Comedian Punkie Johnson Becomes The First Openly Black Lesbian To Join The Cast of ‘Saturday Night Live’


September 30, 2020

We are rooting for everybody Black!

Comedian Punkie Johnson just became the first openly Black lesbian to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live (SNL),” Autostraddle reports.


Johnson is a writer and comedian who is a regular at the world-famous Comedy Store in Hollywood. She has credits on several shows, including Netflix’s “Space Force,” Comedy Central’s “Corporate” and “Bill Burr Presents: The Ringers,” as well as TruTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything.” She also had a guest-starring role in the hit HBO comedy series “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”

A New Orleans native, Johnson will become one of only 22 Black cast members to grace the SNL stage in the show’s 46 years. Of that group, only seven have been a Black woman; Yvonne Hudson (1980-1981), Danitra Vance (1985-1986), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-1995), Maya Rudolph (2000-2007), Leslie Jones (2014-2019), Sasheer Zamata (2014-2017), and Ego Nwodim (2018 – present). 

Vance was the first Black lesbian to join the cast back in 1985; however, her sexual orientation wasn’t made public until after her death from breast cancer in 1994. Johnson stands on her shoulders, joining the ranks during a pivotal season for the sketch show, which is just returning to live tapings amidst the coronavirus pandemic, in front of a limited, socially distanced studio audience inside Rockefeller Center in New York. Nwodim was recently promoted to a primary cast member, and comedic icon Jim Carrey will be joining the show to play Presidential candidate Joe Biden. 


Johnson reposted a tweet from SNL, welcoming her to the cast but has yet to release an official statement. 

We can’t wait to see what you add to this show’s legacy!


Photo Courtesy of Laugh Factory/YouTube

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