All Articles Tagged "SNL"
Last night, Nicki Minaj treated fans with a musical appearance on Saturday Night Live. The rapper performed several songs off of her album The PinkPrint and starred in 3 skits.
First, Minaj portrayed Beyonce as Jesus’ mother in an MTV nativity scene parody. She also appeared as Kim Kardashian on the Weekend Update where she discussed Kim’s famous Paper Magazine Cover and the true meaning behind it. And lastly, Nicki Minaj starred in a skit with the host of the evening, James Franco.
Nicki definitely reminded her fans of her talent last night. She is one of the only musical acts that had the pleasure of performing multiple songs and appearing in multiple acts. Most acts are only allowed one performance.
Not only did Kendrick appear in a skit called “Young Tarts & Old Farts, but the Compton rapper performed twice, including a performance with Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk and rapper Jay Rock. While the rapping was on point, of course, one of the most notable parts of Kendrick’s triumphant return was his attire: The Compton star rocked his hair half-braided and wore all black contacts in his eyes.
The outfit sent the streets of Twitter into frenzy. Some followers called him Lafayette from the series “True Blood,” while others figured out his likely inspiration. Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of Method man’s debut solo album “Tical.” Method man was known for his crazy hairstyles, aka those braids, and wearing all black contacts as Kendrick did.
Judging by viewer reaction, Kendrick’s performance will undoubtedly earn a spot on SNL’s best performances list. His attire, energy, and famous dance moves were simply the icing on the cake.
Check out K dot below. What do you think?
Sidenote: Woody Harrelson was guest host on SNL last night. How many of you were hoping for a “White Men Can’t Jump” reenactment?
If you missed, Saturday Night Live last night, you missed an epic performance. The legendary singer Prince, performed for 8 uninterrupted minutes on last night’s episode. The performance featured new music and a killer guitar solo by the crooner. The last time Prince performed for 8 minutes straight, was during Super Bowl XLI halftime show in 2007. Prince’s performance will definitely go down in SNL history.
In addition to a performance by Prince, Chris Rock also hosted last night’s episode. Rock appeared in a number of skits including a funny skit with an entire black cast.
Kendrick Lamar and Woody Harrelson are set to perform and guest host when Saturday Night Live returns November 15th. In the meantime, check out the performance by Prince and some of Chris Rock’s skits.
This past May, Saturday Night Live writer Leslie Jones was heavily criticized for a joke she told on-air regarding slavery. She claimed if she was a slave her love life would be better because plantation owners would have arranged a relationship for her. A risky joke alluding to slave-breeding, it was deemed hilarious and/or awful by many.
Whether you thought the controversial joke was hilarious or uncouth, there’s much more of her to come. Jones has been hired to join the SNL cast as a full-time member. People magazine reports, Jones initially auditioned last year for the role but it was given to Sasheer Zamata. Although she was not hired as a cast member initially, Jones made appearances on the show’s “Weekend Update” segment.
Jones’ first appearance as a full-time cast member will be on October 25 when comedian Jim Carey hosts the show. She will also continue as a writer for SNL.
Here is the video of Jones performing her controversial slave joke.
Are you excited to see more of Jones in front of the camera?
We have to hand it to SNL. After a few years of questionable comedy, the show has been redeeming itself lately. Last week they had viewers taking extra caution not to say Beyonce’s name in vain for fear of The Beygency. Last night’s episode gave the official lowdown on just why the elevator altercation went down between sister Solange and Jay-Z, with an appearance from someone whom we feel doesn’t nearly get enough credit, Julius The Bodyguard.
Comedienne Sasheer Zamata played “Solange”, Jay Pharaoh did an uncanny mimic of “Jay-Z” and Keenan Thompson got a few laughs as “Julius”. Even Maya Rudolph makes an appearance as the Queen Bey herself to put on blast The Standard security guard who leaked the surveillance video.
You’ll never guess why the assault went down. It all makes so much sense now. Peep the clip below:
SNL included Spiderman star Andrew Garfield on some “Beysus” epidemic fun last night in a skit called “The Beygency”.
The four-minute clip opens with Garfield’s character hanging out with some friends and having some drinks. When the conversation turns to Beyonce, his character makes a big mistake by admitting that he isn’t the biggest fan of “Drunk In Love”. The comment sets off a collision course in his life as a group of secret agents known as “The Beygency” begin to hunt him down erasing his life as he knows it along the way. Even 24 actor Kiefer Sutherland tries to aid him as he runs from The Beygency.
The skit is seriously laugh out loud funny, as it mocks just how real it can get when you choose to rumble with the Beyhive. It’s kind of like how an outsider feels before they hit the “Post” button in a Youtube in a comments section on a Bey song that they’ve found the courage to say isn’t all that great. View the clip below (Warning, it’s Rated NC-17 for Mild Language Against Beyonce):
As reported by various news outlets, Sasheer Zamata will become the first black female cast member on Saturday Night Live since Maya Rudolph, left over five years ago.
Although the new hire spells great opportunity for the young New York-based comedienne as well as positive press for SNL, which has been caught up in controversy over lack of cast diversity, not everyone is feeling the decision. More specifically, Variety’s digital editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein, who in the piece Diversity Done Wrong: How ‘SNL’ Mishandled Casting a Black Woman, writes that Zamata’s hiring was not only a publicity stunt but also discrimination.
He also writes:
“The primary problem is the move to demonstrate “SNL” isn’t prejudiced was in and of itself an act of prejudice. While “first black woman in five years” makes for a compelling soundbite, it’s not as if “SNL” has no African-Americans at all. But lost amid all this attention on African-American women is that there currently are no Hispanics or Asians of either gender on “SNL,” which has also been the subject of criticism.
Making finding a black female in particular a priority over other racial groups sets up an absurd hierarchy of diversity needs. Think of how much more sense it would have made if “SNL,” having felt so compelled to make such a public demonstration of its diversity outreach, hadn’t excluded anyone who wasn’t a black female and just made it a casting call about finding another funny person of any type.
It’s always funny when white folks rail on about merit, hierarchy of diversity needs (seriously?) and affirmative action when sitting comfortably in mostly white work spaces (and yes that was a jab at the journalism industry). In other words, most of the cast of Saturday Night Live‘s entire run have been white men, however, that does not mean that all those white male cast members have been funny, or the funniest comedians to cast for the show. Some (without naming names) were kind of mediocre. And their mediocrity was likely aided on by all white executives, scouts and others white folks in positions of authority, who cast the show based upon their own personal preferences, as opposed to who – and even what is – funny. Therefore, if bias is intentional than so is diversity. And let’s be real here: mainstream America (white folks in authority) has a pretty messed up track record of doing the right thing racially, when judging solely upon merit. I’m talking historic-level of f**kery here. Every bit of diversity in this country has came by way of force, pressure and flat-out intention. Every bit of it.
Merit-based hiring and labor (because that is ultimately what we are talking about here) means leaving the decision making exclusively in the hands of folks like Wallenstein, who can say rather cluelessly “it’s not as if “SNL” has no African-Americans at all,”without taking into account that those two African Americans are actually both men. And black men and women are not interchangeable, despite SNL and Keenan Thompson best effort to make us think so.
I think it is laughable that Wallenstein sees the hiring of black women as some sort of affront to other women of color. Historically and statistically speaking, black people, in particular black women, have never been on the top of hierarchy in America. Therefore the fact that Black folks were able to pressure a show into doing the right thing in terms of having black comediennes play and define black comedic characters, only strengthens the causes of other marginalized, who too find themselves on the outside of the joke.
And as amusingly articulated by Dan Obeidallah, an Arab-American and former Saturday Night Live staffer, who writes in his piece, ‘SNL’ Gets What the Rest of TV Should: Racial Diversity Means Quality:
“Adding diversity to a comedy show—or to any show for that matter—simply to fill a quota would be wrong. But as a comedian and as someone who worked at SNL on the production staff from 1999-2007, I can tell you that greater diversity truly does equal better comedy. Authentic voices representing different backgrounds only enhance the comedy stew. So instead of one-note comedy bits, we see nuanced ones that resonate as being truthful—which in turn is better comedy.
We’ve all seen the panel of three white guys telling us “what the Arab world is really thinking.”
And I say this from first-hand experience. When I worked at SNL, I was the only person on the production staff of Arab heritage. Consequently, when writers were working on sketches that dealt with the Middle East—and believe me, there were a lot in the years after 9/11- they would often ask me questions. Some were factual inquires. Others were: “Is this racist?” If I sad “yes” they made sure to put it in the sketch. (Kidding!)”
The good news is the Zamata will not be the only black woman joining the show this season, thus avoiding the “token,” label. According to the Hollywood Reporter, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, will also be joining on to SNL crew as part of the writing team. Interestingly enough, the article states that Tookes and Jones were also “discovered” during the same black comedienne talent hunt, in which they discovered Zamata. I find that partly odd considering that I had “discovered” Jones, aka Big Les, a while ago, more specifically watching her comedy show Problem Child on Netflix. She is pretty raw, non-politically correct and seriously funny. And she is not a newcomer to the comedy world, which just goes to show you hard Lorne Michaels and his SNL team have been “searching” for diverse talent prior to their recent hires…
Saturday Night Live‘s efforts to “diversify” their staff reminds me of a college brochure. “Oh let’s throw in a black guy in the front page — y’know — so students think we’re multicultural.” I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be “sprinkled in” for added effect. I’d want to be the prime selection, front-and-center, for the university’s pamphlet.
And this is how I perceive SNL‘s first black female cast member since 2007, Sasheer Zamata. She’s the token black girl — “Scary Spice” or Saved By The Bell‘s Lisa Turtle — to create the illusion of heterogeneity.
“No matter how talented this young woman is,” Variety‘s Andrew Wallenstein wrote, “the special circumstances surrounding her hire put an asterisk next to her name that wouldn’t have to be there had she just been brought in during the traditional casting process.”
Wallenstein, under an opinion piece titled “How ‘SNL’ Mishandled Casting a Black Woman,” explains that while SNL‘s efforts to seem more inclusive is noble, the way they casted Zamata was a big ol’ mess. And for the most part, I agree.
When SNL opened up their auditions for African-American women only, I know I’m not the only one that heard, “Alright, alright! Shut up already! See? We’re going to hire a Black woman damnit!” SNL‘s mid-December auditions were out-of-the-ordinary. The sketch show never had open casting calls.
How Comedians (Usually) Become An SNL Cast Member:
1. Talent scouts usually pull comedians from four respected comedy clubs: Second City, Improv Olympic, the UCB Theater, and the Groundlings. Comedians at these venues are “seasoned performer[s] who can better handle all the rigors of being on a live TV show,” according to Mental Floss.
2. They will invite you to do a 10-minute performance in front of a live, paying audience. Comics can do celebrity impressions or a stand-up routine.
3. Before you’re called to do your audition, they put you through professional hair and makeup. “You’re looking along the walls at all the past cast members. It’s just hitting you, and you’re trying not to vomit,” Will Ferrell said as he reminisces his wait in the dressing room.
4. Should you impress the recruiters, you’ll get a call that will change your life forever.
And it all just makes you wonder: Will Zamata be just as respected for her position on SNL as her co-stars? In a sense, the public pushed SNL into a corner and demanded they hire black women. Zamata’s predecessors, on the other hand, were hired without a figurative gun to the head.
While Zamata seems qualified, SNL‘s atypical audition process discredits her as just the “affirmative action” pick — the girl chosen just to appease the diversity defenders.
“If it took a supplemental measure for her to make the team,” Wallenstein adds, “a nagging unanswered question is left looming over her: Did ‘SNL’ relax its strict standards for admission in fear of public pressure?”
Look at it this way: If you’ve been through hell and back to get into a Greek organization, you probably won’t take kindly to new recruits who get off easy. For the sake of solidarity and tradition, you want all your sorors to go through the same challenging recruitment process as yourself.
In this scenario, Zamata — and SNL‘s new Black writers LeKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones — are the “new sisters” who slipped through the cracks.
SNL should’ve stuck by their traditional hiring process. Scout the big comedy clubs, such as New York’s Upright Citizens Bridage (UCB) where Tina Fey was discovered, while zooming in on Black entertainers. And don’t tell that me there are no Black comedians at these venues because guess what? Zamata was part of the UCB troupe herself.
A few days ago, we happily reported Saturday Night Live hired their first black female cast member in five years. On January 18, Sasheer Zamata will premiere her comedy and acting skills on SNL, but of course before she does so, Don Lemon had to send a word of advice to her. While on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Lemon revealed how he felt about Zamata receiving her new position.
“Look for a Beyoncé spoof for sure, something Zamata says she’s good at, and you’ll probably see a wicked Michelle Obama impersonation. You can also look for a whole lot of scrutiny and criticism from some who are looking for an excuse to say she got her job to fill a quota because she’s black. That always happens from people who don’t understand the need for diversity and who don’t understand why it’s important to expand and enhance traditional recruiting methods to find diverse talent. That said, it probably won’t be easy for Zamata—who, in the glaring spotlight that’s about to be trained on her, is going to have to be a whole lot funnier than she is black.”
While his last statement regarding Zamata to be funnier than her race perplexes some, Lemon makes sense. Black women are complex when it comes to their concerns about their identity and how they would like to be portrayed in the mainstream. By being the only black woman on SNL, Zamata will need to learn how to balance the pressure from the African American community to take into account multiple layers and identities. Also, though humor varies among black women, most of us would rather laugh about certain social/race issues behind closed doors. With the humor SNL indulges in, do you think the producers will make Zamata perform controversial spoofs?
Listen to Don Lemon’s full view on the subject here. What do you think?