With the Democratic party inching toward the primaries, it was a foregone conclusion that the season premiere of Saturday Night Live would tackle the many politicians vying for the 2020 nomination. In its “DNC Town Hall” sketch, the cast of the show (and host Woody Harrelson) showed off plenty of chuckle-worthy impressions. While Larry Sanders and Kate McKinnon got to reprise their roles as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, new cast members Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman got to showcase their takes on Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson. Even famed SNL alum Maya Rudolph got recruited to play Senator Kamala “America’s cool aunt” Harris in what was arguably the highlight of the bit.
One of the names missing from the 10-minute sketch? Julián Castro. As In The Thick co-host Julio Ricardo Varela pointed out on Twitter, there’s really no excuse to skip out on spoofing the sole Latino politician in the race. It speaks, on the one hand, to the way the mainstream media continues to downplay (if not outright ignore) his campaign, and, on the other, to the way SNL lacks the kind of cast member who could successfully play him on the NBC sketch show. If the Emmy-winning show really wanted to make fun of the laundry list of Democrats running, it could easily have recruited Fred Armisen (like it did in calling back Rudolph), one of the few Latino actors SNL has employed. Or hey, even given us Melissa Villaseñor in a wig! (McKinnon routinely crosses gender lines, as she did in the same episode when playing Rudy Giuliani.)
Or, you know, SNL could also have made a point of starting its 45th season with at least one male Latino cast member that could not only play Castro but any number of characters of Latinx descent that could help it tackle some of 2019’s most pressing political and cultural issues. Alas, it was all too busy hiring (and then firing) a “conservative” comic that turned out to use ethnic and homophobic slurs as comedy fodder.