Sasheer Zamata is definitely one of the hardest working women in comedy. She’s been in the industry since she moved to New York City in 2008, and has a portfolio that is both impressive and intimidating, to say the least. She’s an actress, comedian, writer, and, as of earlier this year, former cast member on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. While the SNL portion of her career may dominate her digital presence, Zamata is so much more than just an SNL cast member.
She’s been on major network shows on TBS, NBC, Comedy Central, and Amazon; she’s also done voice over work. She’s the ACLU Celebrity Ambassador for Women’s Rights, and she recently debuted a one-hour stand up special “Pizza Mind” on SeeSo. Zamata is a real-life wonder woman.
Throughout her career, Zamata managed to carry the same demeanor. She is confident on stage as she speaks slowly and pauses at just the right time, making her punchlines explosive. She’s energetic in her delivery and impersonations, and manages to set up a scene within a scene by changing her tone and posture, making her, truly, a one-woman-show.
A master at interacting with her audience, Zamata is quick to respond to her environment and those around her. She often comments on her experience as a black woman in industries dominated by white men and women and makes light of the absurd micro-aggressions and racism she encounters.
Zamata began her improv career in college at the University of Virginia, then moved to New York and found herself working with UCB and on ABC shows, MTV shows, as well as different web series, and online sketches. She joined SNL in 2014, after their year-long search for the first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph's departure six years prior and after coming under fire for having a lack of diversity.
On SNL, Zamata became known for her impressions. The show, however, often casted her as an auxiliary character and after three years on SNL, Zamata quietly departed, followed by a media frenzy that speculated on her unceremonious departure. She has yet to make a statement. Since her departure, she’s been performing stand-up routines in New York, Toronto, Nantucket, Greensboro, (to name a few) as well as collaborating with Yedoye Travis on Rent Party, AND advocating for the Citizens Committee for New York City. I am excited to follow Sasheer Zamata’s career as she continues to break through anything and everything conventional.