Comedy

5 Things You Need to Know About Sasheer Zamata

Comedian Sasheer Zamata will join Saturday Night Live this month as the show's newest featured player, making her the show's first black female cast member since 2007.

Her midseason addition follows SNL's search for a black woman to join the cast this winter. The long-running show came under fire after unveiling all-white cast additions last fall, cast member Kenan Thompson told TV Guide that black women weren't on SNL because those who auditioned were not ready to be on the show, and Lorne Michaels told the Associated Press, "You don't do anyone a favor if they're not ready." The show's lame attempt to make fun of its lack of a black female cast member didn't really help matters.

Needless to say, the quick change of tune and "secret" auditions felt a little gross.

Regardless, we can't wait to see what Zamata brings to the show. Here's what you need to know about her.

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5. Zamata is SNL's first black fenake cast member in six years and the fifth overall, following Maya Rudolph (2000-07), Ellen Cleghorne (1991-95), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Yvonne Hudson (1980-81).

4. She's an alum of Upright Citizen's Brigade, the improvisational and sketch comedy troupe that gave us Amy Poehler, Adam McKay, and Rich Fulcher.

3. She'll make her debut on SNL on January 18. Drake will host.

2. Zamata has appeared on killer comedy programs Totally Biased with Kamau Bell and Inside Amy Schumer, performed in online videos for College Humor and Jest, and wrote and starred in UCB web series Pursuit of Sexiness.

1. She's hilarious.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski