Saturday Night Live has once again offended a whole demographic. The fact that SNL would offend its audience is not a surprise as they usually push the envelope with their sketches, but this seems to be a new era for producer Lorne Michaels and Co.
Earlier in the year after receiving enormous backlash for not hiring an African American female comedian, Lorne held impromptu auditions in the middle of the season. When SNL returned after a brief hiatus, we had a new cast member, Sasheer Zamata join the cast as the show’s resident African American female comedian.
Now, it looks like SNL may have to hold another set of auditions after receiving another wave of backlash for a recent sketch targeting Latinas. Members of the community have started a trending Twitter hashtag called #StillNoLatinas in an effort to hire Latina writers and actresses. This hashtag was put into full force after a March 8 sketch that featured Cecily Strong impersonating a Latina that sounded more like an overblown impression of Sofia Vergara than anything else. The character that was portrayed was obviously Latina but her ethnicity was used as a punch line and nothing else.
During the sketch Cecily, who is not Latina, spoke in a thick Venezuelan accent, and played a dumb as bricks Latina. The worst offense in the sketch was the not-so-subtle reference that Strong was playing a “mail-order” girlfriend:
“He was so persistent, and so I yet him bring me to USA!”
Since its 38 season history Saturday Night Live has only hired one Latina cast member. According to Noël Wells IMDB she’s “a quarter Hispanic.” That said it should be noted that SNL has hired Latinos who have been very successful on the show like Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen.
In an attempt to gain the attention of Lorne Michaels, Latina comedians of The Comedy Girls, Jenni Ruiza and Jesenia decided to make a sketch called “Latino Stereotypes for DUMMIES.” In the sketch the two sing to Michaels, “Ebony and ivory are the only two races on ‘Saturday Night Live’ on NBC. How about putting Latinas on your show, Lorne Michaels, please.”
That said, Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara really doesn’t see the harm in stereotypes. The actress who is the highest paid on primetime television said in an interview with The Wrap:
“I am Gloria, my mother is Gloria, my aunts are Gloria. I mean, it’s not like I’m putting on a fake bra with big prosthetics, you know. It might be a stereotype, but I think the character is fantastic. She’s colorful, she’s honest, she’s out there, she cares about people. She’s loud, but I am loud. She’s crazy, but I am crazy. It’s not a problem.”
Do you think Lorne Michaels needs to hire Latina talent?