night Live, But They Accidentally Cast A Black Woman - Crushable()

    • JB

      Dumbest article I have ever read in my life….

    • MANDO