After a fall marked by casting controversies and countless op-eds, SNL has added New York City-based comic Sasheer Zamata to its cast, making her the first black female cast member in five years since Maya Rudolph’s departure.
Over the last several months, SNL impresario Lorne Michaels has been quietly conducting a talent search for black female performers, culminating in callbacks in New York City on December 16th. A graduate of the University of Virginia and a veteran of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, Zamata auditioned alongside nearly two dozen other prospective candidates, all of whom were asked to prepare a Michelle Obama impression in addition to their standard audition materials.
Having outshined the competition, Zamata is the seventh new cast member to join SNL this season, following Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, John Milhiser, Michael Patrick O’Brien, Noël Wells, Brooks Wheelan, and John Milhiser. Zamata will make her debut on the SNL stage on the upcoming January 18th episode, featuring Drake as both host and musical guest. Although I haven’t seen Zamata perform live, she is extremely well regarded by my friends in the NYC comedy community and her online video content speaks for itself.
Welcome aboard, Sasheer! I, for one, can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve. What do you think of Sasheer joining the cast? Who would you like to see her play? Let us know in the comments below!