Some considered it a glaring void in the cast, and now in Sasheer Zamata, NBC’s Saturday Night Live has again hired a black comedienne. She is an Indianapolis native and 2004 Pike High School graduate, later an alum of the University of Virginia. Not since Maya Rudolph has the show had a black woman in the mix, and Rudolph left in 2007. Zamata reportedly won the role over 11 other players. She joins the cast of 17 performers as a featured player, the role a newbie often inhabits on SNL, and she is one of seven women on the show.
Zamata arrives as no stranger to New York City’s theater scene. She moved to the city in 2009, joining the improv group Upright Citizens Brigade and performing in sketches and shoots for CollegeHumor.com and TV shows on Comedy Central and FX.
Zamata will debut on SNL on its Jan. 18 episode, in which Toronto singer-rapper-actor Drake will pull double duty as host and musical guest. Actress Kerry Washington, star of ABC’s Scandal, hosted the show’s Nov. 2 episode, and made light of the cast’s lack of a black female with a couple of her quips. She was among the first to congratulate Zamata via Twitter: