Saturday Night Live: Where are the Latinos?

Saturday Night Live: Where are the Latinos?
SNL40 screenshot by TPuente

I grew up watching Saturday Night Live and along with millions of others was eager to see the 40th anniversary show.

I laughed at Emma Stone’s homage to Gilda Radner. As a kid I used to say it along with Radner, "Roseanne Rosannadanna!"

I smiled at Wayne’s World. Party on!

I loved the Weekend Update and the musical tribute led by Martin Short and Maya Rudolph as Beyoncé.

But there was something missing - Latinos.

The legendary Steve Martin hit on it.

"Tonight's like a giant high school reunion - a high school that is almost all white,” Martin said.

The crowd laughed and SNL made fun of its poor record in hiring black comedians, especially black women.

They even brought back Eddie Murphy, who strangely didn’t even crack a joke.

But where have been the Latino actors on SNL?

Ok Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen have Latino roots.

But in 40 years that’s the best Lorne Michaels can do?

Where are the Latina women? Latino men?

You can’t say Latinos aren’t funny. We have comedic legends George Lopez, Freddie Prinze, and Mexico’s funniest star ever Cantinflas.

After SNL faced criticism for not having African American women cast members, they hired two.

Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population and buy 25 percent of all U.S. movie tickets. Latinos have buying power.

But they have less than 5 percent of speaking roles in films, according to a USC study.

They are small but growing numbers of Latinos on television, and some new shows such as Jane the Virgin and Cristela have Latinas in the leads. And there are Latino characters in shows such as Brooklyn Nine Nine, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

So as SNL moves into its 41st year it would be great if they could cast some Latino and Latina comedians and start to really reflect America.

I have friends of Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban heritage who grew up watching this show.

We would welcome a chance to laugh at characters that look like us.

 

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