Kenan Thompson reflects once again on the time his statements about Black women comedians were taken out of context.
Thompson, the star of his eponymous sitcom on NBC, talked about his 2013 partial quote that Saturday Night Live‘s casting team “never find [Black women comedians] that are ready” with Jemele Hill on her podcast, Jemele Hill Is Unbothered.
“I was answering based on the knowledge that I had and however it was written was not what I said,” he said, according to Yahoo! Entertainment. “…What it was taken as is, ‘Oh, you don’t think Black women are funny.’ And that’s egregious. Why would I bring my sisters down like that? My queens. Why would I ever do something so crazy and drastic, like, just coming out my mouth, saying that Black women are not funny?”
He said that he now resents when he is asked questions about Black comedians instead of those questions being posed to the powers that be that can hire more diverse cast members. In his case, the question and his answer caused him to get his feelings hurt and to be judged unfairly by others.
“People twisted my words up or whatever,” he said, recounting when Leslie Jones joined the cast the next year. He said that she asked him if he said what he said about Black women in comedy, and he said, “No.”
“…[W]ithin two seconds, we [were], like kicking it and just having fun laughing,” he said. “Every day we would kick it and hang out and laugh.” He added that Jones “just became my sister.”
“She knew that’s not my heart and, unfortunately, that whole message got twisted, but the outcome is she ended up getting on the show and she did a great job,” he said. “And now the world knows on a bigger scale how great she is.”
Thompson’s new sitcom Kenan airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT on NBC.