Meet Sasheer Zamata, The First Black Female Saturday Night Live Cast Member In Five Years

January 6, 2014  |  

Courtesy of

After some questionable comments by Kenan Thompson, some criticism from the public, and a showcase for black female comediennes that was at one point looked at as a publicity stunt, Saturday Night Live has finally added their first black comedienne to the show since Maya Rudolph left as a cast member in 2007. Her name is Sasheer Zamata, and according to Deadline, she will make her debut on the show on January 18, the same episode that will be hosted by Drake, who will also be the musical guest. Our fingers are crossed that the two will be featured in a skit together.

According to USA Today, Zamata graduated from the University of Virginia and received her comedic training at theUpright Citizens Brigade Theatre here in NYC. She was among 12 comedians who were invited to test for a spot on the show in December (which also reportedly included black comediennes Kerry Coddett and Natasha Rothwell). Seeing as how she’s the only new face to be announced, her casting could be part of a way for Lorne Michaels and the folks at SNL to hush up their critics, but whatever it is, a talented sista has a job! And I can attest to the fact that Zamata is hilarious, and you will be able to as well after you check out the clip below of her skit on dealing with a perverted dude trying to holler at her in NYC (be prepared, the d-word is used quite a few times). Zamata will join Rudolph, Yvonne Hudson, Danitra Vance and Ellen Cleghorne as black female comediennes who have received a shot on the show. Congrats!


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  • enlightenment

    Am I the only one that finds SNL unfunny and just awkward?

  • Kristen

    Good for her. I don’t watch SNL but it can definitely be a stepping stone in her career.

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  • BiscuitBunny

    I think having a discussion about ‘tokenism’ in the industry is relevant. However, if this platform gets her anymore success, then this appointment would have been a good thing. Comedy in the UK and the US is still very (white) male dominated. Depending on the kind of comedy she does, a regular female, black face on TV doing/saying funny stuff could be the key to America getting its head out of its ‘post racial’ behind….

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  • Nyomi

    Maybe its just me but this is so disingenuous on SNL’s part. They hired a black actress simply because they were catching heat about it. Like…come on. There are funny people all over the world in MANY different shades. Truth be told, black people are some of the most talented people in comedy on the planet. You really had to make a special “look at us, we’re not racist” audition featuring black female comedians?

  • FromUR2UB

    The wig was funny…

  • DaisyDuke

    My biggest problem with SNL was not the fact that they didn’t have a black female comic. If you are not going to have one, fine, then don’t do skits about black women. But instead of just leaving it be, they had Kenan Thompson portray black women in pop culture. THAT was the bigger issue to me.

    1. Kenan is not funny (to me)
    2. Kenan is not a black woman
    3. Kenan is not a funny black woman

    I was glad when he declared he would no longer be portraying women because he wasn’t that good at it to begin with. Now that they have a black female, lets hope that the WRITERS can giver her great material to work with. SNL is only as funny as their writers make it.

  • Lala

    Its about time, you just wish this hiring was because the producers themselves found a lack of diversity rather that Keenan Thompson publicly calling them out on it. As a young black woman its always nice to see someone like you on tv. But she better get her impressions straight because she will be every black woman in mainstream media, beyonce, Michelle Obama, Oprah, everybody… Good Luck!

    • guest

      Was it Kenan who brought the lack of Black women on the show to their attention?? I thought he was the one who said there weren’t any on the show because there was a lack of funny, Black, talented women to choose from (paraphrasing here). I remember Sherri Shephard addressing his comments on ‘The View’ and being upset by what he said, then she went on to list several Black comediennes who, in her opinion, could prove Kenan wrong.

    • Kristen

      Yeah, Kenan was actually disrespectful saying Black women weren’t funny and that’s why there weren’t any currently on the show. As much as liked him on Nickelodeon as a kid, he was wrong on that one. He wasn’t supportive.