Saturday Night Live Adds Sasheer Zamata, First Black Female Cast Member in Six Years

SNL Adds Sasheer ZamataNBC’s Saturday Night Live has added Sasheer Zamata as a featured player, to make her debut on Jan. 18, our sister site Deadline reports.

Zamata represents the first African-American female to be a part of SNL‘s regular cast since Maya Rudolph left the show in November 2007.

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SNL became the target of much debate/discussion this fall when its new slew of cast additions included not one person of color.

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A graduate of the University of Virginia, Zamata has performed with Upright Citizen’s Brigade, done stand up at numerous comedy festivals (including the Letterman Showcase at the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival and Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch” Showcase), and has opened for onetime SNL scribe John Mulaney.

Zamata’s credits also include the self-penned web series Pursuit of Sexiness, videos for College Humor and The Cooking Channel’s web series Fodder and appearances on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and Inside Amy Schumer.

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41 Comments
  1. jk says:

    Now I would,like to complain that SNL hasnt had a hispanic cast member or host. At least since I started watching 3 years ago. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  2. I hope this chick getting 2 minutes of airtime every week standing in the background of sketches makes everybody feel better about themselves.

    • Jeff D. says:

      New cast members aren’t usually in the forefront a whole lot at first, at least if the current new batch of cast members is any indication.

    • AJ says:

      LOL. It’s up to her. She could make the best of this opportunity and become a breakout player. Unlike, say every new cast member this season who has squandered this opportunity, Lorne gives you the break, you have to make yourself the star.
      PS Lil’ Baby Aidy is my fav this season.

      • Atkin says:

        Are you kidding? After all the trouble that’s been caused and scrutiny of snl shes going to get more air time than anyone else. She’s going to be shoved down everybody’s throats for the rest of the season. Regardless of if she actually fits any of the sketches or has the appropriate talent for SNL. diversity is great and all, I’m 100% for it but with this kind of show I really only care if they’re talented and fit, not shoe horned in because of a PR disaster.

        • Lena says:

          So automatically she is “not talented” and doesn’t fit right? Stop the whining already! Black people will be on your television once in a while. Deal with it.

  3. knd says:

    Let’s see how much screen time she actually gets.

  4. Douglas from Brazil says:

    I care about talent not about color

    • Carrie says:

      I agree. It’s nice to have a diverse cast, but they should be picking people for their talent. It doesn’t seem right to go on the hunt for someone of a certain ethnicity only after the press makes a big deal about it. No one is saying anything about their lack of Asian cast members.

      • Annie says:

        Carrie: Who says she doesn’t have talent? Although diversity obviously has something to do with it, do you think they just hired a random black lady off the sidewalk? She has comedy and entertainment experience, and they obviously felt through auditions and interviews that she’d make a valuable addition.

        • Douglas from Brazil says:

          Yet they felt the pressure from the media and organizations to hire a black woman.If they don’t hire black or asian people its not because of the color it’s because of lack of talent.

        • Carrie says:

          Who suggested that she doesn’t have talent? The whole issue is that they went out in search of a specific gender with a specific skin color, rather than simply searching for new talent.

    • Lena says:

      The problem is there are a lot of “talented” people of color that do not get the opportunities that white people get. Just like if there are tons of shows ONLY calling for white characters, there is little to no work for African Americans.

  5. Maria says:

    It’s great to have more diversity so long as they are actually talented What SNL sorely lacks are Asians. I think the only one they’ve ever had was Rob Schnieder? I’m tired of Yellowface

    • Lena120 says:

      When you think about it, Mad TV was ahead of SNL when it came to diversity. They always had a variety of people cast. When you brought up Asians, I remembered Bobby Lee’s tenure. Not only was he a main castmember, but he was one of the most popular. So it’s no excuse for not doing the same for SNL. They’re out there. Also, in terms of African Americans, they had Debra Wilson, Orlando Jones, Aries Spears, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Phil LaMarr and Nicole Randall Johnson. They always had a Black woman in the main cast. I can’t remember a season without one. I guess SNL got used to Keenan playing all those roles (side-eye).

  6. ES says:

    She obviously has a great resume to assume she’s not talented is ridiculous.

  7. brycealexander says:

    Only one though? That’s like… Just as bad. Hopefully at the start of next season?

    • Bob says:

      What, you looking for a quota system? “Oh, let’s see, we need 4 whites, 2 blacks, 2 latino/as and 1 asian.” Are you nuts?

  8. Joey says:

    I can’t wait to see how she does on her first show later this month.

  9. Ann says:

    It’s taken me a while but I finally figured out where I’ve seen her! She’s on ABC’s Would You Fall For That? Tv show…

  10. Chuck Finley says:

    Screw diversity. That’s just a liberal code wrod for racism anyway. Get a job based on your talent not your race. That means you really didn’t earn it.

  11. TV Gord says:

    I checked out her character reel and some other YouTube video, and she’s actually funny with a lot of personality. Those of you who can get over the race thing might think so, too.

  12. Christina says:

    SNL cant seem to win. They hire and African American comedienne then people cry out how their are no Hispanics or Asians. If they do hire them they say that the person is a token player and that they only hires the individual to stop people from crying foul.

  13. Tran 2.0 says:

    Wonder if Sasheer Zamata can do a good Michelle Obama impression.

  14. cj says:

    Haha. Now let’s pressure them to hire an Indian cast member. And then a native American. And what about an Asian!

  15. cj says:

    Can you imagine the pressure these lady is under. Are they just going to have her play every single black female? That to me is sort of racist in itself… like oh she’s black they are all the same. I will actually miss Kenan doing drag as I think it’s hysterical. Even the Eddie Murphy clone is funny doing it.

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