Quinta Brunson, the talented producer, writer, and actress behind the award-winning series Abbott Elementary, recently used her platform as the host of Saturday Night Live to shed light on the lack of diversity in the iconic ’90s series Friends.
During her moment in the spotlight, Brunson didn’t miss the opportunity to highlight her own comedy series, Abbott Elementary. The show explores the lives of teachers in a predominantly Black, state-funded elementary school in Philadelphia. In contrast, Friends lacked representation.
In her comedic monologue, Brunson shared her journey to hosting SNL and humorously compared it to creating her own TV show. She said, “I wanted to be on SNL back in the day, but the audition process seemed long – so instead, I just created my own TV show, made sure it became really popular, won a bunch of Emmys, and then got asked to host. So much easier, so much easier.”
The audience cheered, and Brunson continued, “It’s a network sitcom like, say, Friends. Except, instead of being about a group of friends, it’s about a group of teachers. Instead of New York, it’s in Philadelphia, and instead of not having Black people, it does.”
Her playful yet impactful commentary struck a chord, bringing attention to the ongoing criticism of Friends for its lack of representation for non-white and LGBTQIA+ characters.
One of the creators of Friends, Marta Kauffman, expressed her embarrassment in 2022 over the show’s lack of diversity. In response, she pledged $4 million to Brandeis University to support its African and African American studies department. Kauffman acknowledged her previous lack of awareness and expressed her commitment to becoming an ally and anti-racist. Her effort and donation were widely appreciated, emphasizing the need for change in the industry.
Quinta Brunson’s call for diversity in entertainment and Marta Kauffman’s reflective actions represent significant steps towards fostering inclusive representation. These conversations and initiatives highlight the importance of diverse storytelling in shaping a more equitable and inclusive landscape.
Check out Quinta Brunson’s SNL Monologue .