Quinta Brunson playfully calls out Friends for having no Black characters in SNL monologue
Quinta Brunson took aim at Friends over it’s lack of diversity while hosting SNL.
The Emmy Award-winning Abbott Elementary creator, who also stars in the sitcom, was the latest star to present the US sketch show.
During her opening monologue on Saturday (1 April), Brunson addressed the success of her series, which is focused on a group of teachers at a poorly funded predominantly Black school in Philadelphia.
“I wanted to be on SNL back in the day but the audition process seemed long – so instead, I just created my own TV show, made sure it became really popular, won a bunch of Emmys and then got asked to host,” she quipped, adding: “So much easier, so much easier.”
Bunson then described Abbott Elementary by comparing it to 1990s sitcom Friends, stating: “It’s a network sitcom like, say, Friends. Except, instead of being about a group of friends, it’s about a group of teachers. Instead of New York, it’s in Philadelphia and instead of not having Black people, it does.”
The crowd cheered Brunson’s comment as the multi-talented star playfully smiled.
Friends has come under fire in recent years for only featuring non-white actors in significantly smaller roles.
Co-creator Marta Kauffman acknowleged the criticism in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, saying: “It took me a long time to begin to understand how I internalised systemic racism.”
As a consequence, Kauffman donated $4m (£3.2m) to fund an endowed chair for the African and African American studies department at the university she went to, Brandeis.
Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe in the series, seemingly defended Kaufman and her co-creator David Crane, telling The Daily Beast: “Well, I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college. They have no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of colour.”
Earlier this week, Rachel star Jennifer Aniston said there is “a whole generation of kids” who now find Friends “offensive”.
Elsewhere on SNL, James Austin Johnson returned as Donald Trump to skewer the former president days after he was indicted on charges of falsifying business records.
Meanwhile, Colin Jost fell victim to an “evil” prank pulled by his Weekend Update co-host Michael Che, which Jost branded “the meanest thing” Che has “ever done”.