With polls indicating a likely Barack Obama victory in the November Presidential election, all-white sketch comedy troupes nationwide are struggling to find male African-American members to play the Illinois senator.
Nate Mitchell, longtime member of the all-white Los Angeles-based alternative sketch comedy troupe, The Humdingers, worries that his group will be unable to stay on top of the news cycle if Obama is elected: "As seven white dudes, we did Bush and Cheney sketches all the time. If we want to do topical stuff, we're going to have to make friends with a black guy. This is a really tough time for all-white sketch groups to stay relevent."
Seattle-based sketch group, House of Representatives, boasts a strong YouTube following with their irreverent politically charged sketches, but the lack of any African American members poses a huge threat to their online fame. Says group founder Alan Dodd: "The fucked-up part is that one of our members, Alfonso, is actually half-black. But he's super light skinned and 250 pounds. So, what are we supposed to do? Get another black guy to join? How many funny, skinny black guys can there be out there?"
African-American comedians are feeling the pressure to round out caucasian sketch groups.
"I don't even do an Obama," says Justin Cheykin, a 22-year-old black sketch writer based in New York. "But I've had four different groups call me in the last week to join. It's flattering, but I really don't want to be the token guy who plays Obama."
As for white performers like Dodd, the search for an Obama continues. "If we can't find anybody before the election, I guess one of us will just put on black makeup."