HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Saturday Night Live casts black female comedian Zamata

Reuters  Los Angeles, January 07, 2014
First Published: 15:40 IST(7/1/2014) | Last Updated: 16:20 IST(7/1/2014)
Saturday Night Live has hired comedian Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member for the late-night comedy sketch show, a spokeswoman for network NBC said, months after the program was criticized for a lack of diversity among its female cast.

Zamata, who stars in her own internet comedy series Pursuit of Sexiness, will be the first African-American female cast member since Maya Rudolph left Saturday Night Live in 2007.

The show came under criticism in October for its lack of female diversity after cast member Kenan Thompson said he would no longer play black women such as Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Angelou.

The show later spoofed that criticism with a sketch in which guest host Kerry Washington played several African-American figures, including first lady Michelle Obama, whose character has been left out of much of the show's political satire because of casting.

Zamata, who has performed with the Upright Citizens Brigade improv comedy troupe, will make her debut on January 18.

Saturday Night Live, which has launched the Hollywood careers of Chevy Chase, Mike Myers, Tina Fey and others, added six new members to its cast in September before the beginning of its current 39th season. NBC is owned by Comcast Corp.
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