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SNL Adds African-American Cast Member Sasheer Zamata, Effective Immediately

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It’s no secret to SNL followers that a clandestine audition process was allegedly held recently to address the dearth of minority women players on Saturday Night Live after Keenan Thompson famously called attention to the situation during a TV Guide interview by stating that they rarely seem to find black comediennes “who are ready.” After all, the last African-American female to take the stage for Lorne Michaels was Maya Rudolph, and before that — if I’m not mistaken — don’t you have to go back about fifteen years to featured player Ellen Cleghorne?

It’s neither here nor there, however, because according to sources (and Seth Meyers’ Twitter feed, which you might guess is fairly reliable), Lorne has hired ex-Upright Citizens Brigader Sasheer Zamata (pronounced “Za-may-ta“) to start immediately, beginning with the Drake episode on January 18th. Below you can find a character reel from her official YouTube page which I’m iffy on — the writing’s not great but some of the impressions (especially her Michelle Obama, which could have big legs on the show) seem alright. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what she’s got. Welcome to the bigs, Sasheer. As Keenan Thompson might say: hope you’re ready.

What do you guys think?

Article written by C.M. Tomlin

All I want is a HI-C and a turkey sandwich. @CM_Tomlin

4 Comments for SNL Adds African-American Cast Member Sasheer Zamata, Effective Immediately



  1. lukeman
    6:18 pm January 6, 2014 Permalink

    I wish her the best but the first thing I’d do with the signing bonus is pay someone to burn all physical copies of that character reel and further hope that a sunspot sends a solar flare so powerful that our entire electrical infrastructure is destroyed to the point that such a character reel could never be accessed in digital form ever again.

    Not many impressions from decades ago still feel right, but Ellen Cleghorne’s Robin Quivers (& Michael McKean’s Howard Stern) still holds up.



  2. Tomlin
    6:27 pm January 6, 2014 Permalink

    Yeah, it’s really pretty rough. Lorne generally can spot talent, so I wish her the best. But you’re absolutely spot on.



  3. lukeman
    6:56 pm January 6, 2014 Permalink

    I genuinely wish her the best and I’m sure Lorne and the gang know what they’re doing.

    I have a general worry that I’m not on the same page as to what the general public likes in a comedian/comedienne these days. I felt the same way about much (most?) of what I saw from Kristen Wiig on SNL, with over the top characters that lacked any subtlety and seemed more like what I would have expected on MADtv in the 90s.



  4. Kalan Kucera
    9:59 pm January 6, 2014 Permalink

    Thank you lukeman, I’ve never understood why everyone loved Kristen Wiig so much. Her characters were all of the same ilk and I always thought it was an annoying shtick. Compare that to this new cast of women who I think have been fantastic this season especially Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong. That Girls Season 3 promo with Tina Fey as the old Eastern European lady was great stuff.