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Posts tagged as sasheer zamata

Sasheer Zamata Talks Improv, Dance Moves, and Her Nicki Minaj Impersonation

Over the weekend, SNL released a new installment of "AskSNL" featuring cast member Sasheer Zamata, who shares her favorite food and dance moves, offers some advice for aspiring improv students, and reveals that she'd really like to get her Nicki Minaj impersonation on the show even though all the opportunities in last week's SNL went to the real Nicki Minaj.

'SNL' Firing New Cast Members Displays a Show Still Deeply In Transition

Word has come down this week that SNL cast members Noël Wells, John Milhiser, and Brooks Wheelan have been let go from the show after one season, with Nasim Pedrad also leaving to work as a regular on Mulaney (a move that has long been anticipated) and Mike O'Brien's status currently in talks. Their departures don't come as too huge a shock — as we recapped at the end of last season, the three saw little screen time and had few memorable moments during the season. And while it must come as a disappointment to those actors and their fans, let's not forget that at least a third of everyone [...]

The 24 Best Sketches of 'SNL' Season 39

With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here we recall some of our favorite sketches from the season — both live sketches and videos.

Season 39 of SNL certainly hasn't been the most popular among viewers, with its first half bogged down with criticism over the lack of diversity in the cast, and its second half attacked (often unfairly) for uneven writing under new head writer Colin Jost. Even though the show hired Sasheer Zamata (along with two black female writers), and the script [...]

'SNL' Review: Drake Gives 2014 a Fresh Start

Season 39 has not exactly been kind to SNL. As we explained in our midseason review, the show seems to have surrendered to its "transition year" label, playing it safe as if dragging a stone of shame, rather than saying "screw it" and taking creative risks as if dragging a stone of triumph. Not all of it has been bad — in fact, a lot of it has been quite good — but we've been waiting for the show to win us back with a resounding victory. December's midseason finale with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake came close, in that it provided the show with a jolt [...]

Sasheer Zamata Is 'SNL's New Cast Member

Saturday Night Live is finally adding its first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph departed the long-running sketch show in 2007. Sasheer Zamata has been added to the cast and will make her debut with the show's next new episode, set to air January 18th with host/musical guest Drake, Deadline reports. Zamata, a performer at New York's UCB Theatre, auditioned alongside two dozen other hopeful black female performers last month after SNL was criticized for its lack of diversity in its new hires this season.

Zamata is the show's seventh new featured player so far this season, following Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, Michael Patrick [...]

What to Expect From 'SNL' Season 40

SNL returns for its 40th season this Saturday, with host Chris Pratt, musical guest Ariana Grande, and pretty much the same cast — minus a handful of people we rarely saw in sketches anyway. Following a lackluster season, Lorne Michaels is now sticking with the tools he's got, replacing five departing cast members with only one newcomer — standup Pete Davidson — and promoting writer Michael Che to co-host Weekend Update. Meanwhile, Colin Jost will remain at the desk after taking on the job last February. It's a conservative approach, compared to last year's throw-everything-against-the-wall casting strategy, which resulted in a cast so overpopulated that some remained literal faces in the crowd at the season's [...]

Breaking Down Each Cast Member's Contribution to 'SNL' Season 39

With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here, we look at the performers that make up SNL's current cast, including their overall contributions to the show, memorable roles, relative screen time, and prospects for returning next season.

SNL's 39th season was a crowded one. Record-breaking crowded, even. Six new hires, plus a seventh midseason, rose the total to 17, making the current cast the largest SNL has seen during its entire four-decade run, topping even the infamously bloated 1990-1991 season. That season only had [...]

'SNL's Sasheer Zamata Channels Peggy Olson in "Black Mad Men"

While we wait for Sasheer Zamata to get more screen time on SNL, here's the first episode of a new web series she's in called "Black Mad Men" written by Key and Peele's Phil Augusta Jackson and directed by Morgan Evans. Along with Jackson, Anthony Appruzzese, and Shaun Diston, Zamata plays a very Peggy-like ad exec in a scene spun off from Don Draper's famous Kodak Carousel or Lucky Strike "It's Toasted" pitches from Mad Men. The only difference on "Black Mad Men" is that Zamata and team are trying to convince their white client that Luke's Hummus is the key to unlocking true racial harmony through its irresistible [...]

'SNL's Push to Diversify Was Problematic, But the Results Are Worth It

This week, Saturday Night Live hired three African-American women to prominent positions: Sasheer Zamata as a cast member and LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones as writers. Zamata is the show's first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph, who departed in 2007, and Tookes and Jones are the show's first black female writers since Vanessa Middleton, who was briefly on the show's staff from 1992 to 1993. It's great to see SNL making more diverse hires, but it's disappointing that producers were shamed into adding the show's first black female writers/performers in years by the recent wave of criticism that came SNL's way for its lack of diversity. Zamata, Tookes, [...]

Here Are 11 Candidates for the New 'SNL' Cast Member Spot

We reported last week that SNL is currently holding auditions for at least one black female cast member, and so far eleven women have received callbacks for the spot. According to Deadline and the Daily News, the following list of ladies from both the New York and Los Angeles showcases have been asked to do in-studio tests at 30 Rock today: Bresha Webb (whose Instagram shot leaked the audition news last week), Tanisha Long (MTV's Girl Code), Misty Monroe (Groundlings), Gabrielle Dennis (BET's The Game), Erica Ash (Tracy Morgan's pilot Death Pact), Amber Ruffin (Boom Chicago), Leslie Jones (standup), [...]

John Milhiser on Getting Fired from 'SNL': "It's the Way of the Game"

Scott Rogowsky's live weekly talk show at UCB Running Late taped its season 5 finale a few weeks back with guests Sasheer Zamata and John Milhiser, which also happened to be the day after Milhiser found out he wouldn't be returning to SNL in the fall. While he does say it was the year he felt "the least funny," Milhiser is a very good sport about the whole thing and says being on the show was a dream come true, even though "nobody wants to cast me as a small boyfriend or husband." Click through for another clip from Milhiser's interview as well as a clip of Zamata looking [...]

How 'SNL' Addressed Race in Season 39, as Shown in 11 Sketches

With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here, we look at the show's shifting tone on race over the arc of this season.

This has not been an easy year for SNL to talk about race. From the moment the show announced its six new cast members — the largest turnover in more than a decade — and viewers noticed that not one of them was a person of color, SNL once again became a target of progressive viewers calling for the cast to [...]

'SNL's Sasheer Zamata Will Take You on a 'Girls' Tour of Brooklyn

Newest SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata stars in the latest web video from Above Average, the digital wing of Lorne Michaels's company Above Average. In this sketch written by Celeste Ballard and Alex Scordelis, Zamata plays a superfan of HBO's Girls, giving an authentic tour of the show's Brooklyn setting.

A Video Guide to 'SNL's New Cast Member, Sasheer Zamata

It was reported earlier today that Sasheer Zamata has been added to Saturday Night Live, joining the cast as a featured player at midseason. Zamata, a standup, improviser, actress, and writer out of New York's UCB Theatre, was one of two dozen SNL hopefuls who tried out for the show last month in a series of showcase auditions the show held in response to criticism over the lack of diversity in its cast. Zamata began studying at UCB in 2009 and is currently a member of the Harold team Bucky and the black female improv trio Doppelganger. She has appeared in web videos [...]