Despite his status as a former Nickelodeon star and 10-year “Saturday Night Live” veteran, Kenan Thompson has never been one to grab news headlines, so it was surprising when he spoke up about SNL’s lack of black female cast members. Unlike Jay Pharoah’s more incendiary call for SNL to “pay attention” to the issue a few weeks prior, Thompson’s contribution to the debate was sparse and seemingly reluctant, and his remark that the show “never finds [black women] that are ready” in auditions… did not go over well.
The few times Kenan does make the rounds on the internet, though, I always notice a bigger problem: Those backlashers, and even top-shelf TV beat writers, can’t be bothered to get his first name.
Oh, we’ve all done it. I don’t mean to nitpick or fuss, because the “Keenan Thompson” problem is not a typo or mistake but a much bigger blogger contagion. Could it be that Kenan is just so irregularly mentioned in the press, such a low-profile yet consistently present star, that he’s almost invisible? What would Ralph Ellison say?
Thompson’s refusal to portray black female characters this season played out perfectly in Kerry Washington’s SNL cold open last Saturday, and if nothing else, Washington’s hurried switch from Michelle Obama to Oprah to Beyoncé (and asking Pharoah, baffled: “Kenan won’t…?”) shows one thing: Reactionary bloggers, especially those from reputable blogs, should judge Kenan by his actions and not his words, and if they want to judge him at all, they should start by spelling his damn name right.
Perhaps you think I’m overreacting. Okay! For starters, barely used Twitter account @KeenanThompson has more followers than the barely used @OfficialKenan Twitter account. And for the rest of it… well, here goes, in reverse alphabetical order.
New York Times
New York Observer
New York magazine
Los Angeles Times
The Daily What
The Daily Beast
The AV Club
The Atlantic Wire