Two African American Women Join SNL Writing Staff

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saturday Night Live has announced that they have added two new African-American women to its writing staff.

Staffers discovered funny ladies LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones during recent New York and LA auditions for the long running sketch comedy show. They will begin their writing duties on Monday, January 12th.

The news follows the recent announcement that Upright Citizens Brigade alum Sasheer Zamata had been hired to join the cast beginning January 18th. Producer Lorne Michaels has recently come under fire for his lack of diversity on the show, particularly with the inclusion of African American women.

Jones is a stand-up actress-comedian who was among the finalists to fill the new cast member slot. She has appeared at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, has had had guest starring roles in The League and Sullivan & Son. In addition she has written and appeared on Def Comedy Jam and 1st Amendment Stand Up and has performed at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal as well as the Aspen Comedy Festival. In 2011, Showtime aired her comedy special Problem Child.

Actress-comedian Tookes was a former news reporter from Florida who has performed at iO West. Sample her talent here!

About SNL:

"Saturday Night Live," NBC's Emmy Award-winning late-night comedy showcase, enters its 39th season in September for another year of laughs, surprises and great performances.

Since its inception in 1975, "SNL" has launched the careers of many of the brightest comedy performers of their generation. As The New York Times noted on the occasion of the show's Emmy-winning 25th Anniversary special in 1999, "in Defiance of both time and show business convention, 'SNL' is still the most pervasive influence on the art of comedy in contemporary culture." At the close of the century, "Saturday Night Live" placed seventh on Entertainment Weekly's list of the Top 100 Entertainers of the past fifty years.

The program has won 40 Emmy Awards and now holds the title for the most nominated television show in Emmy HISTORY with 156 nominations. "SNL" has been honored twice, in 1990 and 2009, with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award and cited as "truly a national institution." "Saturday Night Live" was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame by the National Association of Broadcasters, and the show continues to garner the highest ratings of any late-night television program, entertaining millions each week.

"SNL" sketches still bear repeating on Monday mornings. With live show surprises, especially those timed to the election - from Barack Obama's surprise walk-on, Hillary Clinton's performance opposite Amy Poehler and Senator John McCain's "Weekend Update" appearance - "SNL" is making headlines and influencing the political dialogue while skewering it at the same time. Beyond politics, the show's cast of recurring characters and its take on pop culture targets remain spot-on. The addition of the show's Emmy Award-winning SNL Digital Shorts continues to keep the show as current today as it was when it debuted.

"Saturday Night Live," which premiered October 11, 1975, is broadcast live from NBC's famed Studio 8H in New York City's Rockefeller Center. The program is a production of Broadway Video in association with SNL Studios. Lorne Michaels is the executive producer.

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