This summer, SNL lost Sasheer Zamata, their first female black cast member in almost 10 years, amid curiously small fanfare (definitely not the same reception Vanessa Byer and Bobby Moniyhan got after their tenures ended on the show). Some would argue Sasheer was underutilized. Some said that the circumstances she was recruited under (public backlash over their lack of Black female cast members pushed SNL to hire her and Leslie Jones as a writer) set her up with nearly impossible standards. With her departure SNL drops down to three Black cast members- and since Michael Che does Weekend Update, that only leaves Leslie Jones and Kenan Thompson to hold down the fort during showtime on the world’s preeminent sketch comedy show. While immensely hilarious, both black cast members are over 35, leaving the show without the youthful energy Jay Pharoah and Zamata brought to SNL. If only there was a pool of talented young, black comedians who have proven they can write sketches, kill scenes, and provide punchline after relevant punchline.
Enter All Def Digital, a hub bursting with talented black comedians, writers, and producers.
All Def Digital was launched in 2013 as Russell Simmons’ millennial edition of Def Comedy Jam, the platform that launched careers like Dave Chappelle, Chris Tucker, and Bernie Mac. A response to the lily white comedy of Buzzfeed, All Def Digital currently produces the funniest comedians the urban comedy world has to offer. Any one of these brilliant minds would be the injection of youth SNL needs. But since this is Comedy Hype, I’ll single out three sketches for Lorne Michaels to keep an eye out for.
For the First Time: When Buzzfeed got a little too corny with their culturally relevant content, ADD developed the For the First Time series, which pairs their best comedians experiencing things for the first time. It ranges from food (Comedians Try African Food for the First Time) to activities (Black People Go Camping for the First Time) to watching TV (Black People Watch Friends for the First Time). Exploring cultural differences are always better when there’s skilled comedians guiding you through it. PS: Read the comments to see who’s the most offended during every episode.
Teddy Ray Vs DoBoy. Too often in comedy the fat comedian are pigeonholed to a rigid performance sphere. They are either the sidekick or the bumbling idiot. Rarely are they allowed to be witty stars of their own vehicles. Enter the brilliant duo of Teddy Ray and DoBoy, who have their own series on ADD. Throughout their episodes, the friends engage in several challenges, from speed dating to making a song. Comedian DoBoy possesses immense charisma and lyrical bars, and Teddy Ray’s West LA -accented dry, searing one-liners proves he’s one of the most talented comedic talents ADD posses and he needs to be on someone’s screen soon.
Great Taste. This series is a little newer but is in contention for being another great platform for ADD’s talent. You know those heated arguments you have with your friends over where to eat? These comedians, including favorites Tahir Moore, KevonStage and Megscoop, try to settle the debate once and for all.
Now it might be wishful thinking that SNL recognize the talent ADD possesses. They haven’t had the best track record with nurturing and recognizing its most talented Black cast members. But these performers are so talented they deserve to be on the comedy main stage. Let’s hope they get there soon.