Why Wyatt Cenac Is Advocating For Inclusive Hiring For His TBS Show

The comedian knows what it's like to be the only person of color in a room.

Comedian Wyatt Cenac has one request for the decision makers filling behind-the-scenes positions for his upcoming TBS show -- don't only hire white men.

While these kinds of TV hiring conversations generally happen behind closed doors, Cenac dragged the issue into the spotlight with a simple tweet after TBS announced in January it had picked up his show, "People of Earth."

Cenac, who spent four years as a writer on "The Daily Show," explained why he chose to push for inclusive hiring on the show.

While Cenac doesn't decide who gets hired on the show, he said he knows what it's like to be "the only [person of color] in a room and feel that isolation," so he decided to speak out publicly.

"I feel like so many times people talk about diversity and wanting to be inclusive, but it often just becomes lip service," he said. "So rather than make it lip service, let's actually bring the conversation to the forefront because the time to do that is when a show is starting out, when it's in the beginning stages."

While discussing the issue with HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, Cenac refuted the notion that inclusive hiring would prevent the most qualified applicants from getting the job:

Doing it the same way it's always been done doesn't mean you're getting the best person for the job. Continuing to hire the same people because you went to college with them or they're your buddy [isn't how you get the best people]. No one talks about the unfair advantage that there is [when you hire former college classmates]. … That doesn't necessarily make them good.

He encouraged hiring managers to widen their applicant pools and actively seek out new recruits when staffing a new show -- not just to increase diversity, but because qualified candidates may have been neglected.

"There are probably very good people for the job who just aren't being looked at," he said. "And you're not doing the due diligence of going out to find them because that's work. What's lazy is to continue to say, 'Well, let's just keep swimming in the same pool.'"

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about Cenac's comedy album Furry Dumb Fighter here.

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