‘SNL’ Host Quinta Brunson Bashes ‘Friends’ for Lack of Diversity

Quinta Brunson hosted SNL on April 1, 2023. (Credit: YouTube/@SNL)

Abbott Elementary creator and star Quinta Brunson made her Saturday Night Live hosting debut this weekend, with an opening monologue that praised teachers and called out Friends.

Brunson said her mom was a teacher in Philadelphia, and she urged viewers to show more appreciation for the nation’s educators.

“Acknowledge the work they do every day, and for the love of God, pay them the money they deserve,” she said.

Brunson also mentioned her Emmy-winning series and told the audience it centers on a diverse public school.

“It’s a network sitcom like say, Friends,” she said about her ABC comedy, “except instead of being about a group of friends, it’s about a group of teachers, and instead of New York, it’s in Philadelphia, and instead of not having Black people, it does.”

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Friends aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004. (Credit: NBCUniversal)
Friends aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004. (Credit: NBCUniversal)

Friends has been criticized numerous times over the years for rarely showing people of color — even though it was set in New York City.

The sitcom from creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004, and followed six close friends who loved to gather in a coffee shop called Central Perk.

The all-White main cast rarely came in contact with Black people on the show, except occasional co-stars including Aisha Tyler, Gabrielle Union, Phill Lewis, and Craig Robinson.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times last year, Kauffman said for years she thought the criticism of the show’s lack of diversity was unfair, but now she gets it.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years,” she said. “Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy. It’s painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know better 25 years ago.”

Watch Brunson’s SNL monologue below: