Kerry Washington and Maya Rudolph's Awfully Similar Sketches: Does ‘SNL’ Need More Black Friends?

Kerry Washington and Maya Rudolph's Awfully Similar Sketches: Does 'SNL' Need More Black Friends?

As guest hosts, both women played Michelle Obama and appeared in the Barack Obama-themed sketch “How's He Doing?”

Amid the growing debate over diversity on “Saturday Night Live,” TheWrap unearthed footage illustrating that not only are African-American women a scarcity on the show but when they do appear, writers apparently have two token sketches. Make that three if you count Oprah Winfrey.

For instance, Kerry Washington appeared in the “How's He Doing?” sketch Saturday, which parodied black voters’ unyielding support for President Barack Obama. Former cast member Maya Rudolph did the same when she hosted in February 2012.

Also read: ‘Saturday Night Live’ and the Diversity Problem: The Media Weighs In

The only difference is Rudolph played a professor from the historically black college Howard University and Washington's character was from Spellman College — another historically black college. Making matters worse, both Rudolph and Washington played FLOTUS Michelle Obama. Washington also doubled as Winfrey while Rudolph lampooned her countless times as a cast member. Apparently, when it comes to black women in pop culture, the writers behind “Saturday Night Live” are rather limited in their references.

While Washington joked about the late-night series’ lack of black women cast members in the opening sketch, it is telling that the two black women who've hosted the show most recently were pigeonholed.

Also read: ‘Saturday Night Live': Kerry Washington Is Every Black Woman (Video)

What did you think? Is it offensive that “SNL” went to the same comedic well or is it just the nature of sketch comedy?

Watch Kerry as Michelle Obama:

Watch Maya Rudolph as Michelle Obama:


Watch Kerry on “How's He Doing?”:

Watch Maya on “How's He Doing?”:

  • Tvaddic

    SNL doing the same sketch isn't racist, just lazy writers.

    • WestIndianAngel

      And…….. nobody said it was racist.

      • Tvaddic

        The whole article was about race, and the first sentence of the last paragraph was “Is it offensive that “SNL” went to the same comedic well…” You can read between the lines.

        • unsean

          Got to be careful “reading between the lines” in case you're making shite up.

          There ARE by any metric you want to use, a lack of African-American women on SNL.

          You can interpret it how you like, though that lack of women of color — in this case black — isn't going to change.

  • astralislux

    Get a life. The show is funny and skits are often repeated and updated — often similar skits. Blacks represent 13 percent of the population. There is a fair amount of black representation on the show, in proportion to the American population.

    Now are we going to be upset that the show doesn't have Spanish-only segments?

    • unsean

      Astralislux has spoken! We have reached his quota of blacks, and no more is to be said on the matter!

    • Michelle Kirkwood

      Sorry, but the show isn't all that funny all the time, and that 13% of the pop. happens to be at least 38 million people,BTW. I am sick of this stupid and biased racist attitude from idiots like you that we're not supposed to f***ing matter just because we're in the minority. And there are only two black people on the show this year–that's not exactly a hell of a lot of diversity,and you know it. And them not having ANY black women on at all—yet they never seem to have any problems finding enough white boys and girls for the show, whether they're all that talented or not. They're full of s*** when it comes to that subject.

      And SNL hasn't really been as funny since the early '90's, to be honest–you obviously haven't seen it when it was in its prime.

  • growling gertie

    Not only were the sketches on SNL offensive…they were stupid and redundant…..I can't believe that Kerry Washington agreed to do them. The show continues it's male skits of the guys in locker rooms, the guys in soap operas, the guys and beer in the bar, and the ridiculous “commando” sketch…..the show worships the male role model…let's face it Alec, Chevy, Steve, etc, etc, etc…..the only times women are the focus of a sketch is when either The View, The Talk or Kathy and Hoda are featured…and they are always either following traditional role models of the funny chubby girl or the stupid woman from Russia…..I love SNL but I am so sick of the tedious repetitive skits, and the lack of real humor and imagination!!! I'm sure the majority of your writers are male…..or timid women…..maybe the leadership at SNL should realize their age and viewpoint is showing…'s not attractive nor does it resonate with today's audience…… Maybe neglecting ethnic minorities and women causes a few laughs in your offices…..but your audience is laughing all the way to the “off” button! And…the women on the show are complete failures for not speaking up about the situation……you are there for a reason…..speak up!!!! You have a chance to say something productive about the situation…it's time to turn it around…..write a sketch where the black/latino/Asian woman puts the “white guys” in their place….now that would be funny!

  • WestIndianAngel

    I want an updated MadTV or In Living Color…. SNL stopped being must see TV for me ages ago.

  • ottomarcos

    SNL has been rehashing the same lame, predictable bits and sketches for eons. That's why the show is rarely funny for more than 10-or-15 out of its 90 minutes on the air. I haven't watched SNL “live” in many, many years. I record it, then watch it later. Inevitably, I'll end up watching the beginning of each sketch and fast-forwarding through the rest of it due to the fact that it's neither new, creative, or funny. Same goes for the majority of boring, predictable musical guests these days; when the popular music industry is the worst it has been in my entire lifetime. “Weekend Update” is the only part I bother to watch all the way through, but in most cases that's also a big disappointment. 4 days-a-week more comedic creativity and originality is produced by the writers of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report than is produced during an entire week of work by SNL writers…

  • ggH

    Why should SNL be any different?
    Both the TV and movie industry suffer from the same disease. They do not allow African American writers to in any numbers into the business. No AA writers, no different perspective. It's an all white, all boys club. SNL reflects the cold and callous, one-dimensional view of the world. No where near as funny as it could be.

  • curious1

    I agree – it is sheer laziness – the show is boring anyway

  • joshola

    does the show have any black writers? It's a white show for white people, it is what it is, why is that bad?

  • Eli

    that show still being on the air is what's offensive

  • Heywood Jablowme

    Adding black female comedians to the roster won't make the show any better. They need to either quit or get a whole new line of writers…