Quinta Brunson debuted on “Saturday Night Live,” bringing her brand of comedy to studio 8H as the sketch show returned from a month-long hiatus.
Brunson is the creator and star of the hit ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary” and recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.
“Abbott Elementary” has found success in finding comedy in the struggles of an underfunded public school system and the hard-working teachers who are trying to provide quality education with limited resources.
During her monologue, Brunson joked about how her show has made network sitcoms cool again by featuring a group of teachers in Philadelphia and prominently showcasing Black characters rather than the typical group of friends in New York.
Brunson took a dig at Friends by saying, “It’s a network sitcom like, say, Friends, except instead of being about a group of friends, it’s about a group of teachers. “Instead of New York, it’s in Philadelphia, and instead of not having black people, it does!”
Brunson’s work has consistently supported teachers, and she used her “SNL” appearance to remind audiences of their vital work and the need for more support and fair pay.
During its heyday, Friends reigned as the world’s most famous comedy, attracting millions of viewers who etched every moment into their memories, with some even capable of reciting every episode from memory.
However, in recent years, the show has faced criticism for some of its outdated jokes and problematic representation, prompting its creators to express regret. As younger fans have grown up, they have called out certain characters’ reprehensible behavior.
'I have a show called "Abbott Elementary," like say "Friends." Instead of New York, it's in Philadelphia. And instead of not having Black people, it does!' – Quinta Brunson's opening monologue on #SNL pic.twitter.com/bvHEEp985I— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 2, 2023
Jennifer Aniston said that Today Generation Find Friends is Offensive
Aniston specifically mentioned Friends, noting that a new audience has found certain aspects of the show offensive due to its handling of sensitive subjects. “There’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of ‘Friends’ and find them offensive.”
While Aniston acknowledged that much of the humor in the show was never meant to be offensive, she believes that more thought should have been put into some aspects. Aniston said, “There were things that were never intentional and others… well, we should have thought it through — but I don’t think there was a sensitivity like there is now.”
Marta Kauffman was embarrassed over the Lack of Diversity in Friends.
The show’s creator, Marta Kauffman, also acknowledged these concerns, citing a lack of understanding of these societal concepts and a different approach to exaggeration in comedy. Kauffman revealed that she was extremely “embarrassed” and filled with “guilt” over the insufficient representation of diversity on the show “Friends.”
As a result, she donated $4 million to establish the Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies at Brandeis University. This program will support a prominent scholar specializing in examining the societies and customs of Africa and the African diaspora.
Lisa Kudrow also spoke out against the Lack of Diversity in Friends.
Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay on Friends, acknowledged the show’s lack of diversity in a May 2020 statement. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Kudrow explained that the show’s creators, David Crane, and Marta Kauffman, needed more authority to depict storylines about people of color due to their backgrounds. Kudrow also noted the absence of mentorship at the time.