Sasheer Zamata recently joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as the “first black woman since Maya Rudolph”. With this casting addition – and long before – there are people constantly wondering, “Is it hard being a female comedian?”. Sasheer titles her website, “Sasheer Zamata: Funny Person”, distinctly leaving out any pronoun. The previous question implies that it should be difficult or different or an anomaly to be a female comedian. What separates female comedians from male comedians is this question and the lazy MC introduction: “We now have a girl coming up to the mic”.
It’s hard to be a comedian. Sasheer Zamata is a wonderful comedic talent and deserves to be on SNL. We should celebrate the fabulous comedian that she is and all the similarly talented African-American women that SNL can, and should, employ.
That being said, SNL desperately needed to hire an African-American female to their cast. There are and have been so many black, female icons in popular culture. Further, if a show intends on making contemporary criticism of our culture, there is a need for that cast to be as diverse as those that inhabit our nation. Let us also have fantastic comedians who do it. And we will be fortunate enough to watch Sasheer do it. Her character reel includes celebrities like Oprah, Rihanna, Nikki Minaj and Beyonce.
Further, Sasheer is a versatile character actress who has proved capable to perform as a distraught vegan chef who just wants to control her show or a overzealous Best Buy attendant who is a part of the latest technology and many more. She will certainly benefit the show on screen and off as she also has extensive writing credits, which include work with the Upright Citizens Brigade.
Sasheer is joined in the writing staff by two other writers, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, both of which have proved themselves capable in their lustrous careers thus far. The addition of these wonderful comedians will certainly expand the voice of SNL in a positive direction. We can not wait to see what is in store when they begin on Jan 18.