Lorne Michaels has a comedy machine with Saturday Night Live and it’s a machine taking over NBC. From Jimmy Fallon moving up to replace Jay Leno and Seth Meyers taking Fallon’s Late Night spot, SNL has become a comedy manufacturing plant that doesn’t seem to be stopping.
But it’s not immune to criticism and one of the major sticking points for a lot of people this past year has been a lack of diversity. SNL came under fire for not having cast a black female comedian when it added six new faces to the cast in 2013. Michaels poked fun at the oversight when Kerry Washington hosted last year, but has gotten serious about the issue as well.
The result is the announcement that Sasheer Zamarta has been hired at a midseason addition to the cast. Zamarta was one of two finalists for the spot in the SNL cast and beat out Amber Ruffin for the gig. Zamarta’s addition not only quiets the controversy that brewed at SNL but gives another young comedian a chance to breakthrough thanks to he spotlight.
That’s really why the call for black female cast member was brought up as the lack of diversity of the show really took away from what the show is all about. It’s a melting pot of comedy from all types of comedians, a message that wasn’t coming across with the lack of diversity.
To further highlight the lack of diversity, Zamarta’s addition to the cast is the first time SNL has cast a black female comedian since Maya Rudolph was on the show from 2000 until 2007.
Zamarta will make her SNL debut on January 18th when host and musical guest Drake stops by to take things over.