Saturday Night Live announced its new cast members today (Vanessa Bayer, Paul Brittain, Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah), a new class which once again lacks any semblance of a black woman (guess they’ll be recruiting Maya Rudolph for Michelle Obama once again). Not returning for the thirty-sixth season will be Jenny Slate, whose most famous contribution to the show was uttering “fuck” live on the air. This marks the second year in a row that the actress playing Hoda Kotb in the Today Show parodies has been axed after only one season on SNL. The previous (and far superior) Hoda portrayer was Michaela Watkins, whose early termination still bothers me (when I ran into her at a Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles once, I told her as much, and she was very sympathetic and friendly to me. Then again, I think she just wanted to get past me to some squash).
Of course, Jenny Slate’s departure doesn’t irk me nearly as much as Michaela’s Watkins’, mostly because Slate never quite got her sea-legs on SNL (a.k.a she wasn’t that funny). Her exit does, however, raise some serious questions. Can anyone play Hoda without getting fired? And will anyone want to now that the role seems to be cursed? And if no one plays Hoda, how will we get the Hoda and Kathy Lee skits that we so desperately need? This is a serious matter.