‘Saturday Night Live’: Sasheer Zamata Debuts, But How’d She Do?

The newbie comedienne made her first appearance on the Drake-hosted episode.

Sasheer Zamata made her “Saturday Night Live” debut just days after the iconic sketch-comedy show opened its writer’s room to two black female comics. But there were no Beyoncé, Oprah or Michelle Obama skits on the 27-year-old comedian’s maiden episode.

Instead, Zamata played characters — bored high-schooler, embarrassed 13-year-old at a slumber party — for which race was often incidental. That’s good. It’s not that we don’t appreciate that the Upright Citizens Brigade alumna can do a pretty funny Queen Bey, it’s just that we don’t want it to be the only time she sees her name on the week’s script.

Zamata’s addition fills a void opened after Maya Rudolph’s exit in 2007, and her arrival should be applauded. But real progress, to us, means she can play girls (and boys!) who, as in her web series “The Pursuit of Sexiness” with MTV “Girl Code’s” Nicole Byer are “broke, single, self-absorbed” and, oh yeah, black.

Drake Stole (Almost) Every Scene On ’SNL’

So how did Zamata (pronounced zuh-MAY-tuh) do? Last night’s show was a soft introduction; she appeared rather frequently but in limited roles that didn’t require her to carry the comic load. Just getting her feet wet. Read on for a breakdown of all of her appearances.

Drake Throws Another Bar Mitzvah
Zamata plays Auntie Rhonda to Kenan Thompson’s Uncle Larry during the bar mitzvah for guest host/ performer/ real-life nice Jewish boy Drake in this skit. She’s arm candy in it but we did laugh imagining her interior monologue: Her hiring came less than three months after Thompson, who’s also African-American, famously told TVGuide.com that “SNL” was super short on black female comics because not one could ever properly prepare for the auditions.

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