SNL Finally Lands Black Actress

Sasheer Zamata gets the gig after New York audition

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 6, 2014 4:55 PM CST

(Newser) – Saturday Night Live has landed a black female comedian, and her name is Sasheer Zamata. The venerable sketch comedy show announced today that she will debut on January 18 when Drake is hosting, Deadline reports. SNL was under fire for going five years without a black female cast member and even mocked the problem in a skit, but finding Zamata wasn't quite so easy. The show tested several dozen actresses in Los Angeles and New York before choosing the University of Virginia alum, says the Hollywood Reporter.

As for Zamata's background, she has performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, and acted in the FX show Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell and the Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer, notes The Wrap. She has also worked the stand-up circuit and appeared in several comedy videos (see them at her website). She will be among six new comedians added to the show this year, all of whom are white save for Hispanic-Tunisian actor Noel Wells. Jay Pharoah, one of the show's two black male comedians, said Zamata deserves the gig "because she's black, first of all, and she's really talented."

Sasheer Zamata.
Sasheer Zamata.   (Robin Von Swank/Sasheer.com)
Sasheer Zamata.
Sasheer Zamata.   (Robin Von Swank/Sasheer.com)
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