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NPR Arts & Life

Which Comedians Of Color Should Be Late-Night TV Stars?

Lots of readers said that the comedian Aisha Tyler should get her own late-night talk show
Lots of readers said that the comedian Aisha Tyler should get her own late-night talk show

It's an old story: The straightest and surest path to becoming a big-time comedy star is by becoming a cast member or writer on Saturday Night Live. That was proved true again this week when Seth Meyers, SNL's head writer, was tapped to be the new host of NBC's Late Night, the show currently hosted by Jimmy Fallon ( SNL cast member, 1998-2004), who took over that gig from Conan O'Brien ( SNL writer, 1988-1991). Tina Fey ( SNL cast member and writer, 1997-2006) just put a bow on her long-run NBC comedy, 30 Rock while Amy Poehler ( SNL cast member, 2001-2008) just wrapped up the fifth season of her critically acclaimed sitcom, Parks and Recreation.

The TV comedy landscape is dotted with SNL alums. Most of them are white people.

There have been some very notable SNL alums who were people of color — original cast member Garrett Morris, and then later Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Tracy Morgan, as well as longtime cast members like Tim Meadows — but America's most prominent comedy institution has remained very, very white. ( In a 2011 interview with Mark Maron, Rock discussed how being the only black cast member on SNL prompted him to bounce to In Living Color. He said that his friend Wanda Sykes was hired to do a sketch comedy show, and he warned her: "Wanda, all they're going to want you to do is things involving race and impressions of famous black people.")

So we threw out a question to the Code Switchers on Facebook and Twitter: If you could name any up-and-coming comics of color to join the SNL cast or to host a daily late-night comedy show, who would you pick?

Here's what they told us.

Tell us who'd you'd like to see.

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