The “Scandal” star helped NBC's sketch show address its diversity problem
Everyone expected that NBC's “Saturday Night Live” would utilize this week's host, “Scandal” star Kerry Washington, to play the First Lady Michelle Obama, but they took it further than that.
“SNL” addressed recent criticism over its lack of a black female castmember right from the get go. During the cold open, Washington first appeared as the FLOTUS, and then she had to leave the room in order to switch to Oprah Winfrey. The promise of Beyonce came next, but never materialized. The show also made the statement that it would try harder to cast a black actress unless it fell in love with another white guy, of course. So, did “SNL” make its point?
To cap off the segment, Reverend Al Sharpton made a guest appearance and said, “What have we learned from this sketch? As usual, nothing.”
Washington spoofed her Olivia Pope role on “Scandal” during the opening monologue, which was a missed opportunity for Washington to really do some jokes about other aspects of her life like her covert marriage, recently reported pregnancy or the lesbian rumors swirling around her or even address the show's diversity problem again in a humorous way.
Living up to Sharpton's appraisal, the show then used up its race card/funny jokes (and every wig in the house) within its first half hour.
Washington then went on to play a hood rat assistant to a heavily caffeinated motivational speaker from an Eastern European country; a jealous girlfriend in a music video; a professor from a traditionally black college who believed Barack Obama could do no wrong – the part about white people loving “The Wire” was especially hilarious; and then a babbling Miss Uganda, one of the new contenders from developing nations, in the show's take on the Miss Universe pageant.
Washington then played several characters that didn't necessarily have to be black during the show's final sketches. But, we can't say that made for any laughs. The devil is in the details when it comes to comedy and so those roles didn't quite push any buttons – funny or otherwise.
What we can say is that Washington committed to every role she played on the episode, even the ones that were clearly failing at being funny. But, we wouldn't expect any less from her.
Did we mention Eminem was the musical guest? We saw some chatter on Twitter from people who thought he was lip-syncing on “Berzerk.” We didn't see that ourselves, but you tell us what you thought.
Watch a few of Washington's sketches above and below: