The iconic television show, Saturday Night Live, hired Sasheer Zamata, a female, African-American cast member for the second half of its thirty-ninth season, along with two other female, African-America writers.
Zamata is surprisingly the first female African-America cast member to be on the show in six years, with the last being alum Maya Rudolph. Zamata is a native of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, a well-known improv group founded in New York. Since she has such a strong background in comedy, the team at SNL figured that she would be a great fit. Writers at the New York Daily Times even say that she resembles Tina Fey, because both studied at the University of Virginia and got their start in improv groups.
Reactions to Sasheer’s first few performances on the show have been positive. She made her first appearance in Drake’s Bar Mitzvah monologue, aside Kenan Thompson, and while her speaking role was limited, she seemed to have made a big impact on screen. She also appeared in many other sketches and even a short video relating to black history month.
SNL didn’t stop there; they also hired two female African-American writers, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, the first in history. The three were set to join the team in the second half of its thirty-ninth season on air along with Zamata.
Big changes are in store for the well-known show, who’s every move is monitored by the watching eyes of live television viewers every week. The hit comedy is notorious for the cycling of its cast and crew, including the most recent departure of SNL alum Seth Meyers. Seth’s days at the desk of weekend update have gracefully transmitted to a role as NBC’c newest Late Night television host.
The major changes within the show have the potential to be monumental for the show’s continuing success. Reactions to the changes have been seemingly positive so far, which is good for a show of such standing. It has been rumored that Executive Producer; Lorne Michaels was made aware of the lack of diversity within the cast in recent years and set out on a search for a female African-American cast member. Luckily for Zamata, she gained a spot on the show and the viewers get to witness another major change within the growth of the television business.