Why do I need to keep writing about this BS? A few months ago, there was a huge stink over a LaJolla Playhosue production with Chinese characters in a story set in China â€“ and all the lead roles were cast with Caucasian actors. The same just happened at the Royal Shakespeare Company. I have watched panels and watchdog groups pull up their big boy/big girl pants and wagged their tongues at them, which they should. Iâ€™ve seen actors of Asian descent, who work regularl, by the way, get distraught in public, banging their heads against the wall as to why this keeps happening.
Frankly, Iâ€™m tired of it — both the offense and having to be offended. I told my friend Becca, why canâ€™t we just accept, yes, itâ€™s racist and then move on? Generate our own work? Be thankful we can produce our own work, understand that being an actor is tough for everyone, and choose the attitude that best serves you? And she reminded me, you canâ€™t just let it go, because then theaters and directors think itâ€™s okay.
But then a few days ago, I just watched SNL with Christina Applegate do a sketch on iphone factory workers, all Chinese, played by actors with black wigs and Asian accents, and I canâ€™t find one piece of criticism for this? Seriously? Am I the only one who watches SNL? All the coverage for this skit discussed how the wit was cutting toward Americans, and the content was NOT racist, butâ€¦.dude? STOP CASTING WHITE PEOPLE AS ASIANS! It is really annoying! Iâ€™m saying donâ€™t write about Asians, Iâ€™m saying HIRE SOME DAMN ASIANS ALREADY.
Here is one sample article that talked about the tech aspects of the sketch, and not the blatant fact that there are no Asian actors on stage. No one has noted the casting, and you know why? Because no one has noticed. People do not even see it. THAT is disturbing to me.
A common casting director complaint is that they try to cast Asians but can never find any, to which many Asian actors respond “take my iphone! Here’s a thousand right here!” That exchange is common and I think it’s because there is still segregation in our society. The SNL is particularly hard because they get the majority of their cast members from the UCB system in L.A. or New York, and Second City in Chicago. These are improv schools that gives the training that translates well to sketch comedy. You have to go through like 10 classes and get on a team, and basically, you need to get obsessed, and I do not see any Asians in that route.
Still, as offensive as white people playing Asians is to me, I think Latinos have it worse.
The sketch is here. It’s pretty good, well-written. But these are jobs, people! SNL players make six figures easily! I know lots of Asians actors who would swallow their pride, put on an dumb accent for that dough.