The search is over. “Saturday Night Live” has chosen its first black female castmember in more than five years, Upright Citizens Brigade veteran Sasheer Zamata. She will make her debut on the January 18 episode featuring Drake as both musical guest and host.
Zamata got the nod after the show came under fire for the lack of diversity in its 2013-2014 hires and Kenan Thompson’s subsequent controversial comments about black female comedians not being “ready” for the gig.
The good news is that after producers auditioned more than two dozen hopefuls, Zamata is definitely up to the task, bringing with her an arsenal of impressions and characters that should make her a standout addition to the cast. In addition to appearing on “Inside Amy Schumer” and the recently canceled FXX series “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” she’s know for her spoof web series, “Pursuit of Sexiness.”
In one of her many online videos, Zamata plays Bey as a doting mama who quiets a crying Blue Ivy with a not-so-chill lullaby version of “Love On Top.”
Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Michelle Obama
In her other videos, Zamata played the First Lady reading a book to combat childhood obesity, called “What The F— Did You Just Eat?” She also tackled Rihann,a venting about “junk” questions from journalists. Another celebrity impression includes her half-dog-half-woman original character Angela Bassett Hound. She also plays chatty original Jen at the Gym and Nicki Minaj doing her range of wacky voices while reading Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.” And just in time, since the show’s male black castmembers have vowed not to perform in drag anymore!
As anyone who watches “SNL” knows, being funny isn’t just about what you say, it’s also about how you act those words out. In a dialogue-free short called “Subway Rush” posted in 2011, Zamata gets chased around a train by a nosy passenger who gets wayyy too close for comfort.
White Commercials For Black People
Zamata starred in a UCB sketch about racist commercials for black people made by white executives, including an ad for “YoGirl” yogurt.
Stand Up Chops
In a comedy club bit from May, Zamata riffs on how auditions for radio voice-over work often devolve into her bosses asking her to, well, you know, act “urban” and why Home Depot commercials don’t have to always feature homegirls talking about how “ratchet” their carpets look in spots she described as “Tyler Perry’s Home Depot.”