After a number of it’s most popular cast members exited the show after Season 38, it was time for ‘Saturday Night Live’ to bring in some new blood. That new talent was all male and white, prompting fans and former fans of the show to once again bring up the issue of diversity. In the show’s almost 40 year history, there have been only five black female performers, that last being Maya Rudolph who left the show in 2007.
Realizing that they couldn’t get away with joking about not employing black women, as seen in the opening skit of the episode Kerry Washington hosted in November, they held auditions for black, female comedians. Out of the 11 that auditioned, they chose Sasheer Zamata as it’s newest “Not Ready For Prime-Time Player.” Zamata is a graduate of the University of Virginina, also the alma mater of former cast member Tina Fey, and trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade, where Amy Poehler and Hortio Sanz honed their skills. She has also appeared on ABC‘s ‘Would You Fall For That?’ and the unfortunately now cancelled ‘Totally Biased.’ So she seems more than ready, and I think she’ll fit in just fine on the show.
I saw a comment saying that we shouldn’t judge Sasheer just yet, and we shouldn’t. The thing is, we won’t be judging her, we’ll be judging the way the show treats her. Is she only going to be playing Oprah or Michelle Obama, or any other famous black woman, in sketches, or just standing in the background with one or two lines? Is she going to be playing all the loud, stereotypes that Kenan Thompson would put on a wig for now that he has stopped doing drag? It’s great that they hired a black women, even though they went about it in kind of an awful way, but will they allow her to do her best? I feel like Nasim Pedrad, who is Iranian-American, has been criminally underused since she joined in 2009. There have been other minority performers that never really got their due, and a big part of that is because of the writers. Chris Rock explained in one of the many ‘SNL’ specials that he had to get in good with the writers to get his sketches on the show. So even though Zamata has the credentials, college educated, was a part of a comedy troupe, she still has a bunch of white dudes writing for her.
Reportedly, Sasheer will be making her debut on the January 18 show which will be hosted by Drake. I’ll be watching to check her out, will you?
[Editor’s Note: YES, and HELL yeah. It’s about GD TIME, Lorne. – DivaJulia]