Quinta Brunson has fans going to bat for “Living Single” after she called out “Friends” for its lack of diversity during her hosting debut on “Saturday Night Live” last night (April 1). As far as the former Buzzfeed writer’s fans are concerned, she simply stated facts that even the latter show’s co-creator Marta Kauffman has acknowledged in recent years.
Brunson kicked off her opening monologue by acknowledging how excited she was to finally make her way to NBC’s famed Studio 8H. “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,” she joked.
At the 2022 Emmys, “Abbott Elementary” won Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who plays Barbara Howard, won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. The show and its cast continued their winning streak while taking home trophies from multiple awards shows. Brunson has long stated that the half-hour program was inspired by her growing up and attending public school in Philadelphia, as well as her mother, who was a teacher.
In her monologue, she went on to segue into an introduction of her hit show for those who have managed to miss out on the must-see series that is heralded by critics as a refreshing take on comedic sitcoms. “It’s kind of unique… it’s a network sitcom like, say, ‘Friends,’” said Brunson before pointing out some of the obvious differences between the two shows. She continued, “Except instead of being about a group of friends, it’s about a group of teachers. And instead of New York, it’s in Philadelphia. And instead of not having Black people, it does.”
Last year, Kauffman addressed some of the criticism “Friends” has faced for not having Black cast members. “Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know better 25 years ago.” The show, which had 10 seasons, has also been scrutinized for ripping off its blueprint from “Living Single.”
Actor T.C. Carson, who played Kyle Barker on the aforementioned show, agreed that the similarities between the shows were obvious. “It was typical. It wasn’t anything that was unusual,” he said in a 2020 interview. “What I didn’t like was that I knew Yvette [Lee Bowser] created the show, and they took that and created another one. I don’t think she got credit for that.”
Peep how “Living Single” fans swarmed to defend the series following Brunson’s “SNL” remarks.