Saturday Night Live has added another LGBTQ+ cast member.
Punkie Johnson, a Black lesbian comedian and writer, has joined the legendary sketch comedy show that has aired on NBC since 1975.
Johnson's past credits include Space Force, Corporate, Adam Ruins Everything, and Bill Burr Presents: The Ringers. She performs regularly at Hollywood's famed Comedy Store and appeared at the Just for Laughs Festival in 2019.
Johnson is open about her LGBTQ+ identity in her material. At Just for Laughs, she performed a set about how role play saved her marriage; she has been in a relationship with a woman for over 17 years. One of those role-play scenarios, she divulged, is a "heterosexual couple."
"We like this game because it makes us feel like we're a part of the real world," Johnson quipped in the bit.
Johnson joins Bowen Yang and Kate McKinnon in the show's contingent of LGBTQ+ cast members. Past out SNL comedians include Terry Sweeney, Danitra Vance, John Milhiser, and Denny Dillon. Vance was the show's first Black lesbian cast member, although she did not come out publicly in her lifetime.
SNL also announced that Lauren Holt, from the LGBTQ web series The Filth, and staff writer Andrew Dismukes would join the cast. Ego Nwodim was promoted to main cast member.
SNL will open its new season October 3 with a string of five consecutive weekly shows; there are plans to have a limited in-studio audience at Bew York City's Rockefeller Center, arrangements for which will be made with the guidance of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. Additionally, Jim Carrey is set to impersonate Vice President Joe Biden in the season.
Recently, the show launched the SNL Scholarship Program, a partnership with comedy schools the PIT, Second City, the Groundlings, and UCB to advance the careers of comedians from diverse backgrounds.