Live from New York, it’s a new set of diverse actors and writers. Saturday Night Live just announced new additions to its upcoming 44th season. Comedian Ego Nwodim will officially join SNL as a new featured player. Nwodim has appeared in a series of guest-starring roles on CBS’s 2 Broke Girls and NBC’s Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders. She also starred in science-fiction film Singularity and TV series Galactic War Room.
Along with Nwodim, the sketch comedy institution has added Bowen Yang, Alan Linic, Alison Gates, and Eli Mandel as writers. Yang is a film actor and writer who has written for Vulture, but many will recall that Yang gained viral status for his hilarious Twitter lip-sync impressions of Erin Brockovich, Miranda Priestly, Cristina Yang, and more.
As Deadline notes, Nwodim is a regular cast member at the influential Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles, which was co-founded by SNL alum Amy Poehler and other alums of the original Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe. Additionally, regular players Melissa Villaseñor, Mikey Day, and Alex Moffat will now be full members of the SNL cast.
Created and produced by Lorne Michaels, the sketch comedy series has come under fire in the past for its lack of diversity. In 2013, the show acknowledged its diversity problem in host Kerry Washington’s opening sketch; the Scandal actress performed as multiple black women, such as Oprah and Michelle Obama. But not everyone was amused with the lackluster acknowledgment. Gothamist wrote of the sketch:
It certainly seems like the series is taking active strides for a more diverse cast and writers’ room. SNL is set to return on September 29th with host Adam Driver and musical guest Kanye West.