SNL Alum Ellen Cleghorne on Black Women in Comedy and What She’s Been Up To Since the Show

" Black women need to take responsibility for forming and creating a space for our own humor narratives — a revolution."

Last night Saturday Night Live alum Ellen Cleghorne returned to 30 Rock for the show’s 40th Anniversary Special and took part in one of the night’s biggest highlights: a faux question and answer with Jerry Seinfeld and members of the starry audience. The sketch allowed Cleghorne to pose the question, “Why aren’t there more black women?”

Only the second black female cast member cast on the show, Cleghorne has all but disappeared from the spotlight since the early aughts until popping up in the Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups 2 in 2013.

VH1 chatted with the funny lady about SNL’s diversity problem, working with Lorne Michaels, and that infamous Family Guy joke.

What was it like to return to Saturday Night Live last night? What was the energy like in that room?
Ellen Cleghorne: It was magical. I had my daughter with me and she articulated it very well: It was like a cleansing, or a rite of passage. When you leave the liminal stages, you move on but you remember that everything is in preparation for something else.

Who were you most excited to see or meet?
I have to be honest with you, the person I really, really wanted to see was Eddie Murphy — because I’ve always had a crush on Eddie Murphy. [Laughs.] My daughter said she used to think that he was her father because I used to play Eddie Murphy tapes and records her whole life. I was just totally in love with him and what he did.

Did you get the chance to speak with him at all?
A little bit, but I was like a star stalker.

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