Bronx Comedy Duo Rips 'Saturday Night Live' for Lack of Latinas
BRONX — A comedy duo is taking a shot at "Saturday Night Live" for its lack of Latina cast members.
The sketch group Comedy Girls, which is made up of Bronxites Jenni Ruiza and Jesenia, released a video on YouTube on March 13 called "Latino Stereotypes for DUMMIES (SNL = Still No Latinas)" where the pair urges "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels to start hiring Latinas for the show.
"We'd love to commend you for hiring three black female comedians to your cast and writers crew — after being blasted out by the media — but unfortunately, that didn't do anything for us Latina comedians," Ruiza says in the video.
Earlier this year, Chicago-based comedy duo Wendy Mateo and Lori Diaz, also known as "Dominizuelan" fired off a salvo against the show. And in November 2013, the show drew fire from Latino Groups such as the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.
The show has never had a Latina cast member, according to NPR and Ruiza and Jesenia, who host an online radio show and do standup and sketch comedy.
Earlier this year, the show hired Sasheer Zamata as the show's lone female black cast member after Maya Rudolph left in 2007. The show also hired writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones. The moves came amid public pressure for the show to increase its diversity.
However, Ruiza and Jesenia believe the show still needs to improve.
"They’re based out of New York," Ruiza said. "You would think that you would see a little bit of what New York looks like."
The Comedy Girls decided to make the "Latino Stereotypes for DUMMIES" video following a sketch on the March 8 episode of SNL called "Jewelry Party," where cast member Cecily Strong played a Venezuelan character that Jesenia described as "clueless."
"That was kind of like the icing on the cake for us," Jesenia said. "And we said, OK, damn it, we've got to say something."
The video contains a sequence of Ruiza and Jesenia playing stereotypical Latino roles that they say are all based on characters featured on SNL. It is meant to be informative rather than aggressive, according to Jesenia.
SNL did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Ruiza and Jesenia said they emailed the diversity staff members at NBC but have not gotten a response.
Both comedians said there is no shortage of talented Latina comedians.
"There's really no reason why not," said Jesenia. "There are many talented Latina women who do comedy."
The pair say "Latino Stereotypes for DUMMIES" made their main points, so they do not see the need to make a follow-up. Going forward, the comedians plan to focus on their sketches.
"We're more so just putting our money where our mouth is now and showing this is what we can do," Ruiza said.