Last weekend, January 18, 2014, marked the debut of Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata. This was a big deal since SNL had recently come under fire for not having a single black female cast member and writer since Maya Rudolph who left the show six years ago.
After much publicized rounds of auditions, New York based comedian Zamata came out on top. Under enormous pressure, she played minor roles on Saturday, but was in several sketches – just getting her feet wet in what are overwhelming shoes to fill. Her debut SNL characters included a 13-year-old hosting a slumber party, a teen stuck in detention, and a Rihanna-Blossom hybrid.
Only twenty-seven, Zamata is a veteran of New York’s celebrated Upright Citizen Brigade co-founded by SNL alum Amy Poehler, and whose former cast members featured other prominent SNL alumni such as Tina Fey, Fred Armisen, Will Ferrell, and Rachel Dratch.
Zamata has been seen in national commercials, starred in the popular web series “The Pursuit of Sexiness,” and has appeared on lauded cult comedy shows “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.”
Last weekend’s installment of SNL also included the skills of two new black women writers, but it’s impossible to parse out what their contributions were, since writers are credited in one long list as the show goes off the air.
In recent years New York has seen a migration of some of its best comics to the West Coast. Before Zamata got the call, she too was planning a move to Los Angeles. Thankfully, this new gig came at just the right time.
Below: Sasheer Zamata in action at a live stand up gig in New York on April 5, 2013.