Quinta Brunson fans rally behind star after roasting Friends’ lack of diversity on SNL: ‘Facts!’

Quinta Brunson SNL

Abbott Elementary star and creator Quinta Brunson used her first Saturday Night Live hosting gig to poke fun at the lack of diversity in classic sitcom Friends.

The Emmy-winning actor made her highly-anticipated debut hosting the long-running comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live (SNL) on Saturday, 1 April.

Between the countless laughs provided by Brunson during her episode-opening monologue, iconic sitcom Friends also found itself onto the chopping block.

Comparing ABC’s Abbott Elementary (a mockumentary following Brunson as second grade teacher Janine) to Friends, the comedian made a simple but effective joke about the lack of diversity in the famous sitcom’s cast.

“I have a show called ‘Abbott Elementary’. It’s a network sitcom like ‘Friends’. Except instead it’s about a group of teachers, and instead of not having Black people, it does,” Brunson said.

Friends, despite being a much-loved sitcom, has come under fire for “not aging well”, according to its past stars and fans.

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Kathleen Turner, who played Chandler’s parent, slammed the show in 2018 for exactly that reason, and more recently added that she “doesn’t regret” playing the trans character (who performed as drag queen Helena Handbasket).

Aside from that, regular instances of fat-shaming, homophobia and aforementioned lack of Black characters are regular accusations levelled at the show. Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe on the show, previously said it should be looked at “as a time capsule“.

Many fans have praised Brunson’s monologue for highlighting the show’s all-white cast, which is especially striking given it’s set in New York, an incredibly diverse city.

Other fans are jumping to Brunson’s defence, pointing out how the show has been criticised for copying its blueprint from beloved 90s sitcom Living Single.

Abbott Elementary follows the lives and careers of teachers working at a school that is woefully underfunded and mismanaged.

Elsewhere in her monologue, Quinta Brunson chose to address the underfunding crisis in US schools in one of the monologue’s more sobering moments, following jokes about how the American public now expect her to solve the problems of the country’s schooling system.

“Please, remember how important teachers are. Acknowledge the work they do every day, and for the love of God, pay them the money they deserve,” she said.

Brunson’s SNL gig also featured several sketches, including the comedian as a balding and inappropriate corporate boss, a nurse having a fight with a midwife, a bridesmaid in a ‘cult-like’ wedding and in other cast member’s segments like Colin Jost’s ‘Weekend Update’.

A particular highlight for fans was the ‘Traffic Altercation’ segment, in which Brunson and Mikey Day engage in a heated argument via charades.

“What can’t she do folks?!” wrote the official Hulu Twitter account, in response to Brunson tweeting: “I had the time of my life last night. #SNL. And thank you guys for watching!”

Brunson’s fans have responded enthusiastically to tweet, congratulating the comedian on the role and on her career trajectory more broadly.

“Your skits kept me happy this weekend. Loved them so much and you were great!” wrote one Twitter user, with another adding: “This career trajectory is just impeccable! I was watching her on Buzzfeed and now here she is.”

Another fan replied: “Must have truly been a dream – congrats on this career highlight, what a year!!”

Abbott Elementary‘s second season, starring Quinta Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tyler James Williams is currently airing on network ABC. It has won Golden Globes, Emmy and Critics’ Choice awards.

Brunson’s SNL sketches are available to watch on the Saturday Night Live YouTube channel. For UK viewers, episodes are also broadcast on Sky Comedy on Sunday evenings at 9pm.