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Sasheer Zamata is SNL’s First Black Female Cast Member in 6 Years

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On January 18, Sasheer Zamata will make her debut as Saturday Night Live’s first black female cast member in six years. The popular late-night sketch show has received criticism for its lack of a black female in its cast, an absence that cast member Kenan Thompson attributed to a weak applicant pool. SNL is known for its hilarious celebrity impersonations, and without a black female cast member, the series has required Thompson and former host Kerry Washington to play characters like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé.

SNL producers found Zamata in their New York audition showcase back in December. Known for her performance and writing in online comedy videos, Zamata has the skills that SNL had been seeking in its candidates. Zamata brings with her a drama degree from the University of Virginia and experience with New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Zamata steps into the six-year void left by the hilarious Maya Rudolph, and since she has big comedic shoes to fill, we can’t wait to watch her first appearance on SNL January 18 with celebrity host Drake!

Check out some of Sasheer Zamata’s pervious stand-up work below and tune into NBC at 11:30 p.m. on January 18 to catch her highly anticipated debut!


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