Photos: Courtesy of justleslie.com and theatrchick99.wix.com.
It's such a good week for comedy dreams. Just two days ago, Saturday Night Live announced it hired Sasheer Zamata — the first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph left studio 8H in 2007 — and now it's added two African-American ladies to its writing staff. Yes, three women of color in three days.
The Hollywood Reporter reports LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones were plucked from the not-so-secret auditions held last month after the show came under fire for its lack of diversity. The auditions ultimately led to Zamata's hire, and while Tookes and Jones apparently didn't make the final cut, they seemed to have impressed Lorne Michaels, the show's eminently hard-to-excite producer. Both will join the writers' room next week, just in time for Drake's Timberlake moment as host and musical act (super host, if you will).
Both are comedians and actresses with legit cred. Jones' had her own comedy special, Problem Child, on Showtime and boasts an IMDB page with a smattering of TV guest spots (most recently on The League). Meanwhile, Tookes is a former news reporter who performs with iO West, an improv and sketch-comedy theater in L.A. Maybe a little less illustrious, yes, but that just makes this that much more exciting.
For now, though, they'll remain behind the scenes, but crossing over is certainly a possibility. Jason Sudeikis did it. Then Mike O'Brien (of 7 Minutes in Heaven Internet fame) made the switch. And, then there was one Tina Fey who worked her way from the writers' room to the ersatz news desk and then on to the world. Yep, LaKendra, Leslie — we expect to be seeing you. And, soon. But, until then, we'll just listen (and laugh).