Yes, when Saturday Night Live added Sasheer Zamata to its cast and LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones to its writing staff, we were thrilled. Progress! One step forward! Funnier skits!
Like a Paula Abdul song, however, it seems SNL is always one step forward, two steps back. The diversity-challenged sketch show showcased its weakness in its decision to cast Nasim Pedrad as Bobby Jindal. Pedrad’s Jindal shows up adorned in glow necklaces after popping molly in a pretty-unfunny skit about the GOP addressing the Coachella crowd.
It’s not as bad as that one time when SNL had Pedrad show up in brownface to impersonate Aziz Ansari. Well, actually, I don’t know which is worse because SNL’s Jindal otherwise looks Caucasian and bears no real resemblance to the governor. Spoiler alert: The real Bobby Jindal is unmistakably Indian! It makes you wonder if perhaps they could’ve paged a comedienne like Aparna Nancherla to spoof Jindal.
Have a look at the skit below and judge for yourselves.
It’s not just us at The Aerogram who are eyerolling so hard that our pupils are going to pop out of our skulls and bounce off the walls. Viewers on Twitter were left wondering why a decidedly non-Indian-looking woman was picked to spoof Jindal.
— Allen Lasko (@arlasko) April 13, 2014
Oh the weirdness of Bobby Jindal being portrayed on SNL by Nasim Pedrad…
— Xavier (@Xhaedon) April 13, 2014
And finally, you can’t help but wonder if SNL writers are now doing to Pedrad what they had been doing to their black comedians in the past: Trotting her out in drag to fulfill the role of any male brown character.
If Lorne Michaels needs help drafting in South Asian talent to add to his SNL roster, he can consult this handy guide of 6 South Asian comics we’d like to see on the show.