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After hiring its first African-American female cast member in years, NBC’s long running sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live has added two new female writers, who are also African-American.
LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones were both discovered during special cast auditions this past winter. Although they didn’t make the cut to appear on camera, The Hollywood Reporter and E! News both reported that they will join the writer’s table.
Tookes and Jones auditioned for a slot in the cast when SNL chief Lorne Michaels held special auditions in New York and Los Angeles to find a new African-American female comedian to join the cast. Michaels dealt with criticism for not hiring a single new African-American comedian when he brought in six new actors for the show at the start of the current season.
On Monday, NBC announced that Sasheer Zamata would become a featured player. She is the first African-American woman on the show since Maya Rudolph left. She’ll make her first appearance on the Jan. 18 episode.
Jones is a veteran of the LA comedy circuit and appeared on The League and Sullivan & Son. She also wrote for Def Comedy Jam and 1st Amendment Stand Up.
Tookes performed at iO West and was once a Florida reporter.
Me and Lakendra got hired to SNL as writers!!! #awesomesauce
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) January 8, 2014