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Natasha Rothwell says her brief time in SNL's writers' room negatively influenced how she carried herself

  • Rothwell was part of the Black female casting call in the 2013-2014 season that resulted in Saturday Night Live hiring Sasheer Zamata as a cast member, Leslie Jones as a writer and Seth Meyers tapping Amber Ruffin as a Late Night writer. Rothwell, the Insecure and The White Lotus breakout star, was offered a job in SNL's writers' room after the casting call. “I didn’t want folks to think I got in to satisfy a requirement,” Rothwell recalls to the Los Angeles Times. “I wanted to show that I belonged. I wanted to be at the table at SNL and I wanted them to think, ‘F—, she’s funny. I like what she has to say. And I see her and, oh, that joke is great.’ That’s a lot to carry. And I think that’s also an expression of privilege for white writers: They don’t know what it’s like to walk into a room and feel like the audition is not over. I didn’t feel seen, always. Putting my hand up was me wanting to know if my voice could be heard. It was Pavlovian for me.” Insecure showrunner Prentice Penny adds of Rothwell, who was first hired as a writer: “I remember saying, ‘Girl, you don’t have to raise your hand like that. Why do you keep raising your hand? Just say it.' And she’s like, ‘Well, because at my last show, I wasn’t allowed to speak. I had to kind of ask, ‘Can I speak?’ That broke our heart in the room to hear that. The idea that anybody would try to f— squash her talent or try to keep her brilliance under a lampshade — like, can you imagine?”

    TOPICS: Natasha Rothwell, NBC, Saturday Night Live