There’s been a lot of talk regarding Saturday Night Live and its lack of diversity, and more specifically, the lack of a black female cast member over the last several weeks. This issue brought a lot of attention to this week’s episode of NBC’s late night sketch comedy series, featuring African American actress Kerry Washington. The buzz surrounding her appearance on the show certainly ended up manifesting in this week’s ratings. Saturday night’s episode pulled in a 2.6 rating in the 18-49 advertising demo at the network and and the best overall viewership of the season.

Deadline first reported the news, noting that while the show did not quite manage to beat Cyrus’ episode in the demo, it still dominated. While SNL is only five episodes and a Halloween special into Season 39, last night’s ratings mean more people tuned into to see how Washington fared than they did for Bruce Willis’ first appearance since 1989. Additionally, the outlet is noting that the show featured the best ratings SNL has had in overall viewers since Justin Timberlake popped up on the show last March.

Sure, news outlets have been hot and bothered about SNL’s lack of an African American female cast member since Kenan Thompson was directly questioned about his viewpoint on the topic a few weeks ago. The comedian fumbled a little bit when questioned, noting that in auditions SNL hasn't recently found African American women who are ready to take on the role. Soon after, Washington’s appearance was announced, leading critics of the show to tie Washington’s appearance with Thompson’s comments. A lot of people knew Washington would be on the show last night, and a lot of people tuned in.

Still, I don’t think the talent involved with last night’s episode should be discounted. Eminem was the musical guest, and he’s been busy shedding light on his upcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, over the last several months. Additionally, Washington’s hit TV series, Scandal, has continued to do well over at ABC during Season 3. The actress’ profile has been rising exponentially over the last several years, and I’m not shocked to see people might want to tune in and see what the dramatic actress could do with comedy.

If you did happen to miss last night’s episode of SNL, the show did manage to address the recent controversy with a little comedy. You can catch some of those sorts of jokes, here. Or, if you are looking for some goofier humor, like a spoof of “What Does the Fox Say,” you can catch it, below.

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