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.



Comments (41)

  • 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.

    Comment by jk – January 6, 2014 01:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Sofia Vergara hosted last year or the year before

      Comment by Mike – January 6, 2014 01:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • sofia veraga hosted in 2012. Though i don’t think they’ve had a hispanic cast member since Horatio Sanz left after being on from 98-06

      Comment by sd – January 6, 2014 01:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Fred Armisan was Hispanic along with several other things.

        Comment by Riana – January 6, 2014 01:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Sofia Vergara hosted recently.

      Comment by Riana – January 6, 2014 01:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Noël Wells is part Hispanic (and Tunisian)

      Comment by Taylor – January 6, 2014 01:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I believe Cecily Strong is Hispanic, although I can’t find a source to back it up I’m pretty sure I read that when she first joined the cast as a featured player. Also, former cast member Fred Armisen is part Venezuelan. SNL is definitely not perfect when it comes to diversity, but it seems that they are trying, especially with this new addition.

      Comment by Lisa – January 6, 2014 02:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I feel like she’s hispanic as well but when the controversy hit, several reports said SNL has never had a hispanic or asian female cast member so I’m assuming she’s not.

        Comment by dude – January 6, 2014 02:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Just because a few media outlets said it, doesn’t make it true.

          Comment by Annie – January 6, 2014 05:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • You FEEL LIKE she’s hispanic? What the *bleep* does that mean?

          Comment by Bob – January 7, 2014 07:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Dude. Horatio Sanz.

      Comment by Meredith – January 6, 2014 04:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope this chick getting 2 minutes of airtime every week standing in the background of sketches makes everybody feel better about themselves.

    Comment by Jason Castleman (@lethargicj) – January 6, 2014 01:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Jeff D. – January 6, 2014 01:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Depends how big of an impression you make. Look at Kate McKinnon.

        Comment by dude – January 6, 2014 02:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by AJ – January 6, 2014 01:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • 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.

        Comment by Atkin – January 6, 2014 02:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • 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.

          Comment by Lena – January 6, 2014 02:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Let’s see how much screen time she actually gets.

    Comment by knd – January 6, 2014 01:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I care about talent not about color

    Comment by Douglas from Brazil – January 6, 2014 01:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Carrie – January 6, 2014 02:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • 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.

        Comment by Annie – January 6, 2014 05:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • 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.

          Comment by Douglas from Brazil – January 6, 2014 05:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • 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.

          Comment by Carrie – January 6, 2014 06:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Lena – January 6, 2014 02:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by Maria – January 6, 2014 02:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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).

      Comment by Lena120 – January 6, 2014 02:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She obviously has a great resume to assume she’s not talented is ridiculous.

    Comment by ES – January 6, 2014 02:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • THIS!! A lot of people making comments here are just assuming that she doesn’t have talent. I guess they think that is something reserved only for whites.

      Comment by Lena – January 6, 2014 02:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Completely agree.

      Comment by charlotte – January 6, 2014 05:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Only one though? That’s like… Just as bad. Hopefully at the start of next season?

    Comment by brycealexander – January 6, 2014 02:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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?

      Comment by Bob – January 7, 2014 07:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t wait to see how she does on her first show later this month.

    Comment by Joey – January 6, 2014 04:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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…

    Comment by Ann – January 6, 2014 08:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Chuck Finley – January 6, 2014 08:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by TV Gord – January 6, 2014 10:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Christina – January 6, 2014 10:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wonder if Sasheer Zamata can do a good Michelle Obama impression.

    Comment by Tran 2.0 – January 7, 2014 10:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Haha. Now let’s pressure them to hire an Indian cast member. And then a native American. And what about an Asian!

    Comment by cj – January 7, 2014 11:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by cj – January 7, 2014 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
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    Comment by Read Full Report – January 19, 2014 07:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
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