SNL Finally Casts a Black Woman. Watch Her Take on “Go the Fuck to Sleep” as Michelle Obama


The search is over. Following controversy last year over Saturday Night Live‘s lack of on-camera diversity, the NBC sketch comedy series held an audition for black female comedians. On Monday, SNL revealed their newest cast member: Sasheer Zamata. The comedian and improv veteran will make her SNL debut on January 18, in an episode hosted by Canadian rapper Drake.

Zamata, who trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City, is the first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph departed the show in 2007, and only the fifth in SNL history. To get a taste of what you can expect from her, here’s her impression of First Lady Michelle Obama reading an updated version of “Go the Fuck to Sleep“:

UPDATE: The video is now listed as private. Here’s a screenshot of Zamata as Obama, though:

Sasheer Zamata as Michelle Obama

(The video also includes Zamata as Nicki Minaj reading Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.”)

Zamata’s star has been rising for a few years now. She was praised by Jezebel in 2012, and was named one of Cosmopolitan‘s “13 Funny Women to Watch in 2014.” Her credits include Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, and her web series “Pursuit of Sexiness.”

In an interview with “Man Cave Daily” last October, Zamata described how she got into acting: “I knew I wanted to come to [New York], and I knew I wanted to perform, but I didn’t know how,” she said. “I studied theater in college. Before I got to college I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I just wanted to be in front of people, but I didn’t know how. Then I got to college and I didn’t want to study journalism anymore, I wanted to do plays…[After college], I was auditioning for off-Broadway plays, but I kept going to [Upright Citizens Brigade]. I knew of UCB because they came to my school to perform. I was watching them and thinking, man, wherever they came from that’s where I want to go. Bobby Moynihan was one of the performers and someone asked him, ‘How to get a career in comedy?’ Bobby replied, ‘Go to NYC, go to UCB, and work really, really hard.'”

And on January 18, Zamata will join her now fellow SNL cast member Moynihan on national television.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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