In 2008, sketch comedienne Nefetari Spencer got the call of a lifetime — the chance to audition for a spot on “Saturday Night Live.” Her experience feels especially relevant now that “Saturday Night Live” is under scrutiny for the lack of African-American women on its cast. Since the show started in 1975, that cast has included just four black women. The last, Maya Rudolph, left in 2007. On Saturday night, the show even wrote the controversy into a sketch in which Kerry Washington had to play both Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
Spencer talked to Salon about Saturday’s show, Kenan Thompson’s comments, and her experience as an African-American woman auditioning for one the most coveted spots in comedy.